Friday, August 20, 2004

TARGETING RALPH

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
August 20, 2004

A national anti-Ralph Nader, pro-Democrat group is buying ads on New Mexico television stations criticizing the independent presidential candidate for accepting help from Republicans.

David Jones, president of Washington, D.C.-based TheNaderFactor.com, said Thursday that his group is purchasing time for 60-second television ads in New Mexico as well as Wisconsin. The group also will be advertising in newspapers in Santa Fe and Madison, Wis.

Both states are considered “battleground” states for the general election.

“Something strange is happening in American politics,” the commercial says. “George Bush’s rightwing Republicans are now helping Ralph Nader ... Nader working with Republicans. Who knows? Maybe Republicans and Nader know something we don’t.”

The ad mentions New Mexico among seven states where Republicans allegedly are helping Nader.

Jones pointed out that New Mexico and Wisconsin have a Sept. 7 deadline for petitions to get Nader on the general-election ballot. Nader must get more than 14,000 petition signatures to get on the state’s ballot.

The television spots will begin running Tuesday in both states, Jones said. He said he didn’t know how much the group was spending in New Mexico.

“This is one of the strangest alliances in modern politics,” Jones said of Nader and the Republicans who are helping his effort. “In your state, there’s a Republican state senator who is distributing Nader petitions.”

Jones was referring to Sen. Rod Adair of Roswell, who last week attached downloadable Nader petitions to the newsletter he sent to his email list of nearly 24,000.

“We happen to believe that every candidate — right or left of center — should be on the ballot,” Adair wrote last week.

He agreed that having Nader on the ballot would hurt Democrat John Kerry, but argued that other minor parties, such as the Libertarian Party, take votes away from Republicans.

“How pathetic,” said Carol Miller, Nader’s New Mexico coordinator, when told about the anti-Nader spots. “This may help us. People are getting turned off by the Democrats’ efforts to keep Nader off the ballot.”

Jones said his group is made up of veterans from the campaigns of several former Democratic presidential contenders including John Edwards, now the party’s vice-presidential candidate; Howard Dean; and Wesley Clark. Jones said he worked in Missouri Rep. Richard Gephardt’s presidential campaign.

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