Schaefer pulls a switch -- again Democratic ex-governor snubs Clinton, says he'll support Dole; CAMPAIGN 1996

WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON -- Former Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who four years ago confounded his fellow Democrats by supporting George Bush's re-election for president over Bill Clinton, is at it again.

Mr. Schaefer said yesterday he supports Republican Bob Dole's presidential bid.


"I just don't think the president is up to the job," Mr. Schaefer said of President Clinton. "He doesn't follow through with his plans. He's played politics all along."

Mr. Schaefer, 74, said in a telephone interview that Mr. Clinton is "clever enough a good-looking guy" who can "convince you of anything."


But "a man with no military experience has no business committing American troops all over the world," he said.

Mr. Clinton served Arkansas well, Mr. Schaefer said, but has been unable to replicate his success as president.

"He was OK as governor, but I don't like his politics," Mr. Schaefer said.

The former governor and Baltimore mayor said he favored the Senate majority leader's "extensive record" of public service.

Mr. Dole, 72, of Kansas has served for decades in Congress and lost use of an arm in combat in Italy in World War II.

Mr. Schaefer said he sees nothing odd about crossing party lines with his endorsement.

"I think the national good is above being a hard-line Democrat or a hard-line Republican," he said. "I look and see who can do good for the country."

He added, "I don't like to vote partywise."


Mr. Schaefer has a history of straying from the party line.

In 1984, he passed up the Democratic National Convention, choosing instead to go to San Diego, where the Republicans convened.

He encouraged former Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, a Baltimore County Republican, to run for governor in 1994.

Mr. Schaefer did words for Mr. Clinton at a pre-inaugural lunch, where he said he would be one of Mr. Clinton's "strongest supporters."

But he said yesterday, "I must have been out to lunch that day."

Pub Date: 3/08/96