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Nader rejects spoiler label in new presidential bid

Consumer advocate blasts corporate interests in 2 major parties

Presidential candidate Ralph Nader says Democrats have blamed him for their own blunders in the 2000 presidential election.
Presidential candidate Ralph Nader says Democrats have blamed him for their own blunders in the 2000 presidential election.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader accused both parties of being "for sale" Monday and rejected Democratic fears that his campaign would divide President Bush's opponents in the November election.

Nader mocked Bush as "the giant corporation in the White House masquerading as a human being" in a speech to the National Press Club. But he said corporate interests freely assert their influence in the Republican and Democratic parties, "stomping both conservative and liberal values alike."

"We, the people, not for sale, can decide to displace the corporate controls that try to make everything for sale," he said.

Nader said his candidacy could appeal not only to disaffected liberals but also to conservative voters angered by corporate subsidies, the Patriot Act and federal budget deficits.

In addition, he said, the Bush administration has done nothing about what he called "corporate pornography and violence beamed to children at a very impressionable age, undermining parental authority."

Nader ran as the Green Party's presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000. But he said he did not seek its nomination this year because the party won't decide on a candidate until June.

"That's too late to hazard a candidacy that should be busily collecting signatures to get on the ballot," he said.

Some Democrats blame Nader's 2000 bid with costing Al Gore victory in Florida and throwing that decisive state's electoral votes to Bush.

Nader said his campaign Web site, votenader.org, was receiving a flood of contributions and resumes. But he said he had a "personal statement" for Democrats such as Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe and the party's two top presidential contenders, Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards: "Relax."

"Rejoice that you have another front carrying the ancient but unfulfilled pretensions and aspirations of the Democratic Party," he said. "Do not deny millions of voters the opportunity to vote for this candidacy. Everyone should have a chance. Everyone should argue on the merits, not on the money."

Nader said branding him a spoiler was a term of contempt, implying that only the two major parties belonged in American politics.

He said Democrats were seeking a scapegoat for the 2000 race that Gore "had stolen from him and had Democratic Party blunders fail to rescue it in Florida."

Democrats should have reached out to the Green Party in the aftermath, he said.


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