Pat Paulsen Dead at 69

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LOS ANGELES: Comedian Pat Paulsen died Thursday after a battle with cancer. The 69-year-old best known for his quixotic White House runs succumbed to complications from pneumonia and kidney failure. Paulsen became a household name some 30 years ago on the Smothers Brothers show, where he first announced tongue-in-cheek that he was running for President under a new party, the Straight Talkin' American Government or STAG. Paulsen's deadpan political schtick caught on with thousands of Americans, many of whom voted for him in five presidential elections. He claimed to have finished second behind President Clinton in last year's New Hampshire primary. His political views -- on foreign aid ("We don't want any, thank you") and crime ("Take it off the streets and put it back in the home where it started") -- often took the edge off in the final days of hard-fought elections. If elected, he promised to improve the Postal Service: "I can lose your mail for half that much." After successfully beating colon cancer in 1995, Paulsen saw the end of the campaign trail looming when he learned last November that he was suffering from brain cancer.