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'New-Look' Lamar To Run Again

Officially announcing his candidacy for president Tuesday, former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander took a shot at President Clinton, promising to be a leader "who respects both the office and the people who put him there."

The newest candidate to enter the race for the GOP nomination also asked Republican primary voters not to limit their options to early favorites George W. Bush and Elizabeth Dole.

"This time the race is wide open," he said in a draft of his address. "There is no one whose 'turn' it is."

Alexander's climb in 2000 promises to be at least as steep as four years ago, when he and his trademark checkered shirts finished third in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary before petering out.

"I have a strong message, more experience than any others as a governor," Alexander said. "I have the best organizations in Iowa and New Hampshire, and we won't have a front runner in this race until the people of Iowa and New Hampshire vote next February."

Alexander told CBS This Morning Co-Anchor Mika Brzezinski that he will tackle fixing public education more than anything else.

"We would offer scholarships to middle- and low-income families. We want to give parents more choices of schools, perhaps Milwaukee, perhaps New York City," Alexander explained.

On the issue of abortion, Alexander said, "I want a good society with virtually no abortions. But I don't believe a Constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade will get us from where we are to where we need to go."

Inheritance and capital gains taxes should be cut, as well as the penalty for some married couples, Alexander said. He proposes to triple the tax deduction for each child to $8,000.
On national security, Alexander said he would push for a missile defense system and a new branch of the armed services to stem the flow of drugs from other countries.

Alexander plans to raise $15 million this year. He is the best-organized candidate in Iowa, where former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is heading his operation, and has built a formidable New Hampshire operation.

"I can't explain why he isn't catching on," said conservative organizer Grover Norquist of Washington. He said it may be that Alexander has never pushed his policies beyond the tried and true to prove his commitment to conservatives.

Alexander is the third GOP candidate to formally announce, following Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire and conservative commentator Pat Buchanan.

The GOP field could hit double digits.

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