Sam Hananel, Associated Press, October 02, 2003
WASHINGTON - Consumer activist Ralph Nader on Thursday challenged President Bush to state whether he agrees with the official platform of the Texas Republican Party, a document Nader called the most radically conservative major party platform he's ever seen.
The platform supports, among other things, U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations, retaking control of the Panama Canal, repeal of the federal minimum wage law, jury nullification and abolition of the U.S. Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service.
Nader said he wants to highlight a split between the Republican Party's "corporate-dominant wing and its conservative libertarian wing" and he called on Bush, a former Texas governor, to either agree with or repudiate the platform's positions.
"I call on President George W. Bush, as the leader of his Republican Party, to engage in truth-in-advertising regarding the Texas state Republican Party platform and let the voters of this country know where he and his fellow elected Texas Republicans stand," Nader wrote in a letter addressed to Bush that he showed reporters at a Washington news conference.
Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign, declined to comment on Nader's challenge.
A former presidential candidate on the Green Party ticket, Nader said he will wait until the end of the year to decide whether to make another run for the White House. He said the decision will depend, in part, on how Democratic and Republican leaders respond to a detailed agenda he plans to send national party officials later this month.
"The highest priority is to defeat President George W. Bush and his administration, which is running this country into the ground," he said.
The agenda will encourage the parties to address issues important to Nader's progressive supporters, such as the need for universal health insurance, a more progressive wage policy and a more aggressive crackdown on corporate fraud and abuse.
Nader won about 3 percent of the vote as the Green Party's candidate in 2000, but many voters blamed him for siphoning off votes from Democrat Al Gore, paving the way for Bush's razor-thin victory.
Nader said such criticism is not a factor in his decision on whether to run again. He remains adamant in denying he cost the Democrats the election, saying his campaign brought out many new voters and citing studies showing 25 percent of his supporters would have backed Bush.
This year, Nader has been an active supporter of Democratic Presidential hopeful Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, his longtime friend and political soul mate, who is considered a long shot to win his party's nomination.