Nader has no regrets about running against Gore
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, accused by some Democrats of winning votes that cost Vice President Al Gore the election, said on Thursday he had no regrets now that Republican George W. Bush had won the election.
"The regret is that I didn't get more votes," Nader told CNN's "Larry King Live," underscoring his commitment to building a new party that would change the U.S. political scene and provide a progressive alternative to the Democratic Party.
"It's a bit presumptuous to have that sense that, just because you are a new party, somehow you have got to work to help elect someone other (as) president," Nader said.
The consumer crusader won about 97,000 votes in Florida, enough to easily hand Gore a victory. Bush won Florida by less than 1,000 votes, capturing the state's 25 electoral votes and the election.
Nationwide, Nader won 3 percent of the popular vote, falling short of his goal of winning the 5 percent needed to qualify for federal matching funds in the next presidential election.
But he did breach the 5 percent barrier in 11 states, including Alaska, where he got 10 percent.
Nader acknowledged some differences between the Democrats and Republicans, but said both parties were handing more and more power over to big corporations.
"We know who makes the decisions on the Food and Drug Administration, and on the auto safety agency, Department of Defense, Treasury Department, Commerce, Agriculture," he said.
"It's the 22,000 corporate lobbyists who are swarming over the city and the 9,000 political action committees that are funneling money to both parties."
Asked why he had not breached the 5 percent threshold, Nader said, "Well, challenging the two-party system is like climbing a cliff with a slippery rope."
He said the Democratic and Republican parties controlled access to states' ballots, funds, and the presidential debates, in addition to having vast influence on the media.
But he said his candidacy during the 2000 election had been a first step toward a longer-term political movement.
"People all over the country are now telling us maybe they should have voted for us. But I know they wanted the least of the worst," he said.
He said it was too early to predict whether he would run again in 2004, but he believed the Green Party had sent a powerful message to the Democratic Party that progressive voters could not be ignored.
Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.