Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes lambasted GOP front-runner George W. Bush yesterday for skipping the California Republican Party convention in Anaheim over the weekend, charging that the Texas governor was "cowering in the bushes."
Actually, Bush and his parents and brother Jeb had fairway seats at the Ryder Cup golf tournament in Brookline, Mass., although his campaign staff pointed out that he also had attended a meeting with Hispanics.
"I find it kind of strange that somebody whose people keep telling us he's got it all sewed up is showing up absent at so many important party meetings and has been contriving to try to destroy all of the venues of debate," Keyes said at a convention news conference. "What's he afraid of?"
Aside from Keyes, Steve Forbes and Elizabeth Dole were the only candidates for the party's presidential nomination to attend the convention, and Forbes followed it with a bus tour through California's Central Valley.
Another GOP presidential candidate, Patrick J. Buchanan, said he might not run on the Reform Party ticket if wealthy New York developer Donald Trump enters the race. "I can't beat $100 million, and there's no sense me telling people I can," Buchanan said on CNN's "Late Edition."
Questioned repeatedly about allegations that he is antisemitic, Buchanan again denied that he is and launched attacks on leaders of both political parties, in particular for advocating military intervention overseas.
"My problem with both, especially these Republicans, is these braying donkeys of interventionism," he said on "Fox News Sunday." "We need to reduce our commitments to fight in all these ridiculous little places around the world."
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) agreed with Bush that Buchanan should not bolt the GOP. "I would urge Pat Buchanan to stay, carry out that debate within the party, and let the people make the choice," Hastert said on CBS's "Face the Nation."
Campaigning in New Hampshire, Vice President Gore said he is not changing strategies in his campaign for the 2000 Democratic presidential nomination, despite polls that show rival Bill Bradley gaining on him.
At a pond-side picnic in Swanzey, N.H., Gore brushed off a question about the polls.
"At this point, I'm not taking any vote for granted," Gore said. "This is going to be a hard, tough battle."
Returning to Texas a fourth time, Bradley held a question-and-answer session with two dozen Tejano Democrats in San Antonio. A flier distributed by some of the Texans centered on who is better against Bush.
Gus Garcia of Austin said it was Bradley because Gore is tied to Clinton administration scandals. "Clinton can walk his way through that," Garcia said of the president. "Gore cannot."
Gore, meanwhile, lost the endorsement of Philadelphia Mayor Edward G. Rendell, who said that as the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, "I have to be scrupulously neutral."
It did not help Rendell's quandary that Bradley is a friend of 20 years.
"When he called to tell me he was running, I said: `Bill, I'm sorry. . . . I wish you had called me earlier,' " Rendell said on ABC's "This Week."