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November 30, 1995 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-30

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 30, 1995 - 5A

Mich. may be key in choosing GOP candidate

24 moderate Republicans
form new budget alliance

VANSING (AP)- Presidential can-
didates will have to woo Michigan vot-
ers ifthey want to win the White House,
a Michigan State University political
ecpert said yesterday.
"If it comes down to a horse race,
Michigan will be very important. This
will * be a real battleground," David
Rohde, a distinguished professor of po-
litic0I science at Michigan State, said at
a political forum.
The state also will be the last stand
foi Republican candidates hoping to
take on President Clinton, he said.
Once voters in Michigan and other
Midwestern states vote in the "Big 10"
primary on March 19, it will be clear
which Republican has enough delegates
to clinch the nomination.
"It could conceivably be over by the
time it gets to us, but I think the better
chance is we will shut it down," Rohde
said:
Ir 1992, Clinton won 44 percent of
the Michigan vote while then-President
Bush got 36 percent and independent
candidate Ross Perot attracted 19 per-
cent.
It's still a tossup how Michigan resi-
dents will vote in 1996, Rohde said. Hav-
ing American troops in Bosnia "is a very
dangerous backdrop to everything else
that's going on" for Clinton, Rohde said.

But GOP candidates such as U.S.
Sens. Bob Dole and Phil Gramm face
their own risks. Reaction to the second
year of the Republican "Contract With
America" could be much worse than
the first year has been, Rohde said, and
that might make Michigan voters choose
Clinton.
Even if popular Michigan Gov. John
Engler is on the ticket as a vice presi-
dential candidate, that's no guarantee
Michigan will go Republican.
"Only if the race were very, very
close" would Engler's presence on the
ticket affect the race, Rohde said.
"People vote for president."
Rohde expects several GOP candi-
dates to withdraw by March 19, includ-
ing Rep. Bob Dornan of California,
Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana and pos-
sibly commentator Alan Keyes. That
should . leave commentator Pat
Buchanan, former Tennessee Gov.
Lamar Alexander, publisher Steve
Forbes, Dole and Gramm as the princi-
pal players leading up to Michigan's
primary.
It's likely at least one independent
candiddte, and possibly more, may be
on the November ballot, Rohde said.
He expects Ross Perot's party, the In-
dependence Party, to field a candidate.
And a group of moderate Republicans,

Former Tennessee Gov, Lamar Alexander may figure into the 196 presidential race.
AP PHOTO

WASHINGTON (AP) - Bringing
civility back to the U.S. House is the
first goal of an alliance of two dozen
moderate Republicans who want a
balanced budget and are fed up with
the partisan politics of the budget de-
bate.
The 24 Republicans announced yes-
terday their formation of the alliance to
"stretch their hands across the aisle"
and work with a conservative coalition
of Democrats in seeking a consensus to
break the deadlock over balancing the
budget.
"We're talking about helping our
leadership find its way to a solution
rather than gridlock," said Rep. Billy
Tauzin (R-La.), a leader of the group.
The two coalitions combined would
create a voting block of 46 members.
Tauzin had been a leader of the conser-
vative Democratic coalition before he
switched parties earlier this year.
The Republican alliance members,
including Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.),
said during a press conference they
would not compromise on balancing
the budget in seven years.
But the two coalitions are a step re-
moved from their respective party lead-
ership-the level at which the political

debate about the budget has turned bit-
ter with the sting of personal attacks on
both sides.
"We have felt for awhile the growing
incivility of the debate is a real prob-
lem," said Rep. Peter Blute (R-Mass.),
who along with his colleagues called
for the reversal of a "polarized, per-
sonal" trend.
"People at home ... cannot under-
stand how this partisanship, often ran-
corous, has taken over the debate ...
and the real issues have been put aside,"
Upton said.
"It's when they see the clash of per-
sonalities that (people) start to think the
system isn't working," said Rep.
Michael Crapo (R-Idaho).
Clay Shaw(R-Fla.)said House mem-
bers must recognize it is not in their
interest for the House to remain so
polarized that a third party becomes an
attractive option.
"We didn't come here to fight. We
came here to legislate and make a dif-
ference," he said. "We've got to get
along with the other side."
"We've got a remarkable opportunity
(through the group) to do some binding in
the House, to reach out for some solu-
tions," said Rep. Bill Emerson (R-Mo.).

Democrats and independents may put
up a candidate as well.
Regardless of their party, candi-
dates will be fighting over two issues
in the 1996 election, Rohde said:
Medicare and House Speaker Newt
Gingrich.
Many voters, especially those re-
ceiving Medicare benefits, are wor-
ried by higher premiums proposed by

Republicans, Rohde said. And Clinton
is winning the perception battle over
what should be cut from the federal
budget.
The House speaker is not faring as
well.
"Gingrich's approval ratings right
now are about what Richard Nixon's
were at the height of Watergate," Rohde
said.

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