Ralph Nader's bid for the presidency suffered a huge snub from the left Monday when more than 70 prominent supporters of his previous presidential campaign urged voters to swallow their doubts and vote for John Kerry.
They included such heroes of the intellectual left as Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and Cornel West, writers Barbara Ehrenreich and Studs Terkel, actors Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, and musicians Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt.
They were aiming at voters in battleground states where Nader's candidacy is seen as a direct threat to Kerry.
"We urge support for Kerry-Edwards in all swing states, even while we strongly disagree with Kerry's policies on Iraq and other issues," they said. "For people seeking progressive social change in the United States, removing George W. Bush from office should be the top priority."
The statement was signed by 78 of the 113 prominent Americans who were personally recruited by Nader to endorse his candidacy in 2000.
A no-holds-barred effort by Democratic support groups has kept Nader's name off the ballot in several states, but he is eligible in several swing states. Monday he was in court in Florida fighting to keep his candidacy there alive.
Monday's liberal petitioners are thought likely to carry weight with antiwar activists and environmentalists who might otherwise be tempted to vote for Nader.