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Bolting GOP Could Help Liberals, Buchanan Is Told

September 29, 1999|From Associated Press

Republican Party Chairman Jim Nicholson told presidential hopeful Patrick J. Buchanan on Tuesday that bolting to the Reform Party could help elect a Democratic president next year and put liberal judges on the Supreme Court.

In a private meeting at the conservative commentator's northern Virginia home, Nicholson asked Buchanan to be "very careful before taking any action that could in any way help Al Gore or Bill Bradley extend the Clinton-Gore era," according to a statement released by Nicholson's office.

Buchanan spokeswoman Joanne Hansen said her boss had no comment. Aides said he would consider Nicholson's concerns when he decides whether to abandon the GOP. Buchanan has said he expects to announce his decision in October.

The three-time presidential candidate, his campaign sagging in the GOP primaries, is seriously considering leaving the Republican Party to seek the Reform Party nomination.

He would not be guaranteed the third-party nod.

Buchanan's new book, "A Republic, Not an Empire," has drawn harsh criticism for his argument that Germany was not a threat to the United States after 1940.

Buchanan argues that "liberal interventionism," not isolationism, spawned Hitler's fascism. "While the West is busy erecting Holocaust museums, it has failed to study the history that produced it," Buchanan said.

Some Republican and conservative leaders, particularly presidential rival Arizona Sen. John McCain, have said the party has no room for Buchanan's beliefs. Others, chiefly Republican presidential front-runner Texas Gov. George W. Bush, have urged Buchanan to remain in a united GOP.

Republicans worry that a third-party Buchanan bid would siphon conservative votes from the GOP presidential nominee. Nicholson took a position similar to Bush's, though he was careful not to praise Buchanan or mention the book.

"I reminded him that the next president would almost certainly make several lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court," he said.

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