Debate Between Howard Dean and Ralph Nader

National Press Club, July 9, 2004

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Author Margot Adler: This is "Justice Talking" from NPR.

Adler: I'm Margot Adler. We're coming to you from the Annenberg Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

We have a special edition-- a debate between two of the country's political mavericks, Howard Dean and Ralph Nader. We're looking forward to a frank conversation about third parties in American politics, and their impact on the 2004 Presidential election. Please join me in welcoming former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, and independent Presidential candidate Ralph Nader to NPR's "Justice Talking".


Adler: Governor Dean and Ralph Nader, as you'll notice, we don't have official clocks timing your responses, because this isn't a presidential debate. We'd like to keep it informal. I just ask that you keep your responses as brief as you can, and if you go on, I will interrupt you and ask you to stop.

Before we get going, we want to acknowledge the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands for making this debate possible. Thanks, and let's get going.

Historically, third parties have given us such reforms as the abolition of slavery, women's right to vote, the minimum wage. Governor Dean, do you believe that there is a value in third parties? Without third parties, don't we close ourselves off from change, innovation, and new directions?

Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean: I absolutely believe that. I think third parties have proved to be exceptionally helpful in changing the body politic in this country. Because what happens is, they rarely succeed-- the only one that I can think of that succeeded in the history of the country was Abraham Lincoln, who was a third party candidate of the Republican Party when it was a third party-- and it's very important. However, this year we're threatened with an extraordinary emergency. We have the most far-right President probably in the history of the country. We have sent our troops to fight and die in a war in a foreign country, without being told the truth about why they're there. We're running half-trillion-dollar deficits year after year after year. The extraordinary attack on the environment is something that I've never seen in my lifetime. And my argument is that we ought to unite behind a Democratic candidate who is progressive-- we can argue about how progressive-- but clearly progressive. Clearly he stands for a progressive income tax, clearly he stands for attacking some of the corporate privileges that have been granted under this Administration.

My argument simply is: 'when the house is on fire it's not the time to fix the furniture.'

Adler: Mr. Nader, let's talk practical politics here for a minute. Many have suggested that you would have reached a wider audience with your message, and would have had a stronger effect on policy, if you had run in the Democratic primary, rather than as a third party candidate. So what advantages do you get from running outside the system, instead of within it, and why did you make that choice?

Ralph Nader, consumer activist and Presidential candidate: It's called freedom. Freedom of conscience, freedom to authentically communicate the necessities of the American people without the trappings of special interest commercial cash.

All kinds of lobbyists hover and are inside the two major parties, whose record has been dismal. They have gone along with big business, which is the real power in this country, to say 'no' to universal health care, to say 'no' to living wage for families, to say 'no' for a fair tax system, to say 'no' to get out of the war in Iraq (Howard Dean was an exception.)... To say 'no' for addressing the major issue in this country, which is the domination of our country by a concentration of greed and power in the hands of multinational corporations that have no allegiance to our country, other than to control it, or abandon it as they see fit.

How can that, plus really wanting to do something about poverty and the criminal injustice system and the failed war on drugs-- how can all that fit inside a Democratic party that has ignored, year after year, these important changes for a more just and prosperous America?

Adler: In the year 2000, a majority of Americans chose Al Gore to be their President, but Gore lost the electoral college vote. Some people say he actually won that vote, too, but lost the election in the Supreme Court. In any case, here's how you, Mr. Nader, analyzed your role in the 2000 election:

[Tape of Nader:] Well, in the year 2000 the Democratic pollsters, exit polls had me in the following categories: 25% of my vote would have gone to Bush, 38% would have gone to Gore, and the rest would not have voted. And now, I think it'll be switched. I think now that it'll be far more votes coming from independents and Republicans. [End of tape]

Adler: Mr. Nader, do you still believe that more Republicans will defect to you than Democrats? And how can your campaign bring Republicans into your fold if your running mate, Peter Camejo, is the former Socialist Workers' Party candidate?

Nader: First of all, he's a successful leader of the socially responsible investment movement, and a successful investment advisor without shedding any of his conscientious defense of minorities in this country.

Second, let me put it this way-- does anybody doubt that the Nader/Camejo ticket is being abandoned in droves by liberal Democrats? So obviously, since the polls are about-- a little bit ahead now than they were in 2000 for us, other people are filling in the breach. And when you look at conservatives and Republicans who are increasingly upset with gener-- President Bush about huge deficits, their dollars going to corporate subsidies and other corporate welfare, the big-government "Patriot Act" which they hate, the sovereignty-destroying impact of the WTO and NAFTA, and the softness on corporate crime-- they lose their 401Ks to corporate crime as well; and the federal regulation of local education districts, and, and-- and-- You've gotta believe that out of 50 million of these people, we're gonna draw away a significant number who will either stay home, because we're taking the Bush Administration apart in ways that the Democrats are afraid to, or too indentured to, or they'll vote for the independent candidacy of Nader/Camejo; Peter Camejo being the first Latino vice-presidential candidate in modern American history.

Adler: Governor Dean, here is Mark Camlighter, co-spokesperson of Florida's Green Party.

[Tape of Camlighter] Nobody mentions that 250,000 Democrats voted for Bush in the 2000 election. It's easy-- people want to find a scapegoat-- and the bottom of it all is this: they don't believe that third parties should be involved in politics. [End of tape]

Adler: Governor Dean, is Mr. Nader responsible for the election of President George Bush?

Dean: No--

Adler: -- And will he be a factor this time around?

Dean: I think that what's gone is gone, what's done is done. I didn't begrudge Ralph Nader running in 2004-- I mean 2000-- because he had a role to play, and nobody knew the election was gonna be this close, and nobody knew how dreadful George Bush was gonna be as a President. But Ralph, I think you're being disingenuous about your candidacy this year, and let me tell you why.

You have-- 46% of all your signatures to get you on the Arizona ballot turned out to be Republican supporters. You accepted the support of a right-wing fanatic Republican group that's anti-gay, in order to help you get on the ballot in Oregon. You have accepted-- one out of every thousand dollar-- ten $1000-dollar checks that you've accepted, have been from people who've already given money to Bush/Cheney. Your own organizers said in Virginia that you go to tractor pulls to try to get the signatures, 'cause they think you're doing Bush a favor. This is not gonna help the progressive cause in America.

And the thing that upsets me so much about this is, you have the right to run, you can get in bed with whoever you want to. But don't call the Democratic Party "full of corporate interests". They have their problems, we all have ours, none of us are pure. And this campaign of yours is far from pure if you are willing to accept the help of a right-wing anti-gay group to get you on the ballot, you need to repudiate those people, and as your own running-mate says, send back those Republican checks.

