- The Washington Times - Friday, April 2, 2004


Prominent liberals are pleading with third-party candidate Ralph Nader to abandon his “quixotic and destructive” presidential bid, warning that his presence in the race could ensure the re-election of President Bush.

Fifteen progressive and liberal activists, including leaders of Americans for Democratic Action and the Council for a Livable World, sent a letter to Mr. Nader Thursday praising his work as a consumer advocate but arguing that he cost Democrat Al Gore the 2000 election.

Mr. Nader’s percentage of support in Florida and New Hampshire, if it had gone to Mr. Gore, would have secured those states and the presidency for the Democrat.

“You have done great things in your career as a consumer advocate and we applaud your work, but your presidential race in 2000 led to the most destructive administration we can remember in our 200-plus collective years of progressive advocacy,” the letter said. Some signed as individuals, others as representatives of their groups.

Mr. Nader ran as the Green Party candidate in 2000 and is seeking the presidency this year as an independent, to the dismay of many Democrats who have appealed to him not to run.

“We call on you to stop this quixotic and destructive effort,” the letter said. “The stakes are simply too high. We cannot afford another four years of George W. Bush, but your candidacy only serves to help his re-election campaign.”

Mr. Nader consistently has rejected these pleas and has disputed the suggestion that he cost Mr. Gore the election.

Speaking to about 400 students and supporters at Shenandoah University in Virginia yesterday, Mr. Nader did offer a bit of a concession, saying, “Al Gore slipped on about 18 banana peels and maybe the Green Party was one of them.”

The Nader campaign turned down the latest plea from the groups.

“You have to stand for something and I think these liberal groups, with their anybody-but-Bush advocacy, are going to get nothing in return,” said Nader spokesman Kevin Zeese.

Although Mr. Nader is not on any state’s presidential ballot, Mr. Zeese said the campaign was moving ahead, raising nearly $475,000 in the first two months of this year with $260,000 on hand entering March.

Mr. Nader said he wants to work with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry on common issues.

Current polls show Mr. Nader getting enough support to alter the Bush-Kerry race. Mr. Nader generally registers about 5 percent, with many of his supporters independents and young voters.

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