For another good interview, see Nader's conversation with Michael Lerner in Tikkun May 2000. Lerner heads the team at Tikkun magazine.

Ralph Nader on Meet the Press, Aug 6, 2000

Tim Russert: Ralph Nader, good morning.

Ralph Nader: Good morning.

Russert: Let me show you some more of our latest NBC polling of our voters across the country. First independent voters, 30 percent say Gore, 43 percent Bush, 3 percent Buchannan, and 11 percent Ralph Nader. In another sample of liberal voters, Gore 61 percent, Bush 15 percent, Buchannan 2 percent, and Ralph Nader 15 percent. You may prevent Al Gore from being president of the United States.
. . .
Nader: Thats up to Al Gore, thats up to George Bush. Nobody owns these votes. I mean, you really have to earn them. And thats what were trying to do, as we campaign in all 50 states.
. . .
Nader: . . . in the area of corporate power, there are very few differences (between democrat and republican presidential candidates). Whether its WTO, NAFTA, whether its repealing restrictive labor laws that keep tens of millions of workers from being able to organize trade unions in places like Wal-Mart, whether its real public financing of public campaigns, whether its cracking down on corporate fraud on consumers, and whether its ending corporate welfare and hundreds of billions of dollars siphoned off from middle class taxpayers in subsidies, handouts. What are the differences? The military budget is increasing. . . .

Russert: But on the issues that Congressman Frank pointed out, lets go through them. Guns. Guns. Hell say that Al Gore is for licensing of all new handguns, George Bush is not. Ralph Nader is closer to Al Gore?

Nader: Yes.

Russert: On the issue of gay rights? Where is Ralph Nader on gay rights? Is he for gay marriage?

Nader: Way ahead of Al Gore.

Russert: Is he for gay marriage?

Nader: Yes, civil union, and equal rights, equal responsibility.

Russert: Gay adoptions?

Nader: Yes.

Russert: So are you closer to Al Gore or George Bush?

Nader: Way ahead of Al Gore. The point is, we have to have a basic policy in this country of equal rights and equal responsibility, regardless of race, gender, or sexual preference.

Russert: So the government should recognize gay marriages.

Nader: Yes. Its really interesting, gay people want to serve in the military, they want to engage in civil unions, or marriage, and they want to adopt kids. If they werent gay, people would say, well, thats really good to do.

Russert: Abortion, closer to Al Gore or George W. Bush? Al Gore says no restrictions on abortion, including so-called partial birth abortion. George W. Bush says, no, we should ban all abortions.

Nader: George Bush doesnt believe it, nor do the Republicans. They would destroy their party.

Russert: Are you closer to Al Gore or George Bush.

Nader: Well I dont like to say Im closer to one or the other. I just dont believe the government should tell a woman that she either has to have a child or doesnt have to have a child. Weve seen both in the world.

Russert: But if Ralph Nader wakes up the day after the election, and George Bush is elected president of the United States, and Al Gore lost by just a few points, and Ralph Nader gets six or seven points. And people say, Ralph Nader, you elected a Republican President of the United States. What do you say to yourself?

Nader: If thats the premise, then I have helped Dick Gephart become Speaker of the House, and the Democrats will control the House. And secondly, I will have helped expand a significant third party, the Green party, to tell the Democrats and the Republicans that never again will they tell the American people, who are disgusted with both parties, that they have nowhere to go. And thats going to improve both parties, or its going to begin to replace both parties. Thats a very important service, especially to the 51 percent of Americans who dont even vote in Presidential elections. We really want to get those nonvoters on our side.

Russert: So you want to send a wake up call to the Democratic party?

Nader: And the Republican party. Right. As long as they can control the situation, control who gets on the debates, stop same day registration, stop public financing of public campaigns, theyre going to turn off more people, and their going to become more look alike parties on more and more major issues.

Russert: You were one of the few liberals to say that you would have voted to impeach and convict Bill Clinton. Why?

Nader: Well, first, he disgraced the office, dragged the country through it for a year. He could have owned up to it. He stole a year of journalism from the American people. Think of all the stories about things going on in this country that never made it on the news. And then he lied about it! I mean whats the standard. . .

Russert: Do you think hell be disbarred?

Nader: I think theres a good chance of that, yeah.
. . .

Russert: Missile Defense System. Should President Clinton go forward with that?

Nader: It doesnt work physically, quite apart from it stimulating an arms race. The American Physics Society, made up of physicists, many of whom consult with the Pentagon have said it wont work. . .

Russert: Environmental issues. Al Gore has written about them, is passionate about them. Would a President Gore not be better on those issues than President Bush.

Nader: Yeah, he probably would be better. But he wouldnt be much better. He would talk a lot better then Governor Bush. But what has Gore and Clinton done on solar energy? Theyve supported subsidies to fossil fuels and nuclear. They havent really pushed the transformation of our county toward energy independence. Were importing more oil than ever before. They havent spoken out on industrial hemp, let the farmers grow it. That could replace a lot of fuel. . . They have done very little on pesticides. And above all, theyve given the auto companies a free ride. Eight years without any increased fuel efficiency standards. Reagan-Bush couldnt have done worse than that.

Russert: What do you think is the biggest issue concerning our country?

Nader: The democracy gap. Too much power, too much wealth in too few hands. Mostly global corporate hands, over our media, over our government, over our workplace-- labor has never been weaker in terms of bargaining power. Over our marketplace. I mean just look at the problems consumers have had. You sign on the dotted line when you buy insurance or deal with an HMO. . . Very little bargaining power.

Russert: Ralph Nader, we have to leave it there. We thank you for joining us, and well be watching.

Nader: Thank you.

Russert: Coming up next, former professional wrestler turned Minnesota governor, Jesse Ventura of the Independence Party. . .

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