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Nader throws support to Edwards

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1207/7647.html Nader throws support to Edwards By: David Paul Kuhn Dec 31, 2007 08:18 PM EST MUSCATINE, Iowa — Ralph
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 2007
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      http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1207/7647.html

      Nader throws support to Edwards

      By: David Paul Kuhn
      Dec 31, 2007 08:18 PM EST

      MUSCATINE, Iowa — Ralph Nader unleashed on Hillary
      Rodham Clinton Monday - criticizing her for being soft
      on defense spending and a chum of big business - and
      expressed his strong support for John Edwards.

      In an 11th hour effort to encourage liberal Iowans to
      "recognize" Edwards by "giving him a victory," the
      activist and former presidential contender said in an
      interview that Clinton will "pander to corporate
      interest groups" if elected.

      Nader specifically accused Clinton of failing to
      challenge military spending because "she is a woman
      who doesn't want to be labeled as soft on defense and
      she doesn't want to be shown as taking on big
      business."

      As Clinton campaigned through a snowstorm in southeast
      Iowa, pledging to "bring about the changes we need,"
      Nader accused the Democratic senator from New York of
      using empty rhetoric.

      "[Clinton] has not led the way against the avalanche
      of military contracting, corporate crime, fraud and
      abuse," he said. "We want to inform the people of Iowa
      about Hillary Clinton because all the focus is on, do
      they have the experience and do they have the personal
      charisma, and can they cross the aisle" Nader said.

      "The issue is corporate power and who controls our
      political system and it's not who has experience for
      six years or two years," he said, alluding to an
      ongoing debate over experience between Clinton and
      freshman Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

      "She has experience in the Senate, and what that
      experience has meant is going soft on cracking down on
      corporate crime, fraud, and abuse, soft on cutting
      tens of millions in corporate subsidies," he
      continued.

      The Clinton campaign declined to comment on Nader's
      criticism.

      Nader, a four-time presidential candidate, called
      Edwards a Democratic "glimmer of hope." He has long
      criticized Democrats as indistinguishable from
      Republicans, chiding both parties as slaves to
      corporate financing and interests.

      It was Nader who famously - or infamously to many
      Democrats - siphoned off enough liberal votes from Al
      Gore in 2000 to hand New Hampshire and Florida, and as
      a result, the presidency, to George W. Bush. Since
      2004, however, Nader has been increasingly
      controversial within the political left. He was booed
      at a national conference of progressives earlier this
      year.

      But he remains a popular figure among some liberals.
      Activists are particularly influential in the Iowa
      caucuses, if only because participation asks hours of
      voters' time. Only a small portion of Iowa Democrats
      caucused in 2004.

      Clinton is currently locked in a heated three-way race
      with Obama and Edwards in Iowa, the first contest of
      the presidential primaries.

      On Monday, Nader also issued a public statement
      criticizing Clinton as a "corporate Democrat," echoing
      the exact words Edwards uses to challenge Clinton.
      Nader said he has watched Edwards from afar and sees
      his more pugilistic brand of populism as a "glimmer of
      hope."

      "It's the only time I've heard a Democrat talk that
      way in a long time," Nader said, acknowledging what
      was, for him, a rare moment of praise for a Democratic
      leader.

      "Iowa should decide which candidate stands for us," he
      added. "Edwards is at least highlighting day after day
      that the issue is who controls our country, big
      business or the people."
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