Wednesday, March 3, 1999 Published at 00:05 GMT
Bush takes first step
The race for the White House in 2000 moved up a gear as Republican front-runner George W Bush took a step towards his first bid for the presidency.
The move followed an announcement by Republican veteran Pat Buchanan that he was launching his third presidential challenge.
Mr Bush, 52, has not formally declared he is entering the presidential race but is considered a front-runner for the Republican nomination.
BBC Washington Correspondent Paul Reynolds says there has been little doubt for months that Mr Bush will run for president and he is likely to declare when the Texas legislature ends its session late May.
"I've been encouraged by the outpouring of support from fellow elected officials and party leaders all across our country many of whom, as you know, have made the trip to Austin, Texas," Mr Bush said on Tuesday.
He was speaking from the governor's mansion in the state capital Austin on Texas Independence Day.
He was elected by a large majority to a second term as governor of Texas in November in one of the strongest Republican performances in the mid-term elections.
Buchanan outspoken as ever
Pat Buchanan, who stood for the Republican nomination in 1992 and 1996, launched his campaign with a typically fierce attack on the Clinton White House.
Having failed twice before, correspondents say Mr Buchanan's campaign looks even less hopeful this time round.
That did not stop him preaching his brand of conservatism, with anti-abortion and pro-protection at the top of the list, to an enthusiastic band of 300 supporters in Manchester, New Hampshire, where the first primaries will be held.