updated 5/24/2004 2:06:49 PM ET 2004-05-24T18:06:49

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader said Sunday he had advised John Kerry to choose North Carolina Sen. John Edwards or Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt as his running mate on the Democratic ticket.

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Kerry won’t discuss whom he is considering for vice president, but his advisers have been examining Edwards and Gephardt, two of Kerry’s rivals from the Democratic primaries.

“They’re very careful,” Nader said on ABC’s “This Week.” “They’re not going to cause him any embarrassment. And they do bring an additional voter support for him.”

Kerry met with Nader in Washington on Wednesday, but didn’t ask the third-party candidate to quit the presidential race despite widespread Democratic fears that his candidacy could ensure President Bush’s re-election.

McCain rejected
Nader rejected the idea of Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona joining Kerry’s ticket. Kerry has repeatedly praised McCain and many in Washington have speculated about the appeal of a Kerry-McCain ticket, but Nader said: “McCain really should be taken at his word. ... He’s not going to do it.”

Nader also said he wouldn’t support Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh for vice president because “he’s a very soft Democrat.”

Later on the same program, Bayh responded, “I’m happy he’s not registered to vote in Indiana.”

While others debated Kerry’s choice of running mate Sunday, the Massachusetts senator watched the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-2, at Fenway Park.

A reporter for New England Sports Network asked Kerry if he had considered Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra for his running mate. “That would be really big, wouldn’t it?” Kerry said.

“I was thinking of Damon before he shaved, you know,” Kerry joked, referring to famously hirsute Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon. “He could’ve had the whole thing going for him.”

Asked what he would do if the Red Sox were playing in the World Series in October, during the home stretch of the presidential race, Kerry said: “I think that would be just perfect. The Sox are there and we’re soaring on the wave of Sox mania that sweeps the nation.”

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