updated 6/23/2004 12:58:58 PM ET 2004-06-23T16:58:58

Democrat John Kerry is getting some advice on his choice for vice resident from an unlikely source: rival Ralph Nader.

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In an open letter sent Wednesday, the independent presidential candidate urged Kerry to choose John Edwards as his running mate, saying the North Carolina senator and former trial lawyer has been thoroughly vetted and is committed to protecting the right of consumers to sue corporations that harm them.

“(Edwards) has already gone through a primary campaign and has his rhythm and oratory (the two Americas speech) all well-honed,” Nader wrote to Kerry. “After a slow start, Sen. Edwards closed fast and has won praise from the media.”

Edwards, the last Democrat to bow out after Kerry’s series of primary wins, won several large verdicts before he was elected to the Senate. Nader said Edwards is committed to preserving a civil justice system that is under attack by “corporate supremacists.”

And while Kerry may decide to take the advice, Zeese said there is no quid pro quo.

“It doesn’t mean Nader is going to drop out,” he said.

On Tuesday, Nader had a testy meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus in which he rejected their pleas for him to quit the race. A day earlier, Nader announced that he had selected Peter Camejo, a longtime Green Party activist, as his running mate.

The Kerry campaign declined to comment on Nader’s vice presidential suggestion.

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