WASHINGTON — Last February on “Hardball,” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews asked Ralph Nader who he wanted to see running against George W. Bush on the Democratic ticket. He said then, “Kerry and Edwards is better than Bush.”
Last June 22, Nader wrote a letter to Sen. John Kerry, recommending John Edwards to be Kerry’s running mate. He argued that John Edwards has already been vetted, and is "eloquent speaking about 'the two Americas.'"
In an interview scheduled to air Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET, Nader talked about his thoughts on Kerry's decision, and whether a trial lawyer on the ticket signals the beginning of Democrats fighting for justice issues. On Nader’s website Wednesday, he also urged the candidates to fight for tort reform.
Chris Matthews, host: You got your way, Ralph. Do you think this is a ticket that stands up to what you care about?
Ralph Nader, presidential candidate: It will be harder for Democrats to dodge these issues. Republicans have been trying to destroy civil justice, the pillar of our democracy. John Edwards, a trial lawyer knows its importance. Plus, he’s ivory soap with a smile, which is a contrast to the snarling Dick Cheney.
Senator Frist pushed that class action law suits be shifted from the state to the federal courts.
What should be their position?
Nader: Straight out to defeat it. Access to the courts is the only way to fight the Pfizers, and Citigroups… big corporations like these.
Matthews: Edwards’ career as a trial lawyer includes defending the family of a young girl who got sucked down on a drain of a swimming pool because of wrong equipment. Is that the kind of thing Americans should want to be in the VP office?
Nader: Absolutely. The second protest against King George III by our founders was the right of trial by jury.
Matthews: Are you a spoiler in this election?
Nader: Bush is falling in the polls. By the time the polls come, Bush is going to be falling apart… and the margin isn’t even going to affect it.
Bush isn’t even telling us about the casualties in Iraq. Not just those killed in action, but those who actually died in Iraq. Why don’t the Dems challenge that? There’s not much of a national debate when comes to the war. We’re the only anti-war candidacy. Who’s speaking to that in the campaign?
Matthews: Is it possible that the Dems will take the kinds of position you do on product liability, opposing tort reform, etc?
Nader: No. Lip service is the first stage of success, but I doubt they’ll come out for a national mission for solar energy, a $10 living wage, and universal health care.
You didn’t get on the ballot in Arizona.
Are the Democrats playing fair with you?
Nader: We had the right signatures. They filed all kinds of challenges that we could not defend. We couldn’t defend for high legal costs per hour. They were dirty tricks. I told John Kerry, “Your underlings are getting rambunctious, you may be faced with a mini-Watergate.”
Matthews: Are you happy they put on a trial lawyer as a vice presidential candidate?
Nader: I’m pleased. We’re the underdog candidate for the millions of defrauded, wrongfully-laid-off, Americans…
I’m running for those who feel, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” As I say in my new book, you can be a super voter who can’t be fooled and flummoxed by politicians with a silk tongue.
I think the two parties are the servants of corporations… fighting that is the focus of our campaign.