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Nader attacks Kerry on war; he says Democrat helped Bush agenda at home & abroad

by Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2004 at 4:28 AM

"John Kerry eliminated all ambiguity in the first (campaign) debate and outhawked George W. Bush. A vote for Kerry is a vote for war," Nader said to an enthusiastic crowd filling a Seattle Center meeting hall.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Nader attacks Kerry on war

He says Democrat helped Bush agenda at home and abroad



Ralph Nader, who took 4 percent of the 2000

presidential election votes in Washington state,

brought his struggling 2004 campaign to Seattle


Clinging to a 2 percent showing in recent nationwide

polls and hurt by the departure of celebrities'

support, Nader devoted most of his stump speech to

railing against the Democratic Party and its

presidential nominee, John Kerry.

"John Kerry eliminated all ambiguity in the first

(campaign) debate and outhawked George W. Bush. A vote

for Kerry is a vote for war," Nader said to an

enthusiastic crowd filling a Seattle Center meeting


The hundreds of people there gave a standing ovation

and cheers to Nader and his campaign theme -- that

Kerry and President Bush are birds of the same

feather, bent on excessive military spending and

needless war.

But Nader faces growing resistance to his quest to

draw liberal voters away from Kerry.

Outside the meeting hall, an anti-Bush group handed

out "an open letter" to Nader fans saying the race is

too close to risk squandering votes on a progressive

candidate who cannot win.

Signed by U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, and

eight local activists, the letter said, "We share

Ralph's passion for America's workers and consumers.

We stand with him in demanding that all have access to

health care. ... We, too, value a peaceful world where

the United States is again respected.

"But we will not vote for Ralph Nader this election.

We will not risk giving George W. Bush four more years

to permanently destroy the programs on which we have

worked so diligently."

Meanwhile, Nader complained during yesterday's speech

about the recent defections of dozens of his famous

supporters, including Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder,

actress Susan Sarandon and her actor partner, Tim

Robbins, ice cream magnate Ben Cohen, and authors

Studs Terkel and Noam Chomsky.

He mocked the former supporters for issuing a

statement a few weeks ago in which they urged voters

in swing states to support Kerry, but he said that

they "strongly disagree with Kerry's policies on Iraq

and other issues."

Nader argued that liberals lose clout and credibility

when they support centrist Democrats without demanding

some movement to the left in return.

As evidence that Kerry has been pulled to the right,

Nader pointed to his numerous votes as a senator in

favor of the Bush agenda, including the war in Iraq,

the Patriot Act's broad federal surveillance tools,

and the No Child Left Behind Act's emphasis on

standardized tests.

Kerry "knows that no matter what he does, he is still

going to be better than George W. Bush" in the eyes of

left-leaning voters, Nader said. "The liberals are

creating their own nightmare. They are demonstrating

that they have no breaking point."

In a brief news conference before his lengthy campaign

speech, Nader dismissed criticisms that he is again

playing into GOP hands by dividing the Democratic


He said Kerry is more likely to lose supporters to

Bush than to the Nader campaign.

Nader is widely viewed as a spoiler who drew critical

votes away from the Democrats' 2000 presidential

nominee. Al Gore lost narrowly to Bush partly because

of a razor-thin margin in Florida, where 97,488 people

voted for Nader.

Nader said exit polls after the 2000 election found

that if not for his candidacy, half of his supporters

would have skipped voting altogether, and a quarter

would have supported Bush.

"The two parties are one corporate party with two

heads wearing different makeup," he said.

Nader also announced his opposition to statewide

Initiative 872, a Nov. 2 ballot measure that would

allow the top two vote-getters in each primary

election race to advance to the general election --

regardless of which party they belong to.

He said it's an attack on "small-party" candidates

that would "dramatically decrease" the number of

candidates to choose from. Initiative proponents say

it expands choice by abandoning the current primary

system, in which voters must choose one party and vote

only for that party's candidates.

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