Hecklers denounced Ralph Nader as a spoiler and "traitor" during his speech in New York yesterday.
But the independent presidential candidate appears to be making little effort to woo swing state voters in the final hours of his campaign, spending most of his time away from the battleground states where Democrats fear he will hurt John F. Kerry.
While Kerry and President Bush frenetically hopscotched from one swing state to another, Nader spoke a block from Wall Street, denouncing the power of corporations. With the New York Stock Exchange as a backdrop, Nader said voters should demand something better than a choice between "terrible" and "horrible." Nader, who was blamed by many Democrats for costing Al Gore the 2000 election, had to speak over hecklers who shouted, "Nader is a traitor."
Over the weekend, he took his antiwar, anti-corporate message to the similarly Democratic states of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Along the way, he stopped in hotly contested New Hampshire and somewhat contested New Jersey. During the 2000 campaign, Nader won 22,000 votes in the Granite State -- enough, Democrats said, to hand the election to Bush.
But on Friday, Nader was in Louisiana and Alabama, two states sure to vote for Bush. Today, he will host a news conference in the District, where he will denounce the lack of supermarkets in Anacostia. From there, he will wind up his campaign at the National Press Club, where his campaign is hosting an election-watching party.
Nader's name is on the ballot in the District and 34 states -- including Florida, Iowa and Wisconsin, but his campaign denied that he is deliberately avoiding swing states. "It's a 50-state campaign," said spokesman Kevin Zeese, who noted that Nader was in Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan last week. "He doesn't believe that you should avoid states just because they're not in contention."
Endorsement Count to Kerry
Kerry appears to have won the battle for newspaper endorsements, heading into today's vote with the support of 208 papers against the 188 backing Bush. More than 60 papers that endorsed the president in the 2000 election are now either supporting Kerry or are sitting this one out, according to a "near-final" survey conducted by the trade publication Editor & Publisher. Fewer than 10 dailies that backed Democrat Al Gore are now supporting Bush. Kerry also had the upper hand when it came to the circulation of papers backing him, enjoying a lead of about 20. 8 million to 14.5 million.
Final Push Online
Both presidential campaigns are making last-minute pushes online. Kerry's campaign yesterday e-mailed its supporters a rousing Web video, urging them to "vote for a new direction for America." The Democratic National Committee is advertising the spot on a number of well-trafficked sites, including Yahoo, CNN.com and AOL.
The spot comes on the heels of a similarly positive video the Bush campaign released last week that features behind-the-scenes campaign footage and endorsements from the president's daughters. The Bush campaign has also upped its online advertising campaign, posting spots on CNN.com and a number of news Web sites based in battleground states. It has also e-mailed supporters in swing states, telling them where their polling places are, along with maps, directions and estimates of how long it will take them to get there -- all in hopes of cutting down on the number of excuses for not casting a ballot.