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Nader Enters US Presidential Race


Consumer advocate Ralph Nader says he is launching a campaign for president of the United States. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports, Nader cites growing discontent in the country with both Republicans and Democrats.

Ralph Nader made it official during an appearance on national television.

"I have decided to run for president," said Nader.

Nader told NBC's Meet the Press that he is entering the race because neither one of the major political parties is acting in the best interest of the American people.

This is his third run for the presidency. In 2000, Nader - as the candidate of the Green Party - won just less than three percent of the national vote. Many Democrats still blame him for Al Gore's loss that year, saying he siphoned off just enough liberal votes to cost Gore a very close election.

Nader said he will not be deterred.

"The political bigotry that is involved here is that we should not enter the electoral arena - all of us who think the country needs an infusion of freedom, democracy, choice, dissent," he said.

In 2004, Nader ran as an independent and his support slipped. But Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said the Democrats still have reason to be concerned about a Nader candidacy.

"Well, I think it would always pull votes away from the Democrats, not the Republicans," said Huckabee. "So actually, Republicans would welcome his entry into the race and hope that a few more will join in."

During an appearance on CNN's Late Edition, Huckabee was asked if there might be another third-party candidate on the right of the political spectrum. He said that is not likely to happen, adding he has no intention of doing so if frontrunner John McCain becomes the Republican Party nominee.

"I think it is a suicide mission," he said. "Third-party candidates are not going to win the election. At best, they are going to take away from one of the major parties and I just do not see that happening within the conservative wing at all."

Meanwhile, top Democrats are downplaying the impact a Nader campaign might have on their prospects of taking back the White House.

Appearing on the Fox News Sunday television program, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine said he is more intrigued by the possibility of an independent campaign by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"I think that would have a major impact on the outcome of the race, and I think it is unpredictable which side would hurt the most on that," said Corzine. "That is a question that is much more relevant, I think to the end game of who the next president of the United States is."

Bloomberg, who was elected mayor as a Republican, recently dropped his party affiliation. And there has been speculation that he might tap his personal fortune to one day launch a presidential campaign targeting moderate and independent voters.