Nader: You really are engaging--

[A scattering of applause interrupts him]

Adler: Before-- before-- just a second before Ralph Nader replies again, let's try not to have too much applause.

Nader: You're really being very inaccurate, apart from being unfair. We've not accepted the support of any anti-gay groups. We have not accepted, as fulsomely the support of Republican dollars the way the Democrats have. The Democrat fat cats, Republican fat cats pour millions into each others' parties to hedge their bets. And, I think the issue here is the corporate government, let's not be distracted by the two parties that are simply proxies. "We don't wanna settle for the lesser of two evils in our country. We don't wanna have another special interest clone in Washington. We don't wanna have another Washington insider who stri-- who shifts back and forth with every poll. And we don't wanna have an insensitivity for the plight of workers-- American workers in this country, who have lost their manufacturing jobs."

All those quotes come from Howard Dean the First, against John Kerry in the primary campaign. What you're hearing now is Howard Dean the Second, in a desperate attempt to smear our campaign, which is struggling to get on the ballot against the massive anti-civil-liberties obstruction of the Democratic Party, which is the one that's really interfering with our campaign, not the press releases by Democrat-- Republicans, who haven't produced any results.

[A scattering of applause]

Dean: That is also more disingenuous nonsense. The truth is, that you told the people of this country that you were gonna use volunteer help to get on the ballot in Arizona. You hired out that help, and that's why they made so many mistakes. The Public Citizen, which you founded, earlier said this year that John Kerry ranks at the top of Senators in standing up against political action committee money, which he has never accepted in his career, and lobbyist money. Not only has Kerry refused, historically, to take PAC money, but his record shows that he's been a leader for more than a decade in full reform of campaign financing, advocating for clean public money, not only for Presidential but also for Congressional campaigns--

[Nader tries to interrupt, Adler stops him]

Dean: -- My purpose-- my purpose here is not to smear Ralph Nader--

Nader [sarcastically]: -- Oh, no, not at all--

Adler: -- Okay--

Nader: -- thanks. --

[some audience laughter]

Adler: -- Okay, guys--

Dean: -- You have--

Adler: -- Okay guys, let's bring some other people into this discussion--

Dean: -- Well, let me just finish what I'm gonna say, 'cause it's important.

[to Nader:] You have an extraordinary career in standing up for the American people. You have saved lives with your extraordinary work with automobile safety. You are responsible for much of the extraordinary environmental work that has been done in this country in the last forty years. I ask you not to turn your back on your own legacy.

Nader: Well, let me just --

Adler: -- A quick response.

Nader: Yeah, a quick response.

Howard, Howard, look. I took you for your word when you were running in the primary, when you called John Kerry "another special interest clone in Washington," when you called him "turning his back on the American workers", when you called him "giving George W. Bush a blank check on the war in Iraq," when you called him as "voting for the Leave No Child Behind" which you in significant part opposed, and when you called him "the lesser of two evils". Now, let's get it over with. The issue here is the corporate domination of our country that has prevented electoral reform that would have eliminated your objectives, like Instant Runoff Voting, proportional representation, public funding of public campaigns, same-day voter registration, and making every vote count with a paper trail by these Diebold-produced voting machines.

Adler: Now we--

Nader: -- Let's focus on the corporations--

Adler: -- Now we're going to go into some of those issues in voting reforms in a minute, but first, you're listening to NPR's "Justice Talking", where Howard Dean and Ralph Nader are sparring on the role of third parties and other issues. Let's take some questions from our audience.

Nick: My name is Nick and I'm from Washington, D.C. Regardless of how anyone feels about what the Supreme Court's ruling in Bush v. Gore enabled in terms of who gained access to the Presidency, its language affirms that Article I, Section II of the Constitution puts the ultimate power to determine the electors in a national election in the hands of the state legislatures, and I'm interested to hear from both of you gentlemen what position, if any, you take on the adoption of a Constitutional amendment positively asserting the unambiguous right of American voters to choose their electors in national elections.

Adler: Who wants to take that first? Howard?

Dean: I think we need complete electoral reform. I think we need-- first of all, that Jesse Jackson Jr's Constitutional amendment giving Americans the right to vote ought to be passed, so that they-- the right wing of the Republican party could not, as they did in 2000, disenfranchise thousands and thousands of African-American voters.

Secondly, we wouldn't be having this debate today if we had a system of Instant Runoff Voting in this country. Then Ralph Nader would pose no threat to the reelection of George-- er, to the election of John Kerry. He would not be facilitating the election of George Bush, the most right-wing President that we've had. If we had Instant Runoff Voting, we could have the kind of debates that Ralph wants-- open debates-- because minor parties-- third parties wouldn't cause those problems. We need fundamental electoral change. I argue to you, that we have a better chance of having that with John Kerry as President than we do with George Bush as President.

Nader: I would abolish the Electoral College. I think for the United States government to lecture people overseas about democracy, and then turn around and say, 'the man who got the lesser number of votes becomes President in 2000, than the person, Gore, who got more votes', is a rather difficult position to uphold. I think it's also important to recognize that the only way third parties have had leverage over the major party candidates, is to deny them votes. Is to say to them, that for too long, they have ignored the needs of the American people. They've had their chance. How many times have they flunked? How many times do they betray us? How many times do they disrespect the voter? How many times do they become more and more similar than they are different? I'm speaking of the Republican/Democratic party. You can have all the electoral reform if you want-- that you want. But if you have vigorous citizens involved, informed voters involved, to take back our country and our government, the reforms just will be overridden by the overwhelming power of commercial interests that have turned Washington into corporate-occupied territory.

Adler: We're going to go to another question. But just quickly, you both support Instant Runoff Voting? Both of you?

Dean: I do, I--

Nader: Yes. Well, it's good to see how it works.

Adler: And as far as you, Governor Dean, do you support or oppose the end of the Electoral College?

Dean: I have never thought about that a lot, and the problem is that, my state's a small state, and if you abolished the Electoral College, nobody would ever campaign there ever again.

However, I think that Ralph's point is a good one. We don't need any more candidates elected President of the United States, who have 500,000 fewer votes than the person they competed with. If that's what it takes, we'll do it.

Adler: Let's take another question here on "Justice Talking".

Bob Wittig: Hi, Bob Wittig, Washington, D.C. Gentlemen, a few blocks from here, the Senate's debating a Constitutional moment. They're trying to decide whether to enact a Federal marriage amendment. What can either and both of you say today to send a message to the Senate to stop this Constitutional trainwreck?

