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Former Colorado Governor Declares For President

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DENVER (AllPolitics, July 9) -- Former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm joined the presidential race, declaring he will seek the nomination of Texas billionaire Ross Perot's fledgling Reform Party.

"I am here today to announce my candidacy as president of the United States on the Reform Party ticket," Lamm told cheering supporters. "I really want to create a whole new political coalition, to dedicate it to reform and renewal." (320K WAV sound)

Calling November 5 a "watershed" election, Lamm said the current political system is "dysfunctional" and incapable of reform. The two major parties, he claimed, are beholden to special interests and are recklessly imposing taxes on future generations (192K AIFF or WAV sound).

"Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats want to deal with our most pressing issues," he said. "They have hit the snooze alarm and they've gone back to sleep. Neither (has) an agenda that will keep this country great. They are petrified into inaction because it upsets some voters and they would have to make some hard choices and give up some of their pork and their kowtowing to the special interests."

Lamm, 60, was nervous at first but grew more relaxed as he talked about his longshot campaign -- a bid, he said, that won't employ high-paid consultants or daily polls. (128K AIFF or WAV sound)

"The New Deal, in my mind, has become a raw deal," Lamm intoned. "My social security will create social insecurity for our children." Calling the last 30 years the "greatest sluffing off of taxation without representation since King George III," Lamm said: "You can't create justice in this generation by creating injustice in the next generation."

"America has to ask itself not what it wants, but what it can afford," he said, and Americans must replace the entitlement ethic with personal responsibility. "The choices we make now will really determine whether the United States will maintain the mantle of greatness into the new millennium."

Lamm also decried the loss of faith in public institutions. "If we can't get people to have confidence again in our government, I believe we'll lose our democracy....The last 30 years has seen the biggest loss of confidence in the political process, I suspect, since Louis the Sixteenth."

Lamm's announcement came as little surprise. After thrilling Reform Party members at their California convention in early June, the former talk show host began to openly flirt with a presidential run. Though Lamm withheld an official commitment, aides close to the Coloradan said last week he had made his decision, and word leaked that Lamm spent Monday on the phone planning campaign trips to California and Minnesota and arranging Secret Service protection for his family.

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