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Nader: 'You Can't Spoil a System That's Spoiled to the Core'

Aired November 8, 2000 - 12:10 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

FRANK SESNO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader was a major factor in the election. He joins us now from the National Press Club in Washington, where he just spoke.

Mr. Nader, we took your comments live on CNN. We all listened to what you had to say. But the question still has to be asked, I'm looking at my computer screen here and the very latest numbers out of Florida, as we hear all about this recount, about 1,800 votes separates Gore and Bush and you get 96,000. And the question is whether history is going to regard you as a spoiler no matter what you say today?

RALPH NADER (G), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, as I've said, Frank, you can't spoil a system that's spoiled to the core. There are millions of people out there who are not going to be taken for granted anymore, even though quite a few of them voted for the least worst holding their nose when they went to the poll.

But a far greater number didn't even bother voting.

I mean I can make and you can make an analysis from different directions as to why the Florida vote is so close. It could be that George W. Bush took off Sunday, 10 days before the election. It could be that it didn't end in Florida and went back to Austin the day of the election while Al Gore was all over the place on election day.

There are a lot of reasons. But I think if George W. Bush doesn't become president, he's going to say to himself I took off too many days.

SESNO: Nationally, you set a mission to receive five percent of the votes so that you could receive funding in 2004. You got three percent. Mission failed?

NADER: Well, we didn't get five percent, but I think funding is a convenience, not a necessity. Building a new third party and a political reform movement really requires citizen grit and willpower and creativity and stamina. Those are far more important. That's what we're going to be building.

SESNO: Independent candidate Patrick Buchanan conceded the obvious, because he got very few votes, and said that in his view the best man won because if you're looking at a variety of issues to include who's going to appoint whom to the Supreme Court, George W. Bush, in his view, not won, but he believes that George W. Bush will win, at least that's what he favors. That's the outcome that he thinks is the best outcome. What outcome do you think is the best outcome?

NADER: I think that the permanent corporate government in Washington won with either one of them. Twenty-two thousand lobbyists swarming over the city backed by all kinds of power in the commercial lobbying area, 9,000 PACs. I mean we all know who runs this city. This, check off each department agency.

Who do you think has the greatest influence on the auto safety agency or the FAA or the Food and Drug Administration or the defense or the bankers on Treasury or the bankers on the Federal Reserve?

I can't understand, Frank, why the press, which documents the permanent corporate government in one power play and abuse and buy and sell and rent politicians, why they don't recognize that that's the real issue here, not the horse race between Bore -- Gore and Bush, who seem to be racing to get into the White House to see which one of them is going to take the marching orders from their corporate pay masters.

SESNO: Well, certainly, Ralph Nader, you have raised a lot of issues in this campaign and you are a presence to contend with and we appreciate that and I'm sure we'll be back to you. So thanks for your time today.

NADER: Thank you very much, Frank.

SESNO: Appreciate it.

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