Dean: I-- this is exactly why I'm here. I'm not here 'cause I dislike Ralph Nader, I'm not here 'cause I don't think he has the right to run for President, I think he does have that right. But I'm here to argue that under John Kerry, he has publicly said that he would not ever use the Constitution of the United States to take away rights from people. This would be the first time, should this succeed, that the Constitution of the United States has been used to remove people's rights. This is none of the business of the Federal government. The 'Defense of Marriage Act' was unconstitutional; this is outrageous. States oughtta be able to decide for themselves. We decided-- we were the first in the nation to decide that every single gay and lesbian American deserves the same rights as everybody else did. Massachusetts has now decided. Let the states do this. The only role of the Federal government should be this: One, they ought to make clear that every state has the responsibility in the way that they choose to make sure that every gay and lesbian American has the same rights as everybody else. And two, the President of the United States, as I have promised and I believe Senator Kerry has promised, should make available every single immigration right, taxation right, inheritance right and all the other 1600 rights that are not available now to gay and lesbian Americans because they're not allowed to get married. Those rights should be available to every American, every single American, without an adjective about what that American category might-- category for that American might belong to.

Adler: Thank you, Governor Dean. And now, Ralph Nader.

Nader: Well, we believe in equal rights, and our position's much better than John Kerry's position. You can compare our positions by logging into our website, Without going into elaboration, the gay and lesbian community would prefer our position to the opposition, John Kerry, to what's going on in Massachusetts. Certainly his position's better than George W. Bush, but our position is the best. We've gotta get rid of this discrimination, this chilling, this bigotry toward gays and lesbians that are reflected in literally hundreds and hundreds of statutes and regulations in this country.

Adler: We have a question in the audience from a very successful independent third party candidate, John Anderson.

John B. Anderson, former independent Presidential candidate: Thank you. John Anderson, of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and also of the Center for Voting and Democracy.

I want to applaud both candidates for their endorsement of Instant Runoff Voting. I would only hope, Governor Dean, that it will become part of the Democratic platform, a specific plank endorsing that, and working in the states to make sure the state legislatures make that possible. The other point that I think should be made on electoral reform: again I applaud Governor Dean for his willingness to debate Ralph Nader here today. But what about the coming general election campaign? Will you and the Democratic Party insist that we reform the present debate process, which has become the property of the so-called Commission on Presidential Debates-- just another name for the two major parties? Would you accept the kind of reform in that area that would say that if a candidate has ballot access to the extent that he could win a majority in the Electoral College; if he has the qualifications that would be manifest by a national poll showing that at least half of the American voters in September would like to hear that candidate in the debates; will you support the inclusion of an open debate process that would give a third party or independent candidate the right to participate in those debates?

Dean: The way you ask the question is very interesting, 'cause you also laid out a series of thresholds. I don't care who runs the debate, I-- if you want somebody else to run this, if you think it's the property of the two parties, fine, let's give it to somebody else to run it. But there does have to be a threshold. Right now there is a threshold, it's 15% in the polls. Well, maybe that's not the right threshold. I just went through a primary where there were nine candidates on stage at the same time. That was not much-- very enlightening to most voters. It was a good exerci--

Adler: --On the other hand, it was very interesting, right? I mean--

Dean: -- I thought it was incredibly dull, and most people I talked to did too--

Adler: -- I dunno, I--

[a bit of audience laughter here]

Adler: -- I dunno wha-- I remember... When I looked at the debates, and I saw, you know, Al Sharpton, and Carol Moseley Braun, and you, and Dennis Kucinich-- I thought it was a lot more witty and engaging than, I think, the possible snooze we're gonna face in the Presidential party debate--

Dean: -- Well, the bottom line is, I--

[scattered audience applause]

Dean: -- The bottom line is, I agree with the premise [he pronounces it 'prem-ize'] that the debates ought to include everybody, the question is, what kind of a threshold do you use. Sometimes there are 20 people on the ballot, and obviously it's not practical to have a twenty-person forum up on the stage, or even a nine-person forum.

Nader: Well, for people who want to get involved in opening the debates, as John Anderson suggested, and I believe, by the way, proportional representation is critical to Instant Runoff Voting working better, log in to ''. Because the threshold's a reasonable one. If a majority of the American people, as they expressed in 2000, in poll after poll, want a candidate on the debates, that oughtta be enough. And a majority of the American people wanted me and Buchanan on the debates in 2000. It isn't because they just viewed the debates as a cure for insomnia. I think they wanted a broader agenda. They wanted more exciting issues. They wanted to get rid of all the taboos that put marbles in the mouths of the two major Presidential candidates, hemming and hawing. So, 5% in the polls is one criteria, a majority want you on, is another, and that oughtta be good. What are they afraid of? I mean, what-- you know, the audience for the debates are going down every four years. They were down to 38 million last time, in contrast to 92 million when Perot was on the debate. There's no other way to reach tens of millions of Americans, other than go through the gateway dominated by the two parties. What other democracy allows that? You can campaign all over the country, for the largest arenas, like Grant-- like the biggest arenas that we filled in the year 2000; we only reached 2% of the people we could've reached on just one debate! What is the reason for all this sanctioning, all this restriction, all this politics of fear from new ideas and fresh vistas and a record of 40 years of accomplishment?

Adler: Let's go on. Ralph Nader has accused the Democratic Party of waging a battle to prevent him from getting on the ballot in Arizona, Texas, Illinois, Florida, Michigan... Governor Dean--

Nader: [mutters] Oregon...

Adler: -- Oregon. [bit of laughter from the audience] Governor Dean, is the Democratic Party trying to prevent third parties and independents from getting on the ballot?

Dean: Not to my knowledge. I refuse to participate in anything like that, 'cause I don't appreciate that. Some of my former staff members are doing that and I told them I wasn't gonna have anything to do with them, 'cause they're the same people who tried to--

[Nader nods knowingly]

Dean: --same people running that group, who tried to knock me out of the caucus in Iowa.

Nader: David Jones.

Dean: That's right. Not my favorite person. You all know him well, right? Jeannie(ph) knows him very well.

Here's the problem with what's going on. I do believe, that Ralph, that your access you're attempting to get on the ballots is fatally flawed. I don't believe-- if you really did go out and get all those signatures in Arizona, it would be great, but the truth is, a lot of them were illegal. And it's not picking on you, this happens to every candidate. If you pay somebody to go get signatures they generally do a much lousier job than if you use volunteers. It is true that the Oregon Family Council, which is a virulently anti-gay right wing group, called up all their folks and tried to get them to go to the Oregon convention to sign your petition.

