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NY Gov. Criticized by GOP Hopefuls

March 21, 1999

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ New York Gov. George Pataki came under fire Sunday from two contenders for the Republican presidential nomination over his call to remove the anti-abortion plank from the GOP’s national platform.

The self-described ``pro-choice″ Pataki, just back from a two-day visit to New Hampshire, the traditional site of the nation’s first presidential primary, is eyeing the race himself.

Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan, appearing on ABC’s ``This Week″ program, said removing the anti-abortion plank from the platform would ``start a civil war″ within the GOP.

Meanwhile, Steve Forbes, appearing on NBC’s ``Meet the Press,″ said Pataki’s support for abortion rights would disqualify him from being on a Forbes-led ticket. Last year, the millionaire publisher had said Pataki should be on every GOP candidate’s short-list of potential running mates.

Buchanan said he did not know if he would mount a third party challenge if the GOP convention took Pataki’s advice and eliminated the anti-abortion plank.

Appearing separately on ABC, Pataki defended his call to ditch the anti-abortion platform, a message he espoused during the party’s 1996 convention, but which has now drawn attention because of his personal interest in the presidential race.

``We should focus on what divides us from Democrats and not what divides us as Republicans,″ Pataki said.

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