Republican presidential challenger Pat Buchanan vowed Saturday to stay in the race through California's June 2 primary despite advice from former President Nixon to get out before then.
Buchanan met with Nixon at Woodcliff Lake, N.J., Saturday and said later the former president - whom he once served as a White House speechwriter - advised him to drop out of the race before the California primary so that he would not divide the Republican party before the Nov. 3 general election.Buchanan vowed to go on, saying he had told Nixon "we were going to go on to California," but added: "I respect his opinion and respect what he had to say."
CNN reported that Buchanan had pledged to heed Nixon's advice to direct his attacks on Democratic candidates and Congress instead of President Bush.
Buchanan Saturday said on CNN's "Evans and Novak" program that he will stay in the race to "win back the heart and soul of the Republican Party.
"We're still challenging (Bush) for the Republican nomination, even though he's far ahead, and I have no intention of getting out of the race. We're going to go into North Carolina and contest that and we're going on to California and contest that in June," Buchanan said.
"I'm in this to influence the direction of our country and to recapture the Republican Party for things I believe in. The way you do that is you keep on fighting. You don't quit."
Buchanan vowed to attend the Republican National Convention in Houston on Aug. 17 but said he is not ready to sit down with Bush campaign strategists to cut a deal on his role at the convention.
"If they want to keep me out, I think that would be a stupid blunder but they're perfectly capable of doing something like that. And if they do, we'll have a big convention down the hall or down the street," he said.
Buchanan said he has not decided whether to return to his role as a television commentator on CNN or remain a politician after the election campaign is over. He did, however, hint that he would go back to writing a syndicated column.