Sept. 11, 2004
Addressing about 175 mostly youthful supporters in a Philadelphia church, Nader said he would rather talk about the far larger number of Americans killed annually by poverty, hunger, pollution, dangerous jobs or poor access to quality health care.
"Who weeps for these people?" he asked, before quipping that it would take a press release from al-Qaida to get Democrats and Republicans to pay attention to the nation's pressing social ills.
The consumer advocate turned perennial third-party presidential candidate made a three-city swing through Pennsylvania on Saturday, saying he would continue to campaign in the state, despite uncertainty over whether he will appear on its presidential ballot.
Democrats sympathetic to John Kerry have waged a so-far successful legal battle to have Nader barred from the ballot here.
A panel of three judges upheld a challenge to Nader's candidacy, ruling that state law barred him from running as an independent because he had accepted the nomination of the national Reform Party in May. State law bars anyone affiliated with a political party from running as an independent in the same election cycle.
Nader's attorneys are appealing the decision, and he said Saturday that he would continue fighting to have the decision overturned - even if such court action comes too late to help him in 2004.
Leaving such a ruling in place, he said, would be too harmful to future third-party campaigns, which he said are vital if the nation is to improve a political system he says is beholden to big companies.
"If we do not engage in the political process," he said, "the corporations will run away with it."
In Philadelphia, en route to Harrisburg and Pittsburgh later Saturday, Nader delivