Monday, September 22, 2003

Cynthia A. McKinney, the Georgia Democrat who was voted out of Congress last year, is being considered as part of a Green Party presidential ticket next year.

Miss McKinney, who declared that President Bush knew in advance about the September 11 attacks, was lauded on a Web site,, which was urging her to run at the top of the Green Party ticket.

The site, which is run via an untraceable server, states as its reason for being: “This site is meant to be a focus of the efforts to draft Cynthia McKinney for Green Party Presidential candidate.”

“I think if McKinney ran a good campaign, a focused and energetic campaign, I think we would do very well,” said Scott McLarty, a Green Party spokesman. “Some people have said that the dream team could be [Ralph] Nader with McKinney as a running mate, or vice versa.”

Miss McKinney is a visiting professor at Cornell University. She could not be reached for comment, said a staffer at the Ithaca, N.Y., school.

In an interview with the Atlanta newspaper earlier this month, Miss McKinney, 48, refused to discuss her political future but said, “I do have some big decisions to make, and I recognize that whatever I decide to do impacts a lot of people.”

Mr. Nader, who ran at the head of the Green Party ticket in 2000, played it coy when asked about his political future. He earned 3 percent of the vote in 2000. Party leaders have said that any ticket next year would have to improve on that if the nation’s most prominent third party is to remain nationally viable.

With Miss McKinney, Mr. Nader’s platform would be boosted in the eyes of many among the Greens’ potential constituency.

“In 2000, Ralph had some baggage, which was the perception that he was not interested in certain kinds of social concerns” or was insufficiently liberal on other issues, Mr. McLarty said.

Miss McKinney, he said, is interesting “because she is considered an African-American leader with an outstanding human rights record, with environmental interests and international issues, especially.”

Miss McKinney toted baggage of her own, some of which led to her losing her House seat in the August 2002 Democratic primary to newcomer Denise Majette.

Charges of anti-Semitism, her accusation that the Bush administration ignored warnings about September 11, and her claim that the president’s business mates had reaped profits from the war on terrorism estranged even some of her consistent supporters in her Georgia district, which is 50 percent black.

Miss McKinney drew much of her campaign financing from out of state, including money from pro-Arab groups, while Jewish groups helped fund Mrs. Majette’s campaign.

For that reason, pairing Miss McKinney with Mr. Nader may not be the best fit, said Doug Friedline, who heads the independent Draft Nader Committee.

“I know that she understands the issues, but I also know that she so alienated some that a group of voters took her out,” said Mr. Friedline, who managed Jesse Ventura’s successful run for Minnesota governor in 1998.

“She’s a female minority and that is a plus,” he said. “But I’m not so sure she’s the perfect person.”

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