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Gramm Grim, Buchanan Buoyant After Iowa Vote

February 13, 1996

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Phil Gramm couldn’t get out of the room fast enough, his smile tight as he thanked supporters after a disappointing fifth-place finish in the Iowa Republican caucuses.

``I leave this state with a heart full of love,″ the Texas senator said.

Mourned supporter Donna Sullins: ``I am stunned. I was hoping he would do better.″

Across town, Lamar Alexander couldn’t stay long enough, his grin giant as he savored an unexpected third-place showing. The former Tennessee governor went from hug to hug in a room packed with supporters, many of them wearing red-and-black plaid shirts like the one Alexander wore when he announced his candidacy.

And at Pat Buchanan’s Iowa caucus celebration, the energy level was through the roof.

``We’ve entered the zone,″ whooped Drew Ivers, an ordinarily stodgy conservative savoring Buchanan’s surprising second-place finish. Around him, the shout was ``Go, Pat, Go.″

``Let me tell you, Pat is going _ right on to New Hampshire,″ Buchanan vowed. He was flying today to the Granite State on a commercial jet.

Bob Dole flew there Monday night, after thanking supporters at a Des Moines rally that was happy on the outside, worried on the inside.

Off in one corner before Dole arrived, some of the Kansas senator’s supporters stared anxiously at a TV set as results rolled in.

``That worries me,″ said a man who wouldn’t give his name. He jabbed his finger at the screen _ at the numbers showing Dole with 26 percent support, Pat Buchanan with 23 percent and Alan Keyes with 7 percent.

``There’s a lot of work to be done,″ added Benny McKee, a Dole volunteer from northern Virginia, as he slowly twirled a small American flag.

But the crowd shouted and disco blared as Dole and his wife, Elizabeth, walked in. With a thumbs up signal, he told the crowd: ``You stood with me. And we’ll stand together for America.″

Then he leaned down to shake hands, and took off for New Hampshire.

Also flying there later today was Steve Forbes, calling himself undaunted despite the fact that his multimillion-dollar advertising campaign ended up making little dent. He finished fourth.

Forbes signed autographs Monday night after vowing to press on with a campaign he said would ``reshape America.″

Before he showed up, the Al Ford Orchestra blared out ``Rock Around the Clock″ with all the gusto its 10 members could muster.

The dance floor, however, was empty.

``Maybe later,″ said supporter Kevin McLaughlin, sipping a soft drink. ``I’m as happy as I should be. As happy as I could be.″