Republican presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan, who placed fifth in this summer's Iowa straw poll, said on CBS News' Face the Nation Sunday he will announce his decision on making a move to the Reform Party in October.
By the way he's talking now, it's hard not to get the picture he's ready to jump ship. "The Republican Party and the Democratic Party are locked on the same course in foreign policy and trade policy," he said. "And if I go reform, it is to offer America a real choice."
Recent polls find that if Buchanan -- champion of the hard right conservatives -- does abandon the Republican Party, the move would likely hurt Republican candidates most. "I am saying, wake up Republicans," urged Republican presidential candidate Dan Quayle. "This is a problem for us. We have to stand for ideas."
Buchanan could spell the same sort of trouble Ross Perot did in 1992, when he took 19 percent of the vote, mostly from Republican voters. Candidate Bill Bradley, who's narrowing the gap with Democratic contender Al Gore, thinks that's just fine. "I think it will damage the Republican campaign," he said. "And I'm all for Pat Buchanan leading the Reform Party ticket, that is, if the Reform Party chooses him."
According to Buchanan, the hurdle now is getting voters to put him on the ballot in all 50 states, which may be harder than he thinks. Voters are tuning this election out, and a survey released this week shows more than half of Americans can't even name a Democratic candidate -- such as the vice president of the United States.
Meanwhile, Buchanan denies he's anti-Semitic, but instead wants no quotas on college campuses for any minority group.
In one of his newspaper columns, he had written that "Ivy League colleges, which are reportedly more than 50 percent Jewish and Asian" should look more like America, by reserving 75 percent of their slots for "non-Jewish whites."
"I don't think I wrote that," Buchanan said during Sunday's broadcast.
"You did write that. I'm quoting," retorted Face the Nation Contributor Gloria Borger.
"All I'm saying is [a Harvard graduate wrote that] the most under-represented folks at Harvard in terms of their percentage of the population are Christian evangelicals and Roman Catholics," insisted Buchanan. "So I said tongue in cheek, if we're going to have quotas for one [group] for Harvard, let's have quotas for all.":
"I read that column," responded Face the Nation anchor Bob Schieffer. "There was nothing in parenthesis that said 'tongue in cheek.' You said non-Jewish whites should demand proportional representation in college."
"If there's quota for one, there should be quotas for all," said Buchanan. "If you're going to have quotas for this group, this group, this group and this group, and if the folks thrown out happen to be folks who vote for Pat Buchanan, why don't you have quotas for them? Let's have zero quotas on any college campus - all open competition. If it's good for the Alabama police, why isn't it good for Harvard and Yale?"
Asked by Schieffer about a section in his most-recent book that says that after World War II, Jewish influence over foreign policy became almost an obsession with American leaders, Buchanan responded that that was just one part of an essay discussing the influence of ethnic groups on American foreign policy.