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February 18, 1996 – This week, all eyes were on Iowa. The 1996 Iowa Caucus was underway for the Republicans and it was Bob Dole’s to take bragging rights; finishing with 26% of the vote. Good numbers, but not as good as 1988 when it was in the 30’s. Coming up in a close second place was former Nixon Speech writer Pat Buchanan only three points behind Dole. It was boost for Buchanan who felt confident he had a better than good chance at nabbing the nomination. In third place was former Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander who nabbed 18% of the vote for a better-than-expected finish. The rest of the field finished reasonably behind. Millionaire Steve Forbes finished with only 10% of the vote, but he was non-plussed by the disappointing results, saying he was saving it all for Arizona. The shocker came with Texan Phil Gramm’s paltry 9% showing. Gramm vowed to continue, but thought better of it later on in the week, where he decided it was best to sit this Presidential dance out. The exit caused a scramble among the 8 remaining candidates, hawking for Gramm’s former supporters to climb on their bandwagon. The brouhaha over Gramm’s departure was quickly eclipsed when word that a top aide, Larry Pratt, was rumored to be an anti-government extremist with ties to the Aryan Nation and various White Supremacist organization. Buchanan for his part, put Pratt on a leave-of-absence, while also maintaining that the charges were malicious and false. Pratt, at a news conference denied he was a racist. A Buchanan campaign worker in Florida was also let go when it was learned she had ties with various racist organizations. Spokespeople from the campaign said the woman was a plant by political enemies just to do damage to Buchanan. And it was on to New Hampshire.
In other news – The General Accounting Office believed former White House official David Watkins may have lied to Federal investigators about the firing of seven White House travel office workers in 1993 when Waktins undertook the controversial firings and discovered to have contradicted himself on several important points during testimony and whether First Lady Hillary Clinton had a hand in the dismissals.
And that’s just a small slice of what happened this week, ending February 19,1996 as reported by ABC’s World News This Week.