WASHINGTON (July 4) - The head of the Democratic National Committee urged Ralph Nader on Sunday to drop his independent bid for the U.S. presidency or at least disavow Republican efforts on his behalf.
"He needs to get out of the race," Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the DNC, said on CBS "Face the Nation."
"He needs to help us not hurt us."
McAuliffe cited efforts by Citizens for a Sound Economy, a group headed by Dick Armey, former Republican leader of the House of Representatives, to help Nader get on the Oregon ballot. This would give him the right in Oregon to take on President Bush and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in the November election.
Recent polls show the liberal Nader drawing less than 4 percent or 5 percent of the vote, presumably at the expense of the Democratic senator from Massachusetts.
The conservative group said it organized a phone bank in the Portland area to get members to attend a Nader event to qualify him in Oregon. On its Web site, the group said it "plans to continue the Nader issue strategy with its activists in key battleground states like Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and elsewhere."
McAuliffe said, "I am publicly today calling on Ralph Nader to disavow any help from any Republican group. They are helping him and the reason they are helping him is because they know they are taking votes away from John Kerry and helping George Bush.
"Ralph Nader doesn't want his legacy to be eight years of George Bush," he added.
Many Democrats say Nader, the Green Party candidate four years ago, took votes from Democrat Al Gore and helped Bush win the White House.
Nader complained last week that the Democratic Party was resorting to "dirty tricks" in challenging the validity of thousands of signatures he has gathered for ballot access.
As the Green Party nominee in 2000, Nader was automatically on 22 state ballots and independently added others, so he was on ballots in a total of 43 states and the District of Columbia.
The Green Party spurned him this year, but Nader did the endorsement of the Reform Party, which is on the ballot in seven states. He has not gotten on any state ballot independently.
07/04/04 12:48 ET
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