February 4, 2007 / 7:03 PM / in 12 years

Nader leaves '08 door open, slams Hillary

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader on Sunday left the door open for another possible White House bid in 2008 and criticized Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton as “a panderer and a flatterer.”

Ralph Nader arrives for Time's celebration of the magazines's '100 Most Influential People' in New York May 8, 2006 file photo. Nader on Sunday left the door open for another possible White House bid in 2008 and criticized Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton as "a panderer and a flatterer." REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Asked on CNN’s Late Edition news program if he would run in 2008, the lawyer and consumer activist said, “It’s really too early to say. ... I’ll consider it later in the year.”

Nader, 72, said he did not plan to vote for Clinton, a Democratic senator from New York and former first lady.

“I don’t think she has the fortitude. Actually she’s really a panderer and a flatterer. As she goes around the country, you’ll see more of that,” Nader said.

On whether he would be encouraged to run if Clinton gets the Democratic nomination, Nader said, “It would make it more important that that be the case.”

He added that Clinton may face a challenge in her own state from wealthy Republican New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“I think her main problem may well be right in New York City, Michael Bloomberg. They’re talking in the Bloomberg camp of a possible run. I’m saying he’ll give more diversity, for sure, and he’ll focus on urban problems. But I might say, he’s got the money to do it,” Nader said.

Democratic candidates Nader likes include former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, he said.

“These people have records, not just rhetoric,” he said.

He also criticized focusing on campaign fund-raising to judge candidates’ prospects. “The press and the polls are gravitating on cash-register politics ... who’s going to raise the $100 (million) or $200 million, McCain or Obama or Hillary. That’s very unhealthy. That’s rancid politics,” he said.

Nader ran for president as an independent in 2004 and as the Green Party candidate in 2000, when some Democrats said he siphoned away votes from former Democratic Vice President Al Gore, helping Republican George W. Bush to win.

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