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Special Event

Nader Holds Campaign Rally in Madison, Wisconsin

Aired November 1, 2000 - 1:46 p.m. ET


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Ralph Nader has just been introduced. He's talking to a crowd of about 500 supporter in Madison, Wisconsin. We'll listen in for a time.


RALPH NADER, GREEN PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Al Gore thinks he's entitled to your votes. Al Gore thinks that we are suppose to be helping him get elected. I have got news for Al Gore, if he can't beat the bumbling Texas governor with that terrible record, he ought to go back to Tennessee to his tobacco farm.

It's Al Gore who ought to stay out of Wisconsin because he can't face the dairy farmers in Wisconsin...


... who are going out of business, three dairy farmers a day in Wisconsin. It was Al Gore who sided with Monsanto and BGH.


It was Al Gore and Bill Clinton who refused to allow dairies to advertise that they were BGH-free.


And it was Al Gore and Bill Clinton who sided against 90 percent of the American people who in poll after poll demand that bio- engineered food be labeled in the supermarkets.


Well, let's not exaggerate the significance of George Bush or Al Gore.

The real decision-makers in Washington are not the Republican and Democratic Parties. They're just competing over who's going to go to the White House so they can receive the marching orders from their corporate paymasters.


It's the permanent corporate government in Washington that controls those two parties and that controls one department after another department after another federal agencies.

There are 22,000 corporate lobbyists working full-time, swarming over Washington to hijack our government to the highest business bidders. They are 9,000 political action committees, corporate funded, demanding that the politicians do what they're paid to do.

Always, when you're asked about the differences between the Republican and Democrats, you can just say this: One, they're not in charge in Washington. It's DuPont, it's Exxon, it's Monsanto, it's Novardis, it's Citibank, it's Prudential, it's Metropolitan. It's these companies that basically have hijacked our democracy.

Big business is on a collision course with our democracy, and our democracy's loosing, and we've got to fight back and take it under our control.


Every day in every way, these giant corporations that have no allegiance to any country or community around the world, other than to control them, these giant corporations are collapsing our democracy, hijacking our government while they deepen their hooks into a corrupt Republican and Democratic Parties.

That's what's going on. That's the central issue. If anybody asks you, "Well, after election day would you be sorry if George W. Bush was elected?" Here's my answer: I'll be very sorry if either of them are elected...


... because that would mean that the permanent corporate government would continue to become more powerful in Washington. It would continue to be the paymaster and give the marching orders to both parties at the expense of the American people. That's what electing either George Bush or Al Gore will mean to the American people.

It is time, it is way passed time for a long-range political reform movement in this country to sweep this country until it reaches Washington to make it a government of, by and for the people, not a government of big business by big business and for big business.


Remember, both Gore and Bush cannot talk about getting dirty money out of politics because they're taking money from those same companies that are pouring that dirty money into politics.

Both Gore and Bush cannot talk about universal health care now, 50 years after President Truman proposed it to a rebellious Congress. They can't talk about that because the HMOs, the drug companies and the health insurance giants are pouring money into both Democrat and Republican campaigns. They cannot.

Neither can Bush and Gore talk about providing for the American workers a living wage; 47 million workers in this country work full time, one out of every three workers, and they don't earn a living wage. They're making $5.15 or $6 or $7 or $8 or $9 an hour. That is impermissible in a booming economy where the top 1 percent...


... where the top 1 percent of the richest people in this country have a net worth equal to the bottom 95 percent of the American people combined; where Bill Gates, on January 2000, had net wealth equal to the combined net wealth of the bottom 120 million Americans, 40 percent of the population, full of workers who work year after year, decade after decade, and are essentially broke, working and living from paycheck to paycheck. And if they're really poor in the ghettos working from payday loan to payday loan at atrocious 100, 200, 300 percent interest rates on the rollover.

Both Al Gore and George W. Bush agree to keep letting corporations build more prisons.

Both Al Gore and George W. Bush favor the death penalty, but not the corporate death penalty.

They don't say we're pulling the charter from corporations that are criminal recidivists. They favor a system that discriminates against people accused of homicide who cannot afford to have lawyers of any competence to represent them.

Not that the death penalty has ever been shown to deter anything -- anything, and they're the same on that page. Even the Republican governor of Illinois wants a moratorium on the death penalty, because 11 death row inmates heading for execution were cleared by subsequent evidence, cleared as being innocent. They were almost executed. And Al Gore can't even be like the governor -- Republican governor of Illinois, calling for a moratorium.


