Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader, making his fourth try for the presidency, this time as an independent, was Thursday's guest. Here are excerpts from his remarks:

On Democratic efforts to keep him off state ballots:

"The Democrats have managed, in their decadence, to focus ... our attention on a problem which doesn't exist in most democracies. How do you surmount what is equivalent to the Jim Crow ballot- access laws that have been written by both parties to keep small parties off the ballot?"

On Democrat John Kerry's prospects for winning:

"The Democrats are probably going to lose this election. And they are going to lose it for reasons unrelated to [my] candidacy. They are going to lose it because John Kerry has surrounded himself with corporate consultants who represent some of the seediest and most craven companies and industries, and they are not letting him think for himself."

On whether history will say his candidacy helped to reelect President Bush:

"The way Bush is leading is way beyond any percentage we have.... Our campaign was a little pony carrying water, offering water, to a panting, large horse in a race with another large horse. And the horse is not drinking. They [Kerry campaign] are not responding."

On the war in Iraq's toll:

"Bush is low-balling fatalities and casualty totals in Iraq. They do not report injuries not in combat, which are very serious. They do not report disease and they do not report mental trauma and damage. Kerry is too busy defending his situation in the Mekong Delta 35 years ago to go after Bush and say, 'You are playing politics with these casualty figures.'"

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