Ralph Nader is entering the presidential race as an independent, he announced Sunday (February 24), saying it is time for a "Jeffersonian revolution," according to CNN. Nader made his announcement on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Nader, a consumer advocate, said he's a viable candidate "because I got things done," citing his 40-year record of bringing about stronger protection for food and water and fighting corporate control over government.
"In the last few years, big money and the closing down of Washington against citizen groups prevent us from trying to improve our country. And I want everybody to have the right and opportunity to improve their country," he told reporters after his appearance on "Meet the Press," according to CNN.
The announcement kicks off Nader's fourth consecutive presidential campaign — his fifth, including his 1992 write-in campaign.
"If the Democrats can't landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form," Nader said, according to The Washington Post. "You think the American people are going to vote for a pro-war John McCain who almost gives an indication he's the candidate for perpetual war?"
Nader said Thomas Jefferson believed that "when you lose your government, you've got to go into the electoral arena," according to CNN. "A Jeffersonian revolution is needed in this country," he added.
Nader was lambasted in 2000 by people who alleged that his campaign drained support from Democrats and thus helped George Bush win the presidency in that contested election. He ran as a Green Party candidate and garnered 2.7 percent of the national vote, according to The New York Times. His 2004 campaign made less of an impact.
The two Democratic front-runners responded quickly to news of Nader's candidacy on Sunday.
"He thought that there was no difference between Al Gore and George Bush and, eight years later, I think people realize that Ralph did not know what he was talking about," Senator Barack Obama said a town-hall meeting Sunday, according to CNN.
Senator Hillary Clinton called Nader's announcement "really unfortunate. I remember when he did this before, it didn't turn out too well for anyone, especially our country," she said, according to The New York Times. "I hope it's kind of just a passing fancy that people won't take too seriously."
"This time I hope it doesn't hurt anyone," she said, according to CNN. "I can't think of anybody that would vote for Senator McCain who would vote for Ralph Nader. Obviously, it is not helpful to whoever our Democratic nominee is. But, you know, it is a free country."
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