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Nader: A vote for Kerry is a vote for war!

"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.
Nader: A vote for Kerry is a vote for war! | 11.10.2004 12:22

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 hall.

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 vote.

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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