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Presidential Debates A Conspiracy?

  • Pat Buchanan calls the Commission on Presidential Debates' decision to prevent him from debating the Democrat and GOP candidates a "Beltway conspiracy" to control the 2000 election of the presidency.

The decision by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) to limit access to candidates who pass a high threshold of poll support is a "transparent farce," charged Pat Buchanan, a Reform Party presidential candidate.

"This is nothing but a Beltway conspiracy by the two Establishment [political] parties to corner the market forever on the presidency of the United States," Buchanan said.

Buchanan pointed out that the Reform Party is a recognized national party and receives federal funds for its convention and national campaign. For the Republican and Democratic parties to have the power to exclude the Reform Party and its presidential candidate from the 2000 election is absurd, he said.

"It is a manifest conflict of interest for them to dictate to the American people which presidential candidates may appear in the television debates that will determine the next president," he said. "If this were done in the private sector, it would be condemned as conspiracy in restraint of trade."

According to Buchanan, the CPD is a front for the Republican and Democratic parties. Frank Fahrenkopf, CPD's co-chairman, is an ex-GOP party boss who earns $1 million a year lobbying for the gambling industry, Buchanan said.

"Why should he or Paul Kirk, a former chair of the Democratic National Committee, be handed this life-or-death power over the one party with a chance of ousting them both from power?" Buchanan said. "The attempt of these two lifelong partisans to shut the Reform Party out of contention for the presidency is an affront to the American people and an insult to the idea of democratic debate and fair play."

Buchanan said the Reform Party will fight the CPD decision in court and in the public arena. "We shall prevail," he predicted.