Nader seeks primary challengers to Obama

Sept. 22, 2011 at 5:47 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Consumer advocate Ralph Nader said Thursday he is seeking primary challengers to President Obama before the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

"What we are proposing -- and many people signed this letter -- is for at least six distinguished Americans with proven backgrounds on military foreign policy, labor, poverty, political reform, [the] environment [and] consumer [issues] to form a slate to challenge President Obama and the Democratic Party inside the Democratic Party," Nader told CNN Thursday.

The goal isn't to defeat Obama but to "hold his feet to the fire so he doesn't just run around the country on Air Force One responding to the crazed Republicans, that he talks about the major issue that the majority of this people want really talked about," said Nader, whose presidential bid in 2000 was considered a spoiler when Democrat Vice President Al Gore ran against Republican George W. Bush.

"It's to have him adopt liberal, progressive positions," he said.

As he envisions his proposal, Nader said it would be a "a five- or six-month effort by a half a dozen distinguished Americans" who would ensure issues such as "concentrated power, and abuse and corporate control over our government and job-draining foreign trade agreements and tax reform" are discussed.

Nader said a letter has been sent to about 200 people whose names he declined to reveal because "they will be immediately pounced on by the Democratic National Committee. ... But once they start coming forward, their names will be made public."

A number of subjects -- such as the bank bailouts and extension of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts -- that U.S. voters "think should be discussed [but] ... will be muted and ignored if he perpetuates a one-man Democratic primary. It's not the American way to avoid debates."

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