- The Washington Times - Monday, August 14, 2000

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) Reform Party presidential contender Pat Buchanan sought a more tolerant image yesterday in his effort to strengthen his long-shot White House bid against both legal and political challenges.
"We don't want anyone who hates anyone. We don't want any bigots, we don't want anyone who hates Jewish folks," Mr. Buchanan said yesterday on NBC's "Meet the Press." "No haters need apply."
At a news conference later, Mr. Buchanan complimented Democrat Joseph I. Lieberman, the senator from Connecticut and Orthodox Jew selected as Vice President Al Gore's running mate.
Mr. Buchanan recounted the criticism Mr. Gore has received for his fund-raising activities in 1996, and he said, "I think Joe Lieberman has his work cut out for him if he's going to be the conscience of this ticket."
Mr. Buchanan's opponents, who say John Hagelin is the real Reform Party nominee and should receive $12.5 million in federal funds, say Mr. Buchanan's comments of tolerance are a political makeover that can't mask the fact that some white supremacist groups support him.
"He won't denounce their support," said Donna Donovan, press secretary for the Hagelin faction and a founder of the Reform Party established by Ross Perot.
Late Saturday, in a speech claiming the disputed presidential nomination, Mr. Buchanan reached out directly to Mr. Perot's supporters by suggesting that he and the Texas billionaire "do battle together" on the same side.
There has been no response from Mr. Perot, who skipped the tumultuous convention and has offered no endorsement.
The party he founded eight years ago limped out of this seaside town yesterday, two sides heading in opposite legal and ideological directions.
Mr. Perot's supporters, offended by Mr. Buchanan's style and his outspokenness on social issues, have filed two complaints with the Federal Election Commission contending he fraudulently claimed the party's presidential nomination and seeking to prevent him from receiving the federal money.
Mr. Buchanan predicted they could delay his receipt of the money by only a few weeks and said he would continue no matter what.
"If we can rent ourselves a bus to go around this country, I can use the free media," Mr. Buchanan said on C-SPAN. "We can have a fighting chance."
Leonard Goldman, Mr. Hagelin's faction's attorney, said that if the FEC rules in Mr. Buchanan's favor, he will seek a court injunction to freeze the money and file a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. That action could come within two weeks, he said.
Meanwhile, state chapters in Texas and perhaps elsewhere are expected to take their own legal action to fight the Buchanan nomination, he said.
But Mr. Buchanan's camp says it is confident that any judge will rule in his favor, in part because evidence exists that major players in the party leadership have stayed on his side. They include Chairman Gerry Moan, who controls the party finances, and Treasurer Tom McLaughlin, as well as Mr. Perot's 1996 running mate, Pat Choate.
Bay Buchanan, the candidate's sister and campaign manager, said she expects to receive the money within two weeks.
But she also predicted raising $1 million to $2 million in contributions between Labor Day and Election Day, enough to keep the campaign operating and her brother on the road five days a week.
Mr. Buchanan said Mr. Hagelin's naming of a millionaire running mate, Nat Goldhaber, would not change the dynamics of the race.
"John Hagelin can spend the wealth of an empire and he's not going to get anywhere," Mr. Buchanan said.
His campaign also faces a political fight that has Mr. Buchanan battling a longtime image of intolerance propelled by some of his writings and statements. For example, in his book, "A Republic, Not an Empire," Mr. Buchanan argued that the United States faced no threat from Nazi Germany after 1940.
Last week, he released a "Statement of Personal Belief" that said "rampant homosexuality" had led to the downfall of great empires and similarly threatens the United States. He also compared doctors who perform late-term abortions to Nazi doctors who practiced euthanasia.
But Mr. Buchanan also named a black woman, former Los Angeles teacher Ezola Foster, to be his running mate. And several times he has condemned hate crimes.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide