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BUCHANAN IS CALLED AN `AYATOLLAH' OF IDEAS BY D'AMATO

Days after criticizing House Speaker Newt Gingrich as out of touch with voters, Sen. Alfonse D'Amato lashed out at Pat Buchanan Saturday, calling him "a philosophical ayatollah," The New York Times reported.

In a speech to the Republican National Committee's Northeast Leadership Conference, D'Amato said Buchanan, who ran for the Republican nomination for president in 1992 and again this year, has been a divisive element in the party."We have a guy running around who wants to exclude this one, that one, the other one, who beats up on women, beats up on gays, beats up on immigrants," said D'Amato, R-N.Y., co-chairman of Dole's national campaign steering committee. "You think Pat Buchanan gave a good message for our party?"

"We should not march to some philosophical ayatollah," he said at a news conference afterward. Moments later, he referred to "an ayatollah like Pat Buchanan," The Times reported.

Responding in an interview, Bay Buchanan, the candidate's sister and campaign chairwoman, said: "It would be my recommendation to Bob Dole to muzzle Senator D'Amato for the sake of the Republican Party.

"Let the senator take a long vacation in a quiet place. He's an angry, mean-spirited, unscrupulous man who has a problem with the facts."