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Buchanan says Republicans have abandoned conservative values

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- The Republican establishment in Washington, D.C. has abandoned its conservative values to the point where no clear difference can be distinguished between Republicans and Democrats.

So says Pat Buchanan, the likely Reform Party presidential candidate.

Buchanan was in Oklahoma campaigning Wednesday and spoke to a group of about 200 at the campus of the University of Oklahoma.

The 1996 Republican Platform said the party would shut down the Department of Education, but that wasn't the case when it was time to create a budget in 1999, Buchanan said.

"Last year when Clinton asked for $500 million more (for the education department), they gave him a billion more, so there's not a great deal of difference," he said.

Buchanan disagrees with the likely Democratic candidate Vice President Al Gore on domestic policy, tax policy, immigration policy, trade policy and foreign policy, he said.

Buchanan said likely Republican candidate George W. Bush agrees with Gore on trade policy, foreign policy and immigration policy.

"This is why I'm running, to offer the American people a clear choice of destinies for this republic," he said.

Buchanan also said he disagrees with the entire Washington establishment because he doesn't think China deserves most-favored nation status.

He cited China's one-child-per-family policy, the persecution of Christians in China and that country's hostile policy toward Taiwan.

"I simply recommend that we tell China, 'We know you wanted permanent MFN this year, which is what we give Great Britain, and you will get that when you start behaving like Great Britain, but right now the answer to you is no,' " he said.

Buchanan also adamantly opposes the North American Free Trade Agreement, something he said upon which President Clinton, Gore and Bush all agree.

"I think that sent American jobs south, it's de-industrializing our country and we're getting narcotics pouring up north because you have a wide open border," he said.

Should he receive the party's nomination, Buchanan would need the signatures of 43,680 state voters to be placed on the Oklahoma voting ballot in November.
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