(Adds interview with Nader)
By Donna Smith
WASHINGTON Feb 24 Consumer advocate Ralph
Nader, blamed by many Democrats for their loss of the White
House in the 2000 election, said on Sunday he is launching
another independent campaign for the White House.
Nader, who will turn 74 this week, announced his longshot
presidential bid on NBC's "Meet the Press" saying that neither
the Democrats nor the Republicans were addressing problems
Nader called Washington "corporate occupied territory" that
turns the government against the interests of the people. "In
that context, I have decided to run for president," he said.
Democrats said they do not expect Nader, who also ran as an
independent in 2004, to have much of an impact.
"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," Virginia
Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine said on "Fox News Sunday."
In an interview with Reuters, Nader said he will push the
candidates on a number of issues including health care and
changing the tax system to shift the burden away from wage
earners and put it on things like pollution, tobacco and "Wall
Street speculation" and reduce taxes on wages.
Nader dismissed Democratic criticism of his latest bid for
the White House.
"For anybody who thinks that the third try is something
that should be demeaned, it represents persistence, it
represents never giving up the struggle for justice," Nader
said. "The forces of injustice never take a holiday."
Nader ran for president in 2000, when he got about 2.7
percent of the national vote as the Green Party candidate. Many
Democrats blamed Nader for draining votes from Democrat Al Gore
and tipping the election in favor of Republican George W. Bush.
He also ran as an independent in 2004, but got only a tiny
fraction of the vote.
Nader said he expects to do better this time and will work
to get his name on the ballot in all 50 states.
Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, appearing on
CNN's "Late Edition," said he thought Nader could pull votes
away from the Democratic nominee.
"Naturally Republicans would welcome his entry into the race
and hope that maybe a few more will join in," Huckabee said.
Democratic candidates Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack
Obama criticized the independent candidate.
"That's really unfortunate. I remember when he did this
before, it didn't turn out to well, for anyone, especially our
country," she said. "I hope it's kind of a just a passing fancy
that people won't take too seriously."
Obama, Clinton's rival for the Democratic presidential
nomination, was asked on Saturday about a Nader candidacy. "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,"
(Additional reporting by Claudia Parsons, Jeff Mason and
Nancy Waitz; Editing by David Wiessler)
(To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters
"Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at