Both agree on no national health insurance, both agree on expanding the military budget 10 years after the demise of the Soviet Union. In fact, Al Gore wants to add more to the military budget than George W. Bush, more of these gold-plated weapon systems that retired admirals and generals are now speaking up against -- the F-22, the Osprey aircraft, the decoyable, boondoggle know as missile defense, the B-2 bombers, the Joint Strike fighters. For heaven's sake, when are we going to have a politics in this country that wages peace, that anticipates conflict?


And I say to you...


... a foreign policy that supports the workers and peasants in the world for a change, instead of dictatorships and oligarchs with your tax money. (APPLAUSE)

You know, you can give every student that goes -- who goes to a public university or a public college free tuition for half, for half of what we are paying every year, 55 years after World War II, to keep our troops in Western Europe and East Asia defending prosperous allies who are perfectly capable of defending themselves against nonexistent enemies at $70 billion a year.


No wonder that General Douglas MacArthur, in 1957, warned about our government exaggerating foreign threats in order to increase the military budget, or Dwight D. Eisenhower warning, in 1960, about the encroachment of the military-industrial complex. We need those billions of dollars back in our communities and homes for our schools, our clinics, our public transit system, our drinking water system, our libraries. And how about a little bit for our culture?


Listen to this: Both Al Gore and George W. Bush are on the same page, tearing away the safety net for poor women and their children.

That's called phony welfare reform and they're both on the same page on that one.

They're both on the same page on letting small farmers who work from dawn to dusk, get overrun by these giant avaricious, agro- business corporations like Cargo and ADM and IBP and ConAgra. We now have more Americans in prisons than farmers on the land.

And let me tell you, for people in the cities and suburbs, they better be more alert to what's going on in rural America, what's going on in the small farm economy. If we lose that principle heritage in our country to industrial agricultural, factory farms, market agricultural replaced by contract agricultural reducing what few farmers are left to the level of peasants, it won't be just rural America that will suffer, it will be people in the cities and suburbs throughout the United States.


Both Al Gore and George W. Bush want to keep growing the corporate welfare budget, hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies, handouts, giveaways and bail-outs for the banks and other corporations that are mismanaged and speculative and instead of going bankrupt, they go to Washington for a handout. Only small businesses are allowed to go bankrupt in this country. If you're big enough, you go to Washington as a corporation and get bailed out. Both Bush and Gore are the same on that. Both Bush and Gore are giving a free hand to the most tumultuous industry in the history of the world that wants to convert the genetic inheritance of our planet into their 17-year monopoly patents.

I speak of the biotechnology company that doesn't have any regulation worthy of the name and no framework to hold it accountable as a license and get patents to your genes and the genes of flora and fauna around the world.

Both Al Gore and George W. Bush are not -- are not against nuclear power. They want more nuclear power plants. Al Gore and Bill Clinton want nuclear power plants in order to get credits under the Kyoto agreement. Can you imagine that? That's like between Scylla and Charybdis.

Both Al Gore and George W. Bush in practice believe in lax enforcement on corporate crime, fraud and abuse. Have you ever heard Al Gore speak out against corporate crime? Have you ever heard Al Gore say he's going to be tough on corporate crime, that he's going to unleash prosecutors against corporate criminals whose abuses are documented in the mainstream press regularly like the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times and The Washington Post and AP and "60 Minutes" and "20/20"?

The mainstream press documents corporate crime. The two parties don't do anything about it.

Both Al Gore and George W. Bush refuse to take a stand to repeal the notorious Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, the chokehold on tens of millions of American workers who are unable to form trade unions in places like Wal-Mart and McDonald's in order to get a decent living wage.

Imagine, after all these similarities, they're taking the same money and corrupting all their elections from the same business interests. They're morphing into one another, becoming more and more look-alike, because they're taking money from the same business interests.

And then they're squeezing out the citizen groups in Washington, those environmental, women's rights, pro-consumer, pro-labor, all those groups who are fighting for a better society, the peace groups. They are being crowded out. They can't get anything done anymore because people cannot go to some of the Democratic senators of the past, because they're not there any more.

They're replace by corporate senators like Joe Lieberman, the quintessential corporate senator who's never met a weapon system he doesn't like...

ALLEN: Ralph Nader, in front of about 500 supporters in Madison, Wisconsin, taking shots at Washington every way he can, calling it a permanent corporate government. And taking shots equally at Al Gore and George Bush and their respective parties.

Ralph Nader getting about 4 percent in national polls, but getting a few more percentage points in historically Democratic states. That doesn't make the Al Gore campaign very happy. But Ralph Nader having a loud voice there today and staying in there.



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