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The Spoiler: Democrats nervous over Nader

By Wolf Blitzer

Ralph Nader

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From CNN's Wolf Blitzer in Washington:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Democrats are nervously awaiting word from Ralph Nader, who now says he will announce on Sunday whether he will run as an Independent third-party candidate for president.

"We can't afford to have Ralph Nader in the race. This is about the future of the country," says Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe.

For the Democrats, the stakes couldn't be higher.

Despite Nader's oft-stated denials, by almost all other accounts, Al Gore would likely be President of the United States right now -- if it weren't for Nader.

Take a look at the math.

Overall, he captured about 3 percent of the popular vote, but you have to look closer to fully appreciate what happened.

In Florida alone, which Bush won by a mere 537 votes, Nader captured nearly 100,000 votes -- most of them from people generally seen as much more likely to have voted for a Democrat had he not run.

In New Hampshire, which Bush won by over 7,000 votes, Nader captured some 22,000 votes.

Had either of those states gone to Gore, the former vice president could be president right now.

"Well, I have talked to Ralph Nader several times myself. I went to lunch with Ralph Nader, spent several hours with Ralph Nader. I wanted to convey to Ralph Nader that, you know, George Bush has been disastrous on the issues that mean so much to him. And if he were to get in the race again, he could pull votes away from the Democratic nominee. And I don't want Ralph Nader's legacy that he got George Bush for eight years in this country," says McAuliffe.

Wolf Blitzer Reports
Ralph Nader
Democratic Party

Four years ago, Nader ran as the Green Party candidate. He says he won't do so this time because that party won't nominate a candidate until June, and he says that's too late in the process to be effective.

Nader told CNN, "If I do run, it will be as an independent. One out of every three Americans calls themselves independent. We want to give them the kind of candidacy, if I announce it, that will resonate there."

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