Saturday, February 21, 2004

OK SO NADER GETS IN: Net effect will be to peel off a percent or two off Kerry's left. As this Fox report makes clear, this benefits Bush. (See my highlights). (I have edited the story down to highlight the Nader factor.)

Nader to Jump in Presidential Race

Friday, February 20, 2004
By Liza Porteus

NEW YORK — Ralph Nader (search), the consumer advocate who ran for president in 2000 as a Green Party candidate, will enter the 2004 race for the White House as an independent candidate, advisers told Fox News on Friday.

A formal announcement by Nader is expected this weekend.

"He's felt there is a role for an independent candidate to play," Linda Schade, a spokeswoman for Nader's presidential exploratory committee.

The relationship between Nader and the Green Party (search) has not been smooth in recent years. Money and ballot access continue to be Nader's main concerns as he's mulled a run this year.

The Nader Factor

Some are wondering what effect, if any, Nader's entry into the race will have on the other candidates, particularly as Kerry and Edwards both try to attract independent voters. Nader's 2000 presidential run is blamed by many Democrats for tilting a close election in favor of George W. Bush.

"I don't think it will have a tremendous amount of effect," John Edwards told reporters Friday. "I think if we have a candidate across the ticket that's appealing to independents, appealing to the kind of people that might be attracted to a Nader campaign, then we'll be fine. And I think I am exactly that kind of candidate."

• Latest Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll

According to the Fox poll, when asked who would do a better job as a wartime president, 50 percent said Bush, while 38 percent said Kerry. Kerry beat Bush when it came to who voters thought would handle the economy better, 47 percent to 40 percent.

With Nader now in the race, 43 percent said they would vote for Bush if the election was held today, 42 percent for Kerry and 4 percent for Nader.

"You're looking at a nation at war," said Fox News analyst Tammy Bruce. "With that realization, President Bush does win in the polls when it comes to handling the war. Americans really in the back of their minds understand -- who do you want [in office]? A guy who should be in a Calvin Klein ad in the White House," she said, referring to Edwards.

"I really believe Edwards is still maneuvering into a second place spot. I think he knows he can't win and he's really trying for the vice presidency."

Fox News' Carl Cameron, Steve Centanni, Major Garrett, Yolanda Maggi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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