[earnestly] I don't think that's the way to change the party. I agree with much of what you say. But the way to change the country is not to do it any means to the end, the way to change the country is not to get in bed with right-wing anti-gay groups to get you on the ballot. That can't work! It can't work. The problem with a democracy is that the two major parties have tried to use any means to an end. I don't-- I think there's a big difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. I'll grant you that there's significant corporate influence that we don't like, and I campaigned against in the primary. I'm not running for President right now, not just because I lost in Iowa, but because I made the calculation that if I did, I would take away votes that otherwise would go to John Kerry, and the result was gonna be the reelection of George Bush. That is a national emergency and we cannot have it.

Nader: Well (unclear?)

[some applause]

Nader: I think just what you said about that group was a legitimate smear. You know what a legitimate smear is, Howard? It's a smear, premeditated, and knowing. We don't even know this group. Don't try to tar us with this. There have been groups that have supported your campaign you wouldn't wanna have breakfast with, even if you were starving.

Dean: Then just renounce them, that's all I ask.

Nader: Well, fine, I renounce them. [Dean is tries to say something for a moment as he's talking] You want any-- else to renounce? Do you renounce Pfizer, and Chevron and other companies who were criminally convicted of crimes by the Federal government, giving millions of dollars in the year 2000 to the Democrat Party, and they did not return the money? That's a matter of record--

Dean: Damn right I renounced it, that's exactly why I ran for President. I don't want that stuff any more. And we're gonna have real campaign financing, with public financing of campaigns in this country, but it's not gonna happen under George Bush as presi--

Nader: -- OK, so, you'll- you'll urge John Kerry to return all money coming from corporate executives who presided over corporations who are either pleaded-- who pleaded guilty, or were convicted of anti-trust, environmental, labor, and other crimes.

Dean: I will urge him to do that if you will give back the 10% of your $1000 contributions that came from people who all-- like Richard Eagan, the Ambassador to Ireland, appointed by George Bush.

Nader: I wasn't aware--

Dean: --You should not be taking that money--

Nader: -- I wasn't aware that he was a corporate criminal. He's an American citizen who might be-- he is a Republican, just happens to believe in civil liberties, maybe. I don't even know the man. But--

Adler: -- Let's go on with--

Nader: -- The Republicans are human beings too!

[General laughter]

Adler: Let's go on--

Dean: -- The right-wingers may not be.

Adler: Let's go on to another question here on "Justice Talking", where we're talking with Ralph Nader and Howard Dean, and we're debating third parties and the 2004 election. Let's take another question from our audience.

Matt Keller: Hi, my name is Matt Keller from Washington, D.C., and I am a big fan of third party politics. I think it's something that we need to integrate into our federal system. But I had the-- I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time living over in Germany, where they have a very strong Green party, and I'm sort of questioning the tactics in which Mr. Nader is taking on trying to establish that party as a third party-- the Green Party, independent party. The Green Party in Germany was able to establish itself more at the local and state level, where they were able to become politicians in those areas. And they slowly gained confidence and familiarity by the people, (and they were) able to get into the-- [breaks in the sound]... (am I) cut off here? ... And, do you think that it might be a more effective to take a similar route, which in turn would add to the long-term future stability and popularity of the Green Party, instead of running for a Presidency in which you really have no chance to win?

Nader: Well, I don't really see the contrast here. It would be good to have proportional representation. In West Germany, or Germany now, when the Greens got over 5% of the vote they got over 5% of the Parliament. If they get 10%, they get 10% of the Parliament. In this country, you can get 49% of the vote, and you get nothing. So a lot of people's votes don't mean anything at all, assuming they even vote. So it is important to keep in mind that our divided power, separation of power system, sometimes has a good asset in stopping things, but it's much more sluggish in getting new frontiers reached, new things done. That's one reason why, in Western Europe, they came in after World War II with universal health care, living wage, good benefits, 4 to 6 weeks paid vacation, good public transit... We coulda had all this here, had we had a parliamentary system, actually. 'Cause, now, with the filibuster, and the obstruction, it's very hard. It's like they've made our countr-- society one that's stuck in traffic. We have far more problems in this country than we deserve, far more solutions on the shelf than we apply, because of this kind of gridlock, this winner-take-all system.

Adler: We have another question here from our audience. Let's hear it.

Linda Schaef(ph): Hi, I'm Linda Schaef from Tacoma Park, Maryland, and I wanted to know why Mr. Nader and Mr. Dean think that Kerry is running to the right of President Bush on the occupation in Iraq, and what should the peace movement's response be?

[scattered applause]

Nader: Excellent question. The Nader/Camejo ticket is the only avowedly and determined anti-war candidacy.

[Someone in the audience claps]

Nader: We want to have a responsible six-month withdrawal of the U.S. military and corporate occupation, internationally supervised elections, so that the Iraqi people don't feel that they're facing a permanent military occupation, the control of their oil resources, and a puppet government. If they feel that, the majority of the Iraqis are gonna support the insurgency. They're not gonna distance themselves (from) the insurgency. John Kerry voted for the war, as Howard Dean reminded us many times during the primary days. George W. Bush launched our country into a war in Iraq based on a platform of fabrications, deceptions, and lies, and did it in an unconstitutional manner. So that's one reason why we need more distinctions in the candidates. We need more voices, and we need more choices. Furthermore, looks like John Kerry's running to the right of George W. Bush on the Israeli/Palestine issue. Why, if the U.S. government is really interested in peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, why doesn't it support the broad and deep Palestinian and Israeli peace movement? Especially the Israeli peace movement that's put 120,000 people in a protest, demonstration in Tel Aviv the other day, and represents former legislators, existing legislators, former ministers of justice, former generals, former combat officers--

Adler: -- Ok, I'm gonna have to break in here, and let --

Nader: -- that refused to fight in the West Bank--

Adler: -- I'm gonna have to let Governor Dean get his licks in here.

Dean: Let me just say a couple of things. First of all, I'm not convinced that John Kerry's running to George Bush's right. That's hard to do. [chuckles] Secondly, I think that if Ralph were as concerned about the war-- and I think you are deeply concerned about the war-- but then what was the reason for recommending that John Edwards be John Kerry's running mate when John Edwards also voted for the war? I don't understand that at all.

Nader: Because everyone but you, on the vice-presidential slate-- You weren't on, for obvious reasons, Howard, 'cause you were an insurgent, who is now adopting a role of being a detergent [Dean smiles] of the dirty linen of the Democratic Party.

Gephardt was for the war...

[a few scattered laughs and claps]

Nader: ...Gephardt was for the war, and so on. That's the answer to your question.

Dean: All right, let me--

Nader: --Also, Edwards is good on torts, on civil justice, and right (of) Americans to sue.

