'Without Nader, Bush would not be president'

By Stephen W. Stromberg
Published August 9, 2004 2:34PM (EDT)

Just when you thought news of Ralph Nader's growing ties with Republican activists was abating, the Portsmouth Herald reports this: "When the temp agency that hired her told her she would be collecting signatures for independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader, Emily Sawka became a little concerned. But she had been unemployed for two months and needed the $12-an-hour the job would pay.

"But Sawka threw up her hands altogether upon discovering that Adecco, an international temp agency that has an office in Portsmouth, had hired her out to a consulting firm with Republican ties.

"The firm, Sawka learned, was trying to get Nader on the New Hampshire ballot in November, in a roundabout effort to help get President Bush re-elected in November.

"Sawka, 25, and six other workers hired through Adecco were directed to show up on Friday morning at Shaw's supermarket in Stratham, near the dairy farm where Bush was to speak to supporters at a picnic that afternoon. She was given a clipboard and a script instructing her to tell those at the rally: 'Without Nader, Bush would not be president.'

"The consulting firm, Norway Hill Associates, is located in Hancock. The firm's principal founder, David Carney, said an intern for the firm was heading up a project to collect Nader signatures at the rally."

That's right, blame it on the intern. "Carney, whose past clients include former Republican Senators and presidential candidates Bob Dole and Phil Gramm, said the intern was in charge of hiring between 10 and 15 people. He added that nobody from the Bush/Cheney campaign had asked Norway Hill to collect the signatures.

"Sawka recalled that at the supermarket her boss explained that 'what we are doing is collecting signatures for Ralph Nader in support of Bush, because if we can get Ralph Nader on the ballot, then that would take votes away from (Democratic candidate) John Kerry.'"

Stephen W. Stromberg

Stephen W. Stromberg is a former editorial fellow at Salon.

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