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Reform Party's Odd Couple: Fulani and Buchanan

By Thomas B. Edsall

Friday, November 12, 1999; Page A09

Lenora Fulani, whose roots run deep in radical, left-wing politics, yesterday endorsed the Reform Party candidacy of conservative Patrick J. Buchanan in one of the most bizarre political marriages in recent memory.

"In traditional political terms, Pat Buchanan stands for all the things that black progressives such as myself revile," Fulani told a packed Washington news conference.

Fulani, who has been aligned with Louis Farrakhan, said she has formed an alliance with Buchanan "because we have a common interest in overthrowing the traditional political terms. Like Pat, I am a controversial figure in American politics. We both like a good fight.

Buchanan called Fulani's support "a giant step toward the nomination" and described her as "a tremendous force in the Reform Party." She will also co-chair his campaign, and her supporters could be a big help in garnering the signatures required to get Buchanan on the ballot in the 30 states that do not give the Reform Party a ballot line.

Fulani and Buchanan disagree on almost all substantive issues, including abortion, gay rights, affirmative action and defense policy. Though Fulani said "Pat Buchanan couldn't be more politically incorrect," she added that he "is not a racist or a fascist or a bigot. He is not a hater."

Referring to Buchanan's portrayal of his supporters as a pitchfork-carrying peasant army, Fulani said, "We're going to integrate that peasant army of his. We're going to bring black folks and Latino folks and gay folks and liberal folks into that army."

Giuliani on the Clintons' 'Art Form'

New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani took his first swipe at the financing of a Democratic Party ad promoting the candidacy of his expected Senate rival next year: first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"The use of soft money has been turned into an art form by Clintons," he told reporters, referring not only to the new pro-Hillary spot but also to President Clinton's role in launching a multimillion-dollar ad campaign that promoted his 1996 reelection using unlimited "soft money" contributions.

"Very often, the finger is pointed at Republicans," he said, "but there's nothing like what was done in the last Clinton presidential campaign--money from China, money from elsewhere, money raised on telephones in the White House."

The New York contest between two celebrity candidates has become the site of the first air war of the 2000 Senate elections. Giuliani started it a week ago, but he's paying for his ads with his campaign funds, while the pro-Clinton spot that started this week is being funded by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Yesterday, Giuliani unveiled a second ad promoting his "compassion"--an echo of GOP front-runner George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism." While the hard-nosed mayor hasn't been known for his softer side, the ad extols the city's welfare-to-work program as an example of "the compassion that leads to freedom."

Forbes to Go National With Ads

For months, rival GOP campaigns have been wondering when Steve Forbes would start spending some of his personal fortune on a sustained advertising blitz, and whether such ads would be negative. The answers: Next week, and sort of.

The publisher will launch a series of issue-oriented spots, not just in Iowa and New Hampshire but nationally on cable news networks. Forbes aides stress that the commercials will not be the type of negative ads he used in 1996 to rough up Robert J. Dole. But in the first such salvo of the 2000 campaign, some of the ads will criticize Bush for alleged vagueness on various issues.

"The ads will clearly define in detail where Steve Forbes is on the issues and draw a question as to where Mr. Bush stands, or whether he's taken a position," said Forbes spokesman Greg Mueller. "Once we go up on the air next week, we are not coming down."

Staff writers Susan B. Glasser and Howard Kurtz contributed to this report.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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