WASHINGTON — Four years after he announced a presidential run on NBC's "Meet the Press," Ralph Nader is poised to do it again.
He's scheduled to appear on the program Sunday, and longtime associates say they think the consumer advocate will announce his candidacy. Having abandoned the Green Party after being its nominee in 2000, he's more likely to run as an independent again, those familiar with his thinking said.
Kevin Zeese, Nader's 2004 campaign spokesman, who isn't involved in the 2008 exploratory efforts, said he thought that Nader was going to throw his hat in the ring again.
"If I had to guess I'd say he's going to run, because the two parties are not bringing issues in a way that will help the people, but will help the corporations," Zeese said.
In an e-mail to supporters from his exploratory committee, Nader asks, "What's been pulled off the table by the corporatized political machines in this momentous election year?" In what amounts to a preview of his campaign themes, he answers himself: "Cutting the huge, bloated and wasteful military budget, adopting a single-payer Canadian-style national health insurance system, impeaching Bush/Cheney, opposing nuclear power — among many others."
Nader is still embroiled in lawsuits from his 2004 run, when Democrats, some of whom think that he prevented Vice President Al Gore from winning in 2000, kept him off many state ballots. Nader was on the ballot in 34 states and the District of Columbia in 2004, but with Green Party access he'd made it onto the ballots in 43 states and D.C. in 2000.
In 2008, the Green Party has a ballot line in 21 states, but Nader will face challenges if he tries for the party's nomination — former Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., already is running — or if he goes it alone, as he did in 2004.
Despite the lingering rancor from Democrats, Nader remains confident, asking his supporters in the e-mail:
"Who will pick up these issues and put them back on the table?"
His answer appears to be obvious.
ON THE WEB
Nader's exploratory committee: www.naderexplore08.org
McClatchy Newspapers 2008