Buchanan Puts Down Pitchfork, Promises Good Behavior

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Denied a chance to air his opinions live at the Republican Convention in August, Pat Buchanan held a press conference Wednesday to release his version of the GOP agenda and to outline his requirements for endorsing Bob Dole. In his platform, Buchanan reiterates his support for a constitutional ban on abortion, for broad tax cuts, a crackdown on immigration and isolationist trade policies. The items, said Buchanan, were not "take it or leave it proposals," but were an important means of delineating the difference between the GOP candidate and Bill Clinton. Though "insulted" by the Dole campaign's refusal to let him speak at the national convention, Buchanan said Wednesday that he was more concerned with influencing the conservative agenda than disrupting the gathering or splitting from the GOP. "We're going to that convention as Republicans," said Buchanan. "We hope to leave as Republicans." However Buchanan did not rule out the possibility of a third party run, emphasizing that he was more committed to ideas and issues than to any political label. His endorsement of Bob Dole, said Buchanan, will hinge on the GOP platform, the tone of convention speakers and the choice of a pro-life Republican vice-presidential nominee. If the Dole camp does not secure an endorsement from Buchanan before the convention, he may try to overshadow the less theatrical GOP presidential nominee by leading a delegate protest, and may well damage his party in the process, says TIME's John Dickerson. "Buchanan alone in a hotel room can put on a better show than the GOP," says Dickerson. "What Dole and the Republicans don't want is the television cameras rolling away to focus on Buchanan, and media reports on the convention saying, "Dole Ascendency Marred by Buchanan Rabble-Rousing." But despite his colorful talk of pitchforks and rebellion in the past, Buchanan promised to be on good behavior today, joking that he would sit tight at his seat, which he referred to as "row 947, seats Y and Z." -->