Dole Calls Buchanan Bad for Party: With Foe as Nominee, Senator Says, GOP Would Lose Hold on Congress

By Kellman, Laurie; Myers, E. Michael | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 23, 1996 | Go to article overview

Dole Calls Buchanan Bad for Party: With Foe as Nominee, Senator Says, GOP Would Lose Hold on Congress


Kellman, Laurie, Myers, E. Michael, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - Bob Dole said yesterday what many anxious Republican leaders have been saying: Allowing Pat Buchanan to become the Republican presidential nominee would reverse the party's historic gains achieved in Congress and across the nation.

"I'll tell you, with a Buchanan candidacy, we'd be very lucky to hold on to keep a majority in the House and the Senate and state legislatures and courthouses and anywhere else," Mr. Dole told the Chamber of Commerce in Englewood, a southern suburb of Denver. "I want to build the Republican Party. I want more governors, more senators, more whatever."

Mr. Buchanan, campaigning in Tucson before Tuesday's Arizona primary, said attacks from Mr. Dole and other Republican figures undermine the party's ability to retain his supporters if, in the end, his bid for the nomination falls short.

"I am saying people who engage in name calling are jeopardizing party unity," he said. "They are antagonizing our people and driving them away just as we are bringing them back in. If you bring Pat Buchanan's movement together with the Republican Party, we have a majority. We can win."

In Tampa, Fla., Lamar Alexander denounced Mr. Dole for declining to participate in a presidential debate last night in Arizona. "I'm going to Arizona for a contest of ideas," he said. "Senator Dole is ducking the contest of ideas."

Rep. John Shadegg, Arizona Republican, said Mr. Dole's absence could wound him in Tuesday's primary. "It's a serious mistake," he said. "Buchanan doesn't have the state locked up, but this is going to hurt Dole here."

Mr. Buchanan also remarked on Mr. Dole's absence. "We don't know where he is hiding. We are looking for him and trying to find him," he said. "How can he presume to lead the country if he does not communicate his ideas in a debate format?"

Addressing this criticism, Mr. Dole said, "I'm trying to win an election, not trying to show up for every debate. Can't run around every time someone says, `Oh, we're going to have a debate, you have to show up.' We don't have to show up. Can't make 'em all."

He lands in Arizona late tonight for a light two-day tour of the state. When the votes for Arizona's 39 delegates are counted on Tuesday, he will be campaigning in Georgia.

Mr. Buchanan was not the only Republican criticizing Mr. Dole's "name calling."

In Washington, David A. Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, accused Mr. Dole yesterday of trying to "demonize conservatives" as part of a strategy against Mr. Buchanan.

Ralph Reed, executive director of the Christian Coalition, agreed, comparing Mr. Dole's attacks on Mr. Buchanan to the attacks aimed at religious broadcaster Pat Robertson when he sought the 1988 GOP nomination.

"I do not think it is wise to attack what is a fourth to a third of the Republican primary electorate as ipso facto extremist and intolerant," Mr. Reed told the Associated Press. "Democrats have tried that line for years and Christian conservatives not only reject it, but resent it."

Also yesterday, Steve Forbes' campaign named former Republican Sen. …

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