Smith Rejects Taxpayers Party, Hints at Ending White House Bid

From Reuters

Sen. Bob Smith of New Hampshire, who bolted the Republican Party a month ago, said Wednesday he may soon end his longshot quest for the presidency.

He made the comment shortly after announcing he is ending his week-old campaign for the presidential nomination of the U.S. Taxpayers Party.

Smith said he decided he would rather remain an independent senator and White House contender than join the U.S. Taxpayers Party, which will pick its 2000 presidential nominee at a St. Louis convention next month. Leaders of the party had encouraged Smith to be its standard-bearer.

"It would not be fair for me to attend their convention and accept their nomination, given my unwillingness to join," Smith told backers in Bedford, N.H.

Later, in Manchester, Smith, while fielding questions at a meeting of the local Chamber of Commerce, said he may end his White House campaign.

"At this point, I can't tell you for sure what I will do, but I will be able to say probably in about a week," Smith said.

Smith said among the factors he is considering is the health of his wife, Mary Jo, who was undergoing tests after complaining of chest pains and numbness Tuesday.

The senator said he was awaiting the results of the tests. "That will obviously weigh heavily into what I may do."

In leaving the Republican Party in July, Smith complained that the party has abandoned its conservative core beliefs, such as opposition to abortion rights and defense of the right to bear arms.

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