Consumer activist Ralph Nader accused Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe Thursday of trying to buy him off from running in the 2004 election.
Nader said McAuliffe, who was then chairman of the Democratic National Committee, orchestrated an elaborate effort to keep him off the ballot. McAuliffe offered him an unspecified amount of money to campaign in 31 states if Nader would agree to pull his campaign in 19 battleground states, Nader said.
"When you get a call like that, first of all it's inappropriate,'' Nader said in an interview. "The other thing is if you don't immediately say no, it's like taffy, you get stuck with it."
McAuliffe, in a hotly-contested three-way Democratic primary for governor, is facing several charges about his colorful past as a political fixer. And he isn’t denying this latest charge, according to The Washington Post.
His spokeswoman Elisabeth Smith said in a statement McAuliffe "was concerned that Ralph Nader would cost John Kerry the election as he did Al Gore in 2000 and give us another four years of George W. Bush," according to the Post.
"It looks like Ralph Nader misses seeing his name in the press,'' Smith said. "Terry's focused on talking with Virginians about jobs, not feeding Ralph Nader's ego."
The accusations are outlined in a new book, Grand Illusion, The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny, by Theresa Amato, Nader's national campaign manager in 2000 and 2004, who writes about the barriers to third-party candidates.
"This seemed to be a very undemocratic kind of thing to do,'' Amato said. "The head of the Democratic party was telling Ralph where he could or not could run."
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