Nader throws support to Edwards
Nader throws support to Edwards
By: David Paul Kuhn
Dec 31, 2007 08:18 PM EST
MUSCATINE, Iowa â 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
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
The Clinton campaign declined to comment on Nader's
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
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
"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
"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."