Dean: -- Let me-- let me just see-- if I'm gonna be the detergent--

[a few people in audience laugh]

Dean: --let me explain why I think that that's necessary. Here's what makes me so passionate about this issue. It's not a dislike for third parties, I think third parties have contributed a lot. It's not a dislike for the platform that Ralph's talking about. I do have some concerns with the means to the end.

The real problem is that the people are gonna suffer from your candidacy, should you take more votes, as you did in 2004, from John Kerry than you did from Bush. Our people-- your people and my people, the people are the folks in this room. There are kids who are losing health insurance every day because of what George Bush is doing. If he gets reelected, those people are gonna suffer. There are schools that are going down the tubes in inner cities and rural areas all over America. Those people are gonna suffer if George Bush gets reelected. There are not just Americans dying every day in Iraq, there are Iraqis dying every day in Iraq. Those people are gonna suffer if George Bush gets reelected. And so, what I see in this candidacy is the perfect becoming the enemy of the good. The reason I chose not to run as a third party myself-- which took me about five seconds to think about-- after I had really endured the slings and arrows of having been the front-runner of the Democratic nomination, is in the long run it's not important that Howard Dean be President or that Ralph Nader be President. In the long run, this is about American people who can't defend themselves against the kind of administration that George Bush has. And that's why I wish you were on our team, Ralph, 'cause we really need you.

[some applause]

Nader: I'd just like to say, what have the Democrats done about the poor in this country? What have they done about the criminal injustice--

Dean: -- They've done a lot--

Nader: -- system--

Dean: -- and I'll talk to you about that--

Nader: -- corporate prisons--

Dean: -- and they've done a lot--

Nader: -- they've generated as many loopholes in tax system for their corporate benefactors as anyone. Neither Howard Dean nor John Kerry will attack the military budget, which is swollen, redundant, and full of corrupt contracts that are eating half of-- the whole military budget now is one-half of the federal government's operating expenditures. That draws money away from clinics and schools and public drinking water systems and public libraries and public transit and the environment. And the Democrats are fully complicit. John Kerry will not challenge the bloated military, redundant military budget. And if he doesn't do that, he cannot pay for all those programs that Howard referred to so sympathetically. The Democrats haven't done anything on attacking corporate crime. They haven't done anything on corporate welfare. You look at John Kerry's website, there's nothing on corporate crime under 'crime'. There's nothing on corporate welfare, bleeding hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayers from the necessity of the American people.

Adler: Let's--

Nader: --They're not-- you put that rap on anyone, I could put it on you if I wanted.

Adler: Let's let Howard--

Nader: -- Let's talk about the future here, and assume that we're all well-intentioned toward the American people.

Adler: Okay. I'm gonna-- I'm gonna--

Dean: --Wait a minute, wait a minute--

Adler: -- Okay.

Dean: While you evaluate what Ralph Nader just said about the Democrats, just think about who put Medicare in here, without a single Republican vote, everybody over 65 now has health insurance in this country, 'cause of Lyndon Johnson and the Democrats. Who did Medicaid, children all over America have health insurance? Who did the Earned Income Tax Credit? You know who that was? It was Richard Nixon, with Democratic support. It makes a big difference whether you have a Democratic or a Republican administration--

Nader: --That was the old Democratic Party--

Dean: -- All I'm asking, is that we not let the perfect become the enemy of the good, because of this election it matters. I believe in most of the reforms that Ralph Nader talks about. He has been a hero of mine because of his exceptional, extraordinary career. But I am desperate to send George Bush back to Crawford Texas and we need your help in doing it.

Adler: Okay, I'm gonna lighten things up a minute, just take this away because we could continue this way all along. I just wanna ask you a couple of, actually, the most difficult questions you're gonna face, because they require really short answers.

[Nader and Dean both chuckle]

Adler: So, are you ready? Are you ready? Okay.

One sentence: Howard Dean, who is your favorite President?

Dean: Two. George Washington and Harry Truman, for different reasons, obviously.

Adler: And Ralph Nader, yours?

Nader: Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson.

Adler: Governor Dean, would you take a cabinet position in a Democratic administration if it was offered to you? [Dean smiles] Oh, you know, Health and Human Services, Surgeon General, you know?

Dean: I haven't made any deals like that, but if Ralph comes on board, maybe we can both get Cabinet positions! [grins]

[some laughter in the audience]

Adler: Well, that was my next question! If Senator John Kerry wins and asks you, Mr. Nader, to be head of the Environmental Protection Agency, would you take the job? [slyly] You might get a pension.

Nader: No, I--

[Dean's and audience's laughter catches up]

Nader: [smiling] Are you supposed to be impartial?

[Dean and the audience laugh some more]

Nader: The answer is no, because I want to be, after the election, what Howard Dean told me he wanted to be during the election when he lost the primaries, is to be a hair shirt for the Democrats. A real hair shirt, not a linen handkerchief.

[scattered laughter and applause]

Adler: If you could give Howard Dean-- Mr. Nader, if you could give Howard Dean one piece of political advice, what would it be?

Nader: I would tell him to explain to the American people why Howard Dean the First's comments on John Kerry, which were unbelievably searing-- makes me look modest, by comparison-- why they are no longer part of Howard Dean the Second's political repertoire.

Dean: [fades in] (When you're) running against somebody for office, the fact is, that it's tough and you focus on the differences. When you're running as a team, you gotta look at the fact that the differences between any of the nine of us that ran for the Presidency are so-- the differences between any of us are so small compared to the differences between us and George Bush, that we are on the same team. We need to focus on one thing in this election-- sending George Bush back to Crawford, Texas. [more emphatically:] And then, we'll have a chance at instigating some of the reforms that we're both talking about.

Adler: Governor Dean, what one suggestion would you give Ralph Nader?

Dean [deadpan]: Lighten up.

[Dean grins, Adler and audience laugh, Nader smiles]

Adler: Howard... [laughs some more]

Nader [smiling]: Well, that's better than what I thought he was gonna say!

[Everyone laughs]

Nader: Hey, listen, have you been on 'Saturday Night Live' four times, Howard?

Dean [laughs]: Are you kidding? I don't even dare go on 'The Daily Show'!

Adler: Okay. Howard. In the last few weeks, the 'Boondocks' comic strip featured the abduction of Ralph Nader. Justifying his action, the kidnapper in the script said, "Don't you see, he's gonna mess eveything up, just like he did the last time!" Howard, is this the only way to stop Ralph Nader?

[Audience laughs]

Adler: To take him to an undisclosed location until November?

Dean [chuckles]: I don't think we oughtta...

