WASHINGTON (CNN) - Ralph Nader, the longtime consumer advocate who was blamed by many Democrats for Al Gore’s loss in the 2000 presidential election, launched an exploratory committee Wednesday for another White House bid, and told CNN he is likely to get in the race if he can put the resources in place.
"John Edwards, the banner of Democratic Party populism, is dropping out, and Dennis Kucinich dropped out earlier, so in terms of voters who are at least interested in having major areas of injustice, deprivations, and solutions discussed in a presidential campaign, they might be interested in my exploratory effort," Nader said.
Nader has launched an official exploratory committee Web site, and said he will formally make a decision in about a month. He said he is certain to get in the race if he can demonstrate the ability to raise $10 million and recruit enough lawyers to deal with ballot access issues. He has yet to formally file paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission, though he does not need to until he officially becomes a candidate, according to the FEC.
Nader said he finds Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both unacceptable candidates, and he said whichever wins the party's presidential nomination will not have an impact on his decision to run.
"They are both enthralled to the corporate powers," Nader said of the two leading Democrats. "They've completely ignored the presidential pattern of illegality and accountability, they've ignored the out of control waste-fruad military expenditures, they hardly ever mention the diversion of hundreds of billions of dollars to corporate subsidies, handouts, and giveaways, and they don't talk about a living wage."
He expressed particular disappointment with Obama, whose senate record he called "mediocre, and quite cautious."
"It's not that he doesn't know what the score is, of course he does - look at his background, he knows plenty," Nader said. "But he's censoring himself."
Nader attracted close to 100,000 votes in Florida in 2000 - a state Al Gore ultimately lost to George Bush by approximately 500 votes. He brushes aside suggestions his candidacy this year may ultimately spoil the election for the Democratic Party.
"Political bigotry will be the label on anybody who uses the word 'spoiler,' he said. "Because ‘spoiler’ means minor candidates are second class citizens. Either we have an equal right to run for election, or we are spoilers for each other trying to get each other's votes.”
- CNN Producer Alexander Mooney
MUSCATINE, Iowa (CNN) - Consumer advocate Ralph Nader criticized Democrat Hillary Clinton Monday, and gave his seal of approval to her presidential rival, John Edwards.
In an interview with the Politico, the consumer advocate urged liberal Iowans to "recognize" Edwards by "giving him a victory." He added that Clinton would "pander to corporate interest groups" if elected.
Nader, who has long said Democrats and Republicans are almost indistinguishable, called Edwards his party’s "glimmer of hope."
Clinton, Edwards and Obama are either tied or separated by just a few percentage points in most recent polls, with Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses just two days away.
Nader is a controversial figure within the Democratic party – a liberal icon who is blamed by some for Vice President Al Gore’s loss to George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential race.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Consumer advocate and 2000/2004 presidential candidate Ralph Nader has not ruled out another run in 2008, telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer Thursday it's too early for him to make a decision.
The man who many blame as spoiling the election for Al Gore in 2000 also said a potential third party candidacy by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg would not affect his decision to run.
Earlier this week, Bloomberg, a lifelong Democrat until he ran for mayor in 2001, dropped his affiliation with the GOP - a move that increased speculation he is considering an independent presidential bid.
Nader also sharply criticized Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, but said it’s not out of personal disdain for the New York senator.
“It isn’t a matter of liking her,” said Nader. “She’s not using her political capital to shift power to challenge abuses of power.”
Regarding the charge that his candidacy ultimately tipped the balance in Florida to hand George Bush the election, Nader rejected the “spoiler” label. He claimed that such an accusation is based on “factual errors.”
“I think Gore won, by the way,” he added. “I’ve spoken to him. I think he knows he won.”