Lyndon LaRouche, the perennial candidate for president, was impatient. An NBC-TV reporter kept peppering him with unwelcome questions. Finally, Mr. LaRouche exploded: ``You guys are a bunch of liars. How can I talk to a drug pusher like you?''
It was vintage LaRouche here Wednesday as the reclusive candidate, who says he is an assassination target of the Soviet KGB, held his first press conference since two of his followers achieved a stunning election upset in Illinois.
LaRouche blasted the Soviets and US ``drug pushers'' for slandering his name, blamed ``free trade'' policies for destroying US industry, and supported ``government-created credit'' to revitalize American factories and cities.
Traditional Democrats have shunned LaRouche for years. They've dismissed him as a crank, an extremist, the leader of a radical fringe. But now Democrats have been forced to take his challenge to the party more seriously.
Last month, two LaRouche candidates, Mark J. Fairchild and Janice Hart, won the Illinois Democratic Party nomination for lieutenant governor and secretary of state. LaRouche has wrapped himself and his organization, the National Democratic Policy Committee, in those triumphs like a flag of victory.
He told a packed press conference here that his cause had triumphed because of votes from ``the forgotten majority.''
That majority includes ``farmers [and] blue-collar households [and] 70 percent of the black vote of Cook County, which voted . . . against the [regular] party ticket and against the news media,'' he said.
Comparing himself to earlier protest candidates, such as Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace, LaRouche said the voters who back his cause ``don't believe in Washington, they don't believe in the party leadership.''
These are people who scoff at the ``great national economy recovery'' of the Reagan White House, LaRouche said. ``Their experience tells them that if there's a recovery, it didn't happen to them, and it didn't happen any place that they can see it.
``They can say, `Maybe those people in the country-club set have seen a recovery, or are experiencing one. Maybe the yuppies are undergoing a recovery. . . . But we do not experience a recovery. Our industrial plant is closing down. Our farm is closing down. . . . Our banks are closing down. And these idiots say there is a recovery going on.' ''
LaRouche, whose organization says it is running 750 candidates in the 1986 elections (mostly as Democrats, but about 20 as Republicans), dwelt primarily on economic, trade, and foreign-policy issues and the ``drug lobby.''
On trade: ``If the United States government continues to support that idiotic ritual -- free market, free market, free market -- on the question of the oil price drop, and if the oil price drop continues to go into single-digit-per-barrel prices on the world market, that can set off a political explosion in this country, and it can set off a general collapse of our entire banking system.''
On foreign policy: ``Our policy toward Europe [including West Germany] is insane. . . . West Germany is on the verge of going into the Soviet sphere of influence. If the Social Democrats and Greens come into power . . . the United States is out of Germany. . . . And that is the policy of [Secretary of State George P.] Shultz.''
On drugs: ``The British government has been officially in the drug-trafficking business since the Act of Westminster of 1787. . . . But in the late 1960s, . . . the Soviets [got] into two areas of strategic operations against the United States, one being the drug operations, and the other international terrorism. The Soviets set up international terrorism in cooperation with Syrian intelligence.''
On economics: ``We don't want people working in fast-food stands. We want them back in the steel mills.''
Regular Democrats are watching LaRouche with a mixture of anger and concern. The Illinois victories may have been a one-time fluke. But no one is certain. The Democratic National Committee has sent out a nationwide alert to identify LaRouche candidates to voters.