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Nader: Ex-DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe Offered Bribe to Drop Out of 19 Battleground States in ’04 Election

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Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader accuses former Democratic National Committee chair Terry McAuliffe of trying to bribe him to stay off the presidential ballot in nineteen so-called “battleground” states in 2004. McAuliffe is currently running for the Democratic nomination in Virginia’s gubernatorial race. [includes rush transcript]

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Ralph Nader, finally, your allegation that Terry McAuliffe, who’s running for governor of Virginia, primary next week, tried to bribe you to step out of the 2004 presidential race?

RALPH NADER: Clearly, in a telephone conversation in June 2004, he said, “If you stay out of my nineteen states” — “my nineteen states” meaning states that are close between Kerry and Bush —- and just campaign in the thirty-one other states, that he, Terry McAuliffe, will support me and provide resources. He said that more than once: “Stay out of my nineteen states.” That was clearly an attempted bribe. And that is all detailed in Theresa Amato’s new book that’s coming out in three or four days called Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny by New Press.

And the reason why it’s important is that Terry McAuliffe is now going to retrace Clinton’s path to the White House. He wants to be elected governor of Virginia, which he’s running for now, and the primary is coming up in a week. And then he has a springboard to the White House. And somebody who is engaged in the kind of political sleaze and the kind of attempted bribery, not to mention his other dealings with fat cats and backdoor maneuverings, I don’t think can embody the trust that’s necessary to become governor of Virginia. And he -—

AMY GOODMAN: Why wait ’til now to say this, Ralph Nader, five years later?

RALPH NADER: Well, actually, I said it on your program in 2004. Nobody listened. And Theresa Amato has put this in a book with great documentation, that we do not have the semblance of a competitive electoral system in this country. We either give the voters one choice, namely the incumbent, in gerrymandered congressional districts, or two choices, which are increasingly becoming similar on so many issues, like the military budget and foreign policy and dialing for the same corporate powers. So it’s part of a major reform book, this book Grand Illusion by Theresa Amato, and this episode is outlined in the book as being illustrative of the pressures against third party and independent candidates who want to give voters more choice, new and fresh agendas, and redirections for the country.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to leave it there. Ralph Nader, I want to thank you for being with us, longtime consumer advocate and presidential candidate for president of this country.

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