Campaign Insider. The activist and perennial candidate is spoiling for a fight
Newly announced presidential candidate Ralph Nader spoke with TIME's Jay Newton-Small about his 2008 bid. Read the full interview at time.com/nader
Q. Are you worried about being a spoiler? A. Now wait a minute. That is a politically bigoted word. The two parties have spoiled this country. They've spoiled the electoral process--made it very difficult for candidates who can't raise the cash to move in and sustain themselves. They've spoiled our government. They're the spoilers.
Q. But does your candidacy make it more difficult for the Democrats to win the White House? A. No, I think they're going to win big. John McCain, if he is the nominee, given his statements and his position on Iraq, seems to be the candidate of permanent war and intervention. That is just not the popular position today. If he continues with that, then he won't be able to keep his electoral position at all.
Q. What issues are being ignored in this campaign? A. The whole idea of freedom, diversity and choice inside the electoral arena is a major issue, especially as the overwhelming power of commercial money in our elections has drawn the two parties into more and more of a convergence on corporate-power issues. One metaphor for [my] campaign could be the tugboat campaign, pushing candidates toward the harbor of the people and away from the harbor of giant corporations.
The recent brouhaha over a picture of Barack Obama wearing traditional garb during a trip to Kenya inspired a look back at other politicians and their ceremonial attire.
DEBATE REPORT CARD
The Final Showdown? Mark Halperin grades the Feb. 26 Democratic debate--the 20th and last one before the critical Ohio and Texas contests on March 4.
HILLARY CLINTON: B- A performance that would have been adequate were she not struggling to stay in the game. Overall, Clinton veered between strong and effective, shrill and affronted
BARACK OBAMA B+ Avoided lofty rhetoric and focused on presenting himself as deliberative and substantive. Obama more than survived (and even thrived at times) in what could be his final debate with Clinton
Wooing Jews Barack Obama met recently with about 100 Jewish activists to assuage doubts about his commitment to Israel (during the Feb. 26 debate, he said Israel's "security is sacrosanct"), his faith (in the face of false rumors that he's Muslim) and his longtime pastor (who has praised Louis Farrakhan). Several Jewish leaders have defended Obama against the Islam rumors. Hillary Clinton won among Jewish voters in New York and Maryland, but Obama won Jews in Connecticut and California. Is the wooing working? Exit polls in Texas and Ohio on March 4 should tell which candidate is the chosen people's choice.
For daily God-o-Meter readings covering all the presidential candidates, visit beliefnet.com
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Politics up to the minute Mark Halperin reports from the campaign every day on thepage.time.com