Volume 74, Number 27 | November 03 - 09, 2004

‘I’m no scapegoat,’ says Nader at Cooper Union rally

By Sascha Brodsky

Villager photo by Elisabeth Robert

Ralph Nader speaking at Cooper Union’s Great Hall on Nov. 1

The day before the presidential election, Ralph Nader ended his campaign Monday by defying calls to pull out of the contest.

Nader spoke at a rally at Cooper Union to an enthusiastic crowd of hundreds of supporters who showed up despite the impossible odds against the candidate.

Democrats partly blamed Nader for Al Gore’s loss in the last election and some worried that he could again spoil Kerry’s chances. But Nader said that the Democrats have only themselves to blame.

“They’re scapegoating, they’re so decadent they’re looking to blame anyone else instead of their own inability to beat the Republicans,” Nader said.

The heavy odds against Nader made little difference to those who showed up at the rally Monday night.

Roger McRandle, an East Village resident, said he paid the $20 entrance fee to the rally because he was disenchanted with the two major political parties.

“Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are offering the American people what they need,” he said. “What we need is peace, jobs and a future. The major parties are too busy fighting with each other and pandering to special interests to get the job done.”

Joanna Rosenwasser was waving an American flag at Nader and shouting his name as musician Patti Smith played in the background. Smith changed the lyrics of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” to introduce Nader, substituting “He is beautiful” for “I am beautiful.”

“We need a leader who is different to get us out of the morass of the last four years,” Smith said later. “Bush has been a disaster and Kerry just changes his mind every 30 seconds. Nader has a record as an activist that shows he sticks up for the little guy, while all Kerry and Bush understand is how to cozy up to fat cats.”

Nader appeared cheerful and undeterred despite the fact that polls predicted he would only win a tiny percentage of the vote. A Reuters/Zogby poll released Monday showed Nader supported by 1.2 percent of voters.

He urged listeners to vote for him, calling the Democratic and Republican parties “proxies of giant corporations who have turned Washington into corporate-occupied territory controlling every department and agency.”

Echoing the themes that he has expounded throughout his campaign, Nader said that the main political parties have lost sight of their heritage.

“We want people to read the Declaration of Independence,” Nader said. “Half of the charges against King George III could be put toward King George II.”

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