Has Ralph decided to pull a Nader?

By Mark Follman
Published February 21, 2004 2:00AM (UTC)
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According to Fox News this afternoon, he has. Nader advisers are saying he "will enter the 2004 race for the White House as an independent candidate," with a formal announcement to be made this weekend, according to Fox. "'He's going to be discussing his role in the presidential election,' [said] Linda Schade, a spokeswoman for Nader's presidential exploratory committee. 'He's felt there is a role for an independent candidate to play.'"

Nader, who ran as a Green Party candidate in 2000 and was widely vilified for helping George W. Bush edge out Al Gore, is sure to roil the left of the Democratic party with a decision to run. Apparently he's not listening to Howard Dean, who vowed in his campaign withdrawal speech on Wednesday, "I will not run as an independent or third-party candidate and I urge my supporters not to be tempted to support any effort by another candidate." Dean stressed party unity, with the imperative of doing "whatever it takes" to unseat Bush in November. But undoubtedly some liberal Dean supporters will be tempted to back Nader's progressive agenda.

Fox isn't the only conservative media outlet highlighting the story today; NewsMax.com reports that the Democratic establishment is now "running scared," after DLC chief Terry McAuliffe told CNN this afternoon, "I'm urging everybody to talk to Ralph Nader. I'd love him to take a role with our party, to energize people, to get out there and get the message out." But, he said, "I don't want Ralph Nader's legacy that he got George Bush for eight years in this country."

Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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