Thursday, October 12, 2000

Nader vows an end to two-party debates

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader vowed Wednesday that this year's series of presidential debates would be the last that excludes viable third-party candidates.

        “This is the last hurrah for the crooked debate commission, which is a private company created and controlled by the two (major) parties and funded by tobacco, liquor, auto and other corporate monies,” Mr. Nader said during a campaign stop in Kentucky's largest city.

        “They control the gateway to tens of millions of American voters and they are excluding significant third-party candidates,” he said.

        Neither Mr. Nader nor any other third-party presidential candidate, including Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan, is allowed to participate in the presidential debates.

        Under rules established by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a candidate has to have 15 percent or more in national polls to qualify for the debates.

        Mr. Nader is polling at 4 percent or less in a number of national polls, including those conducted by ABC News, CBS News and USA Today. Mr. Buchanan is at about 1 percent.

        But Mr. Nader said he plans to file a federal lawsuit against the commission this week in either Boston - the site of the first presidential debate - or Washington for being kept out of the Boston debate even though he had a ticket to the event.

        “This is the last time they'll ever have this kind of monopoly,” Mr. Nader said. “That's one of my campaign pledges. Have fun, debate commission, because this is your last monopoly control over tens of millions of American voters.”

        During his stop in Kentucky, Mr. Nader met with reporters and supporters in downtown Louisville then gave a speech to an overflow crowd of more than 400 in a community theater on the city's far east side.


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