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Nader rejects calls to rethink his campaign

The Associated Press
Monday October 23, 2000

OAKLAND — Green Party Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader rejected calls from a dozen of his longtime fellow activists that he rethink his campaign because he could cost Democrat Al Gore the election. 

Twelve old “Nader’s Raiders” urged Nader on Friday to drop out of the White House race in states where Gore is in close fights with Republican George W. Bush. 

“There’s a dozen former Nader’s Raiders out of several thousand who decided to raise this point,” Nader said Saturday at a news conference preceding a rally that hall officials said drew more than 6,000 people. 

“I think they’re well-intentioned, but frightened liberals who sided with the lesser of two evils,” Nader said of the dozen, who call themselves “Nader’s Raiders for Gore.” 

Some of the dozen have in recent years gone into corporate employment or work for the government, and don’t understand that times have changed for consumer activists, he said. 

“We can’t get done what we got done when they were working with us,” because of “big money in politics and the increasing homogenization of both parties into one party indentured to business interests,” he said. 

The dozen critics also said Nader broke a promise to campaign only in states where his candidacy would not hurt Gore’s chances for victory. 

Nader denied ever making such a promise, and made plain he intends to press on with his campaign nationwide, if only to build a viable third party for the future. 

“This is a 50-state campaign,” he said. Nader offered rally-goers a glimpse of government under his leadership. 

“We’ve got to go back to the people of this country and build the civic power that we’ll (bring) back to Washington and take our government back and bend it to our will,” he said. 

Nader said the Democratic party assumes that its liberal base has “got nowhere else to go.” 

“That’s quite a choice for the American people, between the bad Democratic party and the worse Republicans,” he said. “I think we need a better choice than that.” 

A Field Poll earlier this month showed Gore leading Bush by 13 percentage points, with Nader drawing 4 percent. But more recent polls show the race tightening significantly. Democratic surveys in California show Gore leading by as little as 6 points.