[scattered laughter]

Dean: ...I don't think we oughtta stop Ralph Nader, I just don't want you to vote for him, 'cause we need your votes for John Kerry so that we can get rid of George Bush. And then (at) least have a chance, at least have a chance at health insurance. John Kerry's publicly said, that the first bill out of the White House if he becomes President, is gonna be health insurance for every single American. It seems to me, that's worth waiting for, and worth working for.

Adler: And last, quick question: What's the worst campaign photo of you out there?

[Dean mimes an enormous guffaw, but silently]

Adler: ...The one that rivals Michael Dukakis in the tank, Gary Hart on the boat 'The Monkey Business'; tell us about it, Mr. Nader?

Nader: You think I spend my time looking at those things?

[Dean and Adler guffaw]

Nader: You know, we're being told by the Democrats to look at... hair.

[Adler laughs]

Nader: John Kerry's hair and John Edwards' hair. Let's get back to corporate power in America.

[scattered laughter]

Adler: Governor Dean, your worst photo?

Dean: I don't know, but I'm sure if you look at 'The New York Times' you'll find one.

[Adler guffaws]

Adler: So, we're now going to go back to more serious stuff. Let's go back to the audience.

Lynne O'Connell: Hi, my name's Lynne O'Connell, I'm from Alexandria, Virginia, and my question's for Mr. Nader.

It's very, very important to me that my vote count in this election, and I'd like to know what kind of plan you have for getting to 270 electoral votes?

Nader: Well, first of all, we're going to get on more than enough ballots to get that number of electoral votes.

Second, we know that the system is rigged by the two parties, from ballot access to ballot harassment, to exclusion from the debates to give us a fair chance. So, we're frankly a underdog campaign, representing millions of underdogs in this country, people who are pushed around, harmed, ignored, laid off without any reasons, arbitrarily defrauded. You know, all the things the mainstream press reports about. But then, they don't conclude that there needs to be real change here. So we're gonna go all out, people want to vote for their conscience, fine. If they want to vote for us in the "slam dunk" states, that are dominated by Republicans like Texas, or Democrats like New York, that's fine. But just remember, after this election's over, that the Nader/Camejo ticket put forth an agenda of immense humanity and practical implementation that was long overdue and long ignored by both parties, and that we gave you the chance to vote your conscience. And if you don't vote your conscience, I'd like to hear from you about what part of your body you are voting.

Adler: Now, if a month before the election, it becomes clear that it's mathematically impossible for you to win the Presidency, because you're not on enough state ballots, do you stay on? Or do you withdraw?

Nader: Well, you remember that headline in 'Daily News', "Dewey Wins"? 'Cause the polls said that he wins-- the polls can be wrong. The polls were wrong about Howard Dean. They all said he was gonna win in a landslide against his Democratic primary opponents.

We're building beyond November-- an oak tree always starts with an acorn. And we're determined to give this younger generation of Americans a horizon for a better country, a better world, and show 'em how to do it, because the older generations have conceded two-party monopolies and narrow choices, and low expectations, and "least-worst" mentality, far too long. [The] American people deserve better. They deserve independent-minded, reform-minded, and diligently-minded voters, just the way they are as sports fans.

Adler: Let's take another question from our audience here, on "Justice Talking".

Jeff Forgione(ph): Hi, I'm Jeff Forgione from Washington, D.C. Quick question for each. Governor Dean, do you-- what's your position on groups pulling out all the stops to keep Mr. Nader off the ballots? And, Mr. Nader, would you consider stepping back off the ballot in some of the key states that were close in terms of 2000, like New Hampshire, like West Virginia? Couldn't you still make your point and reach a certain goal in terms of vote-getting, without getting into those critical areas that are gonna be the difference-- Arkansas, Missouri, those type of places?

Nader: Uh, let me--

Adler: --Start with, start with Governor Dean.

Dean: I do not think that there oughtta be people like David Jones going out and trying to get Ralph Nader off the ballot. I do, however, think that Ralph is playing a victim when he ought not to be. Because he is using techniques that get other candidates in trouble, to get on the ballot. If you pay people to get your signatures, and they get them from Republicans, you are bound to have trouble. Democrats do that to each other to get each other off the ballot. So I do not think this is a conspiracy to keep Ralph Nader off the ballot. I think if Ralph was using the means that he oughtta be using, which is tons of volunteer signatures, and not getting in bed with anti-gay groups like 'Oregon Family Policy', then he wouldn't be having these kinds of problems.

Nader: See why I go after the Democrats as well as Republicans? They face falsehoods and they keep repeating 'em, again and again and again. The way the system is orchestrated, sometimes you have to have paid signature firms to get you on the ballot. Why? Because the two parties are workin' overtime to keep--

Dean: -- We never do that--

Nader: -- to keep you off the ballot. The other thing is this, as far as the question directed to me is concerned. I'm never gonna betray-- and I'm sure Peter Camejo's never gonna betray-- our supporters, and before the election, say "sorry, in a few states we're cutting out." That's not the way to build a progressive political movement, and Rome wasn't built in a day. We gotta look beyond November 2.

Secondly, people should think Electoral College as long as we're saddled with it, and if you're in Texas, you can easily vote your conscience, and vote for the Nader/Camejo ticket, because the Democrats are abandoning Texas at the Presidential level, and of course, hurting their slate of candidates all the way down to City Council. And the Republicans do the same thing in places like Minnesota.

We have to get over this idea that only small parties "take away votes". It's big parties that take away votes. And as long as the Democrats are not concerned that in 2000, ten times more Democrats deserted Gore-- 8 million Democrats deserted Gore and voted for Bush-- ten times more than deserted and voted for the Nader/LaDuke ticket. It is baffling that the Democrats will not focus on ten times more votes that they can get back, and whine and carp about a third-party candidacy, and they can in the process, start registering 9 million African-American voters, which Jesse Jackson thinks the Democratic Party's ignoring.

[a person claps]

Adler: Governor Dean, when you were running in the primaries, you often sounded like Ralph Nader. You talked about the domination of corporate interests, you opposed the war in Iraq. How do your politics differ from Mr. Nader's?

Dean: I'm sure there are some. My purpose to coming here was not to differentiate my politics from Ralph. He may choose to do so more vigorously. Here's the decision-- here's the fundamental decision that we made differently. I believe that in the end, the people that I care about are served better with a John Kerry presidency than they are with a George Bush presidency. The whole reason I ran-- it partly was about corporate interests, but most of it was about human beings.

One of the biggest shocks I got was when I got to Iowa, coming from an Eastern state; found out that the working people in this country didn't trust American corporations-- they weren't American any more. They would sell their jobs and move them to Mexico or China, India, and forget about people that worked there for twenty years. If George Bush is reelected, that's gonna get worse. John Kerry already has a program in place to start-- stop that. He's even been in trouble with the business community, 'cause he called corporations that do that "Benedict Arnolds".

