- The Washington Times - Monday, August 21, 2000

Green Party presidential nominee Ralph Nader says he plans to concentrate his campaign in states where "we're going to do the best," naming California, Wisconsin, New York, Minnesota and the New England states as targets.

The veteran consumer activist also said he intends to campaign in Republican nominee George W. Bush's home state of Texas, where Vice President Al Gore "is not a factor."

"We're going to go into Texas … and hope that the Democrats want to send a message to the weak, anemic Democratic Party in Texas and nationwide [by] voting for us on the Green Party ticket," Mr. Nader said in an interview with columnist George Will broadcast yesterday on ABC's "This Week."

Polls released over the weekend showed Mr. Nader's national support at 3 percent, down from previous polls in which he averaged 5 percent.

Mr. Nader, who appeals primarily to liberals and some independents, will spend most of this week in California, where polls show him with 8 percent of the vote. If he gets 8 percent on Election Day, he could swing California's 54 electoral votes away from Mr. Gore, some analysts say.

In the next few weeks, Mr. Nader also will be spending a substantial amount of time in Washington state and Oregon, where polls show him with about the same level of support as in California. In Wisconsin, polls have put Mr. Nader's support at 9 percent. Previous polls in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Michigan also have shown Mr. Nader with 8 percent to 9 percent of the vote.

In addition to ABC's "This Week," Mr. Nader appeared yesterday on CNN's "Both Sides with Jesse Jackson."

The candidate whose campaign is focusing on "corporate abuses" and protections for consumers, workers and the environment told Mr. Jackson he believes the Democratic Party "has decayed over the years."

"I think even you have been marginalized by it," Mr. Nader told Mr. Jackson, who failed in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988.

Democrats and Republicans now are "both beholden to corporate interests, to [the World Trade Organization], to [the North American Free Trade Agreement], to the loss of jobs, to the anti-environmental issue," Mr. Nader said.

He says his goal is to develop a third party the Green Party that addresses issues of "real concern for real human beings."

"We're telling Gore, here's how you can win if you want to win. If you don't want to win, we're building a Green Party that's going to be a majoritarian party in the next 12 years," the candidate told Mr. Jackson.

Asked if he would enjoy taking votes from Mr. Gore and helping him to lose, Mr. Nader said, "I don't think Al Gore is going to beat George Bush by relying on my small votes to disappear. Either Al Gore can beat George Bush on his own, or the Democrats will go down in history once again as being very good at electing very bad Republicans."

In the CNN interview, he described the Texas governor as a "conglomerate corporation running for president disguised as a human being."

Few believe Mr. Nader can win on Nov. 7. "But I'm going to try to win. I'm going to try to win as many votes as possible from all candidates," he said.

Mr. Nader and his running mate, Winona LaDuke, have qualified to appear on the ballot in 34 states, and say they expect to be on those of 45. Many of the states where Mr. Nader will be spending most of his time campaigning are ones where Mr. Gore has relative strength over Mr. Bush.

Voter factions that find Mr. Nader most attractive liberals and independents are the same factions being courted aggressively by Mr. Gore.

On ABC, Mr. Will asked Mr. Nader if his selective campaigning means that his "main objective is to defeat Gore" or to secure the 5 percent in federal funding for another presidential bid in 2004.

"The main objective is to get as many votes [as possible] from Gore and Bush," Mr. Nader said.

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