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Republicans Attempt To Discredit Reform Party Courting Buchanan

By Thomas B. Edsall
THE WASHINGTON POST -- Key Republican and conservative leaders have initiated a full-scale assault on Patrick J. Buchanan in an effort to discredit the renegade candidate who fractured the GOP in 1992 and 1996 and now threatens to bolt to the Reform Party.

Presidential rivals John McCain and Elizabeth Dole, along with Steve Forbes’ campaign manager, declared Buchanan has placed himself far outside the acceptable boundaries of American politics with this week’s publication of “A Republic, Not an Empire.” His book questions the timing of the U.S. entry into World War II and the nation’s participation in the battle to defeat Adolf Hitler.

“I am appalled by Pat Buchanan’s comments. I not only disagree strongly with his analysis of history, I believe his comments are grossly insensitive to those Americans who gave their lives and those veterans who fought and suffered greatly to preserve freedom in the world,” Dole said in a statement.

Forbes’ campaign manager, Bill Dal Col, described Buchanan’s arguments as “outrageous.” Buchanan’s questioning of the U.S. entry into the war “is out of bounds,” he said. “We had an obligation to destroy the most evil man the world had known to date.”

Texas Gov. George W. Bush, who leads the GOP race in the polls and in fund-raising, declined Thursday to comment on the controversy.

For the past week, even as Buchanan has openly flirted with the Reform Party, the controversy has dominated all his numerous appearances on television talk shows. In the book, Buchanan makes a complex argument that covers the history of U.S. foreign policy and offers an analysis about World War II that lends itself to inflammatory interpretation.

He argues that in the latter part of 1941, Germany under Hitler was preoccupied on the Russian front and represented no threat to the United States. He accuses President Franklin Roosevelt of deceitfully encouraging pro-war and anti-German sentiment. Buchanan implies, but does not explicitly state, that the United States could have either avoided or postponed entry into the conflict. He strongly endorses the America First movement that opposed U.S. intervention in World War II.