I believe there is a big difference between John Kerry-- I know Ralph has said some things that John Kerry hasn't said, and I agree with Ralph on some of them. But we cannot let the perfect become the enemy of the good. The stakes are too high, and it's human beings. This isn't a debate about who has the right to be on the ballot, and philosophy, and 'let's get lots of different points of view'. This is a debate about human beings and whether they have health insurance or not, whether they have jobs or not, and whether we're going to stand up for public education in this country or not. And there's a big difference between John Kerry and George Bush, and I cheerfully support John Kerry, 'cause I think he can do the right thing.

Adler: Okay, here is a clip from, Democratic Presidential candidate Senator John Kerry.

Kerry, in clip: I think my candidacy will speak to, and appeal to, many of the people who were attracted in the year 2000 to Ralph Nader. I-- I've known him for a long time, we've worked together on many issues.

[end clip]

Adler: Mr. Nader, what do you see as the prime differences between you and Senator Kerry?

Nader: Well, I-- there are a lot of them. I can just give you a quick list.

  • I mean what I say about getting rid of corporate subsidies, handouts, giveaways.
  • I think we should have a national crackdown on corporate crime, fraud, and abuse that's drained and looted trillions of dollars in the last five years from innocent workers, pensionholders, and small investors.
  • I do believe in the electoral reform that John Anderson talked about. I haven't heard John Kerry say anything about proportional representation or Instant Runoff Voting.
  • I believe in full public financing of public elections, not putting them on the auction block to the highest bidders, who you know, come from the wealthy elite and the corporate commercial givers.
  • I believe that people should have a right to benefit from repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act, so Wal-Mart workers and others can form unions and improve their life and collectively bargain against these corporations whose executives make millions on the backs of people who are making six-seven dollars an hour, single moms and others.
  • I also believe that there should be no draft in this country, and I'd like to see John Kerry and George W. Bush come out against it.
  • I'd li-- I also believe we should get out of this war in Iraq, as 42% of the American people want the troops back now; over 55 think it was a mistake to send in the first place.

Adler: Okay, I think--

Nader: -- I believe in national charters of na-- of global corpor--

Adler: Okay, I didn't ask for every difference--

Nader: -- Oh, all right...

[they laugh]

Nader: I'm just, I'm just trying to make sure I make my point abundantly clear.

Adler [still laughing]: I think you have, and we're gonna go on to another question from our audience here on "Justice Talking".

Jennifer Ellingston: My name is Jennifer Ellingston, I'm from the Green Party.

Mr. Nader has been the only one who has mentioned the defense budget over and over and over, and the profiteering, and how it's half of everything, and straining everything. Our President depends on fear, over and over and over we're told that we are in danger and of course, we're all meant to be terrified, and the spineless Democrats have never said, 'well, you're overdoing it a little bit'. So, what I'm asking is, this (is) hypothetical, but if you were in power, either one, would you cut in half the defense budget? Would you go back to the ABM Treaty? Would you rescind, repeal the Patriot Act? Would you rescind the FISA Act? Would you close down the CIA? Would you get back to real government? Thank you.

Adler: Now I'm assuming that Ralph Nader would say 'yes' to most of this, so I'm gonna turn this over to Governor Dean.

Dean: [smiling] I think it's only fair to let Ralph just have his own word for a sec-- I mean--

[Adler chuckles]

Dean [to Nader]: Would you say 'yes' to all of that?

Nader: No, we do need an intelligence capability in this country, but not $40 billion of mistakes every year. This is the most bloated budget that has led our country astray and wrong from the time of the Soviet Union to the Iraq war.

Dean: I think there are two big problems with the defense budget.

One is, that there is-- our contracts that get let out, like the Halliburton contract of course is the most famous-- let out by a Vice-President of the United States who is actually getting money from Halliburton, and deferred compensation. That's a violation of the Federal ethics code, even though it may theoretically not be against the law.

And the other is that-- the problem with the defense budget is not entirely its size, it's what it's spent on. For example, yes, we should go back into the ABM Treaty. I believe we oughtta sign the Landmines Treaty. There's no reason to do that now that the DMZ is not such a problem as it was between the Koreas. We ought-- landmines are a weapon which principally serves to blow the heads-- or-- and hands off small children, around the world. I believe that instead of building the tactical battlefield nuclear weapons program, which is a weapons program that does nothing to fight against terrorism, we need to invest in special ops and human intelligence. I believe that instead of investing in 'Star Wars', which has failed the majority of its tests, that we oughtta be doing different kinds of things with that money, such as paying soldiers and making sure there are adequate schools on our military bases.

So, I'm not sure I subscribe to all the list; I think we need a change in the defense budget, but I'm-- you're not gonna cut the defense budget. What you're gonna do is reallocate it so that-- and do things that make sense.

Adler: In the last presidential election, only 51 percent of Americans voted. Among 18- to 25-year-olds, the percentage was much lower. There are many voters who have felt for years that they've been choosing between the lesser of two evils.

I want to ask you both how you engage people who feel that none of the candidates represent their interests?

Start with you, Governor Dean.

Dean: I think you ought to speak to people's interests. And I think that's one thing that Ralph does, and I did, too. And that's probably why we're both here instead of in the White House. [chuckles ruefully]

I do think the Democrats have made a mistake -- and I'm very frank about this -- in ignoring our core constituency groups.

There is a political scientist by the name of George Lakoff who teaches at Berkeley, whose view is that-- the Republicans have learned this and we haven't yet-- that instead of going to the swing voters, what you do is you energize your base. They've gotten big turnouts; we haven't. I made no bones about that. I still believe that's the way to win elections.

So I think we ought to go to the base. I think we ought not to give people the lesser choice between two evils.

I believe, however, that if you look at John-- I mean, right now, George Bush is calling John Kerry the most liberal senator in the United States. Well, whether that's true or not, I don't know. But I certainly know that he's stood up for the environment. He has stood up for a progressive tax code. He's already talked about getting rid of all the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. This is a guy who has progressive credentials, and we oughtta be supporting him.

Adler: Way to energize the people who think their interests are not being represented, Mr. Nader?

Nader: There are a lot of small and big ways. Small ways, for example, make election day a holiday for people who have long commutes. The second is to have same-day voter registration. That's one reason why the vote turnout in Minnesota is higher than in many states. The third is to have proportional representation so people feel that their vote counts, even though they don't get 51 percent of the vote, like the Greens in Germany. The fourth is to have more candidates out there. You know, that's what we're trying to do. All of this will be laid out in detail and for public debate on our Web site,

But here's the main one, here's the one that I really like the most: In addition to having more initiatives on the ballot-- because they don't want to vote for the candidates, they come out for a particular initiative that they want enacted into law-- but the big one, in my mind, is binding "none of the above."

