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The Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
July 28, 2000


By Brad Heath
Staff Writer

What does John Hagelin have in common with Pat Buchanan? Not much, other than the fact that both men want to be the next president of the United States and both of them want the Reform Party to get them there.

How do they differ? "In every way," Hagelin, a quantum physicist from Iowa, said Wednesday as his campaign for the White House made a stop at the Press & Sun-Bulletin in Vestal. "We have very different visions of reform. Very different messages."

Hagelin started his run for the presidency more than a year ago, speaking to small groups of third-party voters in cities across the United States, hoping to snap up enough support to win the Reform Party's nomination next month.

But winning means bringing together a party so rife with discord that New York's chapter goes by a different name—the Independence Party. The last time the state party held a convention, it wound up airing its dirty laundry in state court.

Even if he can convince enough Reform Party voters to cast their mail-in ballots for him, Hagelin still would have to grapple with an electoral landscape that heavily favors traditional Democratic and Republican candidates. And he would probably have to make do without help from any of Buchanan's supporters, because whichever one wins when the party announces its candidate Aug. 11 in Long Beach, Calif., the other is likely to strike out on his own.

"My campaign is very secondarily about winning and primarily about changing the face of politics forever," Hagelin said. "Obviously, the easiest way to do that is to win, but if you can convince someone else to co-opt your issues, that's good enough."

Buchanan, a frequent presidential candidate who quit the Republican Party to run on the Reform ticket, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Hagelin said Wednesday that if he is elected, he will try to largely banish private funding from presidential campaigns, include preventative medicine in the government's Medicare health insurance program, improve schools and simplify the nation's tax system....

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