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Buchanan Opts Out Of Primary

Pat Buchanan has asked to be left off the Reform Party ballot for California's presidential primary in March. At the same time, Donald Trump, his potential rival, will appear on the ballot along with three other candidates.

Under current rules, Reform Party activists select their nominee through a national write-in vote. State primaries have no effect, said Tim Haley, Buchanan's spokesman.

"It's a beauty contest," he said of the state-by-state contests.

"We don't shy away from beauty contests. Why should he?" replied Roger Stone, director of Trump's exploratory committee. Under the party's complicated rules, Stone said it appears that the primary determines the selection of delegates to the Reform Party convention. The convention could settle a dispute in the write-in balloting, he said.

Meanwhile, Trump plans to unveil in a series of telephone interviews Tuesday a proposal to tax the rich to erase the national debt, save Social Security and cut taxes for the middle class.

Buchanan, who quit the Republican Party last month to seek the Reform nomination, wrote a one-sentence letter to Secretary of State Bill Jones on Nov. 3, asking to be left off of the ballot. Jones distributed the letter Monday.

Jones places candidates he considers "generally recognized" on the ballot. He has until Dec. 30 to add names.

Donald Trump

Trump, and lesser known candidates Robert Bowman, Charles Collins and George D. Weber will appear on the ballot.

Vice President Al Gore, former Sen. Bill Bradley and erstwhile Libertarian Lyndon LaRouche will compete for the Democratic nomination.

Republicans on the ballot are Gary Bauer, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, publisher Steve Forbes, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Alan Keyes and Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Consumer activist Ralph Nader, who ran four years ago, will run in the Green Party against Joel Kovel, who ran for U.S. Senate in New York last year.

There are five Libertarian Party candidates. The American Independent and Natural Law parties will have only one candidate each.

In his first policy statement, Trump proposed a one-time 14.25 percent tax on people and trusts with a net worth of more than $10 million, a plan that increase Trump's own tax bill by at least $725 million.

"It's a big hit for me, but again I think it's worth it,'' the potential Reform Party candidate said today in a telephone interview from his New York office.

The idea isn't going over well with some economists. "If you think there is a bubble in the stock market, this is a sure way to prick it," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of RFA Dismal Sciences, an economic consulting company in West Chester, Pa.

Dismissing the dismal scenarios, Trump says his plan would poduce a 35 percent boost in economic activity after eliminating the debt and inheritance tax, and cutting income taxes.

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