Pat Buchanan to Fight New Debate Ruling Before the FEC and in CourtAired January 6, 2000 - 5:17 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: The special commission says the 2000 presidential debates will be a mix of formats, from a town-hall gathering to a traditional "stand at the podium" event.
And they will be held in a variety of cities. The October 3rd debate will take place at the John F. Kennedy library in Boston. Then it's on to Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for the October 11th face-off. Washington University in St. Louis will host the October 17th presidential debate. A vice presidential debate also has been scheduled on October 5th at Center College in Danville, Kentucky.
Pat Buchanan suggested today that he hasn't given up hope that he will take part in those fall debates. He and other Reform Party figures wasted no time in blasting the Debate Commission's new 15 percent rule.
That story from CNN's Pat Neal.
PAT NEAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three-time presidential candidate Pat Buchanan was preaching against a new world order that would favor globalism over national sovereignty. But in Buchanan's world order, the Reform Party contender would be included in the presidential debates, 15 percent in the polls or not.
PAT BUCHANAN (REF), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think it's fair to say you have to be on enough ballots so that you can win the presidency of the United States, but these other criteria are artificial.
NEAL: Buchanan said the decision amounts to a conspiracy between Republicans and Democrats, since they're the only ones on the Debate Commission.
BUCHANAN: It's like Coke and Pepsi saying no other soft drink can enter the market unless they meet a certain criteria. That's preposterous.
NEAL: Buchanan's likely rival for the Reform Party nomination, Donald Trump, agreed: "I am not surprised that the two-party political establishment wants to keep the American people from having a third choice. I am confident that were I to become a candidate, I would register strong poll ratings."
Russ Verney, a Ross Perot loyalist and former head of the Reform Party, called the decision an absolute fraud, and said it's the same situation as 1996, when Perot was left out of the debates.
Like Perot before him, Buchanan says he'll battle to be included.
BUCHANAN: We're going to fight this before the FEC, and we will fight it before the federal courts.
NEAL: One reason the long-time Republican made the leap to the Reform Party was the potential of participating in the debates, where he believes he could sway voters with his fiery pro-America talk.
Thursday's speech was classic Buchanan, declaring the United States should only go to war when attacked, or its vital interests are imperiled.
BUCHANAN: If ever sovereignty becomes obsolete, we may expect America's involvement in endless wars, until one day we pay the horrific price in some act of cataclysmic terrorism on our own soil. For interventionism is the spawning pool of international terror.
NEAL (on camera): Buchanan says he'll start his fight to be included immediately. Meanwhile, his rival, Donald Trump, goes to Minnesota for a long-planned summit with Governor Jesse Ventura, the highest-ranking Reform Party official. There, talk of the debates is sure to be on the agenda.
Pat Neal, CNN, Boston.
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