WASHINGTON -- Ralph Nader announced Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he is running for president again as a third-party candidate, dismissing residual anger from many Democrats that his 2000 showing cost Vice President Al Gore the election.
"You have to ask yourself as a citizen, should we elaborate the issues that the two (parties) are not talking about?" said Nader. He said voters are feeling "locked out, shut out, marginalized, disrespected" on issues ranging from the Middle East, Enron and Katrina, to bungling by both parties.
"In that context, I have decided to run for president," said Nader, who turns 74 this week.
The long-time consumer advocate ran for president as an independent in 2004 and as the Green Party standard-bearer in 2000 and 1996.
In 2000, Nader won 2.7 percent of the vote, including over 97,000 votes in Florida, ground zero of the presidential election. Nader vehemently defended his right to run and denied that he was a spoiler. "Let's get over it and try to have a diverse multiple choice, multiple-party democracy the way they have in Western Europe and Canada," he said.
Asked about concerns that he might hurt Democratic prospects this year, he said, "If the Democrats can't landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form."
But Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton worried aloud Sunday about the consequences of another Nader quest. "I can't think of anybody that would vote for Senator McCain who would vote for Ralph Nader," she said. "I remember when he ran before. It didn't turn out very well for anybody, especially our country."
Her Democratic challenger, Barack Obama, said a day earlier that he was not worried about a Nader run. "I think the job of the Democratic Party is to be so compelling that a few percentage points of the vote going to another candidate is not going to make any difference," said Obama.
Nader, who is ideologically closer to Obama than any other candidate, has been pushing his agenda with Democrats, with little effect. "My sense is that Mr. Nader is somebody who, if you don't listen and adopt all of his policies, thinks you're not substantive," said Obama.
Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Virginia Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine said, "When you get into running for your third or fourth time, I don't think people will pay that much attention to it, and I wouldn't see it having any effect on the race."
Nader now faces formidable challenges to get on the ballot as an independent. In 2004 he was on the ballot in 34 states and the District of Columbia, and won 465,000 votes.