In America, you can only vote "yes," when you go to the polls. You have no opportunity to vote "none of the above," or "no confidence" in all the candidates.

So if you have binding "none of the above" on every ballot line, if you don't like the candidates and you don't want to write anyone in and you don't want to write your own name, you can vote binding "none of the above." And if that wins, it sends that election packing with the candidates and orders new elections in 30 days.

[Scattered clapping in audience]

Adler: Governor Dean, is this the year to--

Dean: --That is exactly the difference between the two of us. I think the last two things that Ralph Nader said, I could not disagree with more strongly.

[emphatically] We live in a real world. We have to make real choices. Binding "none of the above" means we don't have to make real choices. That's the first problem.

The second problem is I could not disagree with you more about referendum. Referendum is a very attractive thing. People like to go and give their opinions. And most people in America believe in referendum government. I don't.

We gave civil rights to a despised minority in 2000. The gay and lesbian community got the same rights as everybody else did. If that had ever been put to a referendum, it would have gone down.

Can you imagine what would have happened in Arkansas if you tried to do the civil rights movement through ballot referendum?

Referendum is not always the best form of government. It is the tyranny of the majority. And I'm surprised to hear Ralph defend it, because Thomas Jefferson was one of the people who stood up and talked about the tyranny of the majority when he wrote the Constitution. That is why this democracy is such a powerful and wonderful force, is because the minority-- whatever that minority may be-- still has its rights protected. And referendum doesn't do that.

Nader: A minority is protected by the constitution of the state and the federal Constitution. You don't stifle the voice of the people in direct democracy when their legislature and governor turns their back on them by saying no initiative, referendum, recall.

[Dean tries to say something]

Nader: --I suppose you're against the recall, too?

Adler: Okay, I--

Dean: --Referendum has been used to deny the rights of--

Adler: --I'm gonna stop this right here--

Dean: --gay people in 30 states in this country--

Adler: --OK, I'm going to jump in here--

Dean: --and I think it's wrong.

Adler: --because we only have a few more minutes.

Nader: -- It's liberated a lot of voters(?)--

Adler: We only have a few more minutes, and I want to get my favorite question in.

Nader: OK.

Adler: It used to be that you couldn't run for office on a major party ticket and be Catholic or divorced. It's still not clear you can be a woman and win the presidency. And you certainly can't be an atheist. There are probably a host of things you can't be or can't say, and be considered a viable major party presidential candidate.

Isn't this a problem?

How can we get our candidates to reflect the diversity of America?

Start with you, ah...[first she looks at Nader, then at:] Governor Dean.

[Audience laughs]

Dean: "Start with..." [chuckles] That's the old-- that's called 'look left and fake right', or 'fike'...

[Audience laughs some more]

Adler: I wasn't sure. I was...

Dean: I think we proved that you can have a viable candidacy. We did come very close to winning. I think John Kerry ran a great three-week campaign in Iowa and nosed us out. We all knew whoever won the first primary was gonna win the whole thing because the way the primaries were compressed.

I feel pretty good about what we did. We raised $53 million. We have an e-mail list of 70,000-- 700,000 people. And most of the contributions we got were under a hundred bucks.

I remember a woman from Penn State University who sold her bicycle for $100, sent us the money, and said, "I'm selling my bicycle for democracy."

This country is alive and well if we'll have candidates who will stand up and say what they think. And it's my function, and I believe in the Democratic Party, is to get John Kerry elected, and then stand up and say what we think so we're gonna do all those things that he's talking about on the campaign trial.

Adler: All right. I'm going to give this to Mr. Nader, but I still haven't heard about women and atheists and other things like that.

Nader: Well, certainly, there are all kinds of taboos. There is a taboo about criticizing the Israeli military regime. There is a taboo about criticizing anything that would be considered anti-religious. There's a taboo in many Democrat and Republican circles of even using the phrase "corporate crime," until recently. There's a taboo about saying that we need to repeal the Taft-Hartley Act. Even the Democrats, who rely on organized labor to win or lose elections, are turning their back on the workers.

There are a lot of taboos. And the way to get over it is to have more voices, more choices, more regional primaries so Iowa and New Hampshire don't decide the nominee for either party.

And I might say, with a little bit of immodesty, the fuller answer to your question is in this new book... [he produces it and holds it up] ...that I've come out--

[Everyone laughs]

Nader: --called "The Good Fight."

[Laughter and applause]

Adler: Okay. Quick response. We have 30 seconds quick response, Governor Dean.

Dean: I think you oughtta buy the book. I haven't seen it.

Adler: No, no, no, no.

[General laughter]

Dean: As long a--

Adler: --women-- no no no no no.

[Laughter continues]

Adler: Women, atheists--

Dean: --As long as we're not-- er--

Adler: --taboos.

Dean: --promoting ourselves, though, We want you to go to that Web site.

[Adler laughs, scattered applause]

Adler: No one wants to deal with it. [Laughs]

Well, there's so much more I wanna ask you both, but we're out of time.

So thank you so much, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean and Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

Thank you for joining us on "Justice Talking." Also, thanks to our radio listeners, television viewers and to our audience here at the National Press Club.

We invite all of you to continue this discussion on third parties at

And, we should tell you that we always end "Justice Talking" with a very pithy quote. So here it is, in the words of writer P.J. O'Rourke:

"In our brief national history, we have shot four of our presidents. We have worried five of them to death. We've impeached one, and hounded another out of office. And when all else fails, we hold an election and assassinate their character."

He said that in 1991.

Nader: I'd prefer a quote by Gandhi.

[Adler laughs]

Adler: I'm Margot Adler--

[Everybody laughs]

Adler: --Thanks for listening to "Justice Talking."

[While the audience is applauding, Nader walks over and gives Dean his book, to Dean's good-natured mirth]

[As Adler gives the credits, Dean and Nader walk to the front of the stage, shake hands, and face the audience for a moment to give them a chance to take pictures, before returning to their podiums.]

Adler: [credits] "Justice Talking" is a production of Penn's Annenberg Public Policy Center. The program is produced by Catherine Colbert, Steve Menscher(ph), Karen McGirk, and Erin Mooney. Our staff also includes Gary Calman, Marvin Lee, and Laura Seider(ph). Engineering by Indray(ph) Studios. Special thanks to Public Interest Media. This is NPR's "Justice Talking". Tune in to the sound of democracy. [She and Nader shake hands, then she leaves.]

[Applause and closing music]

--- End ---

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