Nader Urged To Yield Field to Gore
By Eun-Kyung Kim, Associated Press,
2 November 2000
WASHINGTON (AP) - Friends are now foes. Environmentalists,
organized labor, gays and abortion-rights groups -
Democrats who once admired Ralph Nader's
tenacity as a consumer crusader - are now dedicated to
from hurting Al Gore.
Attacks against the Green Party presidential candidate
are mounting from those once closely aligned
with his progressive views but now angered by his refusal
to step aside in closely contested states where
a vote for Nader could mean a victory for Republican
George W. Bush.
"I have seen acts of betrayal I just can't
believe," Nader said Wednesday in Madison, Wis.
He admonished the Democratic "dirty tricks" used
to undermine his candidacy, saying they were led
by "desperate surrogates of the Gore campaign."
Among those growing list of agents: The Sierra Club, The
League of Conservation Voters, United
Steelworkers of America, The National Abortion and
Reproductive Rights Action League, AFSCME,
the National Organization for Women, and the Human Rights
Campaign. The groups join at least 20
Democratic senators and congressmen, and other
progressives, who have been stumping for Gore.
The cross talk has grown bitter, mainly over Nader's
insistence that there's no major difference
between the major-party candidates, Bush and Gore.
"That's absurd. Ludicrous," said Ken Cook,
president of the Environmental Working Group, a
research and advocacy organization.
Cook said he publicly and repeatedly has criticized
President Clinton and Vice
President Gore on numerous issues "and they deserved
it." But a Bush administration would bring
"excruciating consequences" for the public
interest community, he said in a letter to Nader.
"Virtually everything the environmental community has
achieved over the past thirty years could be
at stake," Cook wrote.
Nader was urged to drop out of the race in another letter
sent Wednesday by George Becker, president
of the United Steelworkers of America.
While referring to themselves as "steadfast
allies," Becker warned Nader against continuing to claim
few differences between Bush and Gore.
Any advances made in workers rights, achieving a living
wage or eliminating corporate influence in
government would be reversed if Bush wins the election,
"It would be tragically ironic if your dedication to
principle should ultimately result in the further
domination of our political process by the very forces of
corporate greed that we have both worked so
hard to restrain," he said.
Women's groups also are unhappy with Nader, a longtime
supporter of abortion rights. At a news
conference Wednesday, female Democratic lawmakers and
abortion rights activists criticized him for
implying over the weekend that a Supreme Court reversal
of its landmark abortion ruling might not
mean forfeiting a woman's right to choose.
"Even if Roe v. Wade is reversed, that doesn't end
it," he said on ABC's "This Week." "It just reverts it
back to the states."
Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., called the comment "reckless
and irresponsible," arguing that legislators
and governors in 16 states are "chomping at the bit
to outlaw abortion, to enact more restrictions, or
make access even less private and more dangerous."
And Planned Parenthood director Gloria Feldt said Nader
"just doesn't seem to care" about women's
But Nader defended his record on abortion rights as
better than many Democrats, who helped confirm
the nominations of Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia
and Clarence Thomas, considered the two
staunchest conservatives on the bench.
"It's the Democrats that sent Scalia and Thomas to
the Supreme Court, and in a total reversal of the
historical record, NARAL tried to indicate that I want
more Scalias and Thomases on the Supreme
Court," Nader said.
Overall, Nader remains dismissive - and sometimes amused
- by the appeals for him to drop out. Even
pleas by former colleagues, including a dozen so-called
Nader's Raiders for Gore, fail to sway him. And
he remains defiant to calls urging him to back Gore.
In Wisconsin, he allowed that he believes the vice
president is a bit better than Bush - Nader offered
grades of D-minus to Bush and D-plus to Gore.
If Gore loses, Nader said, "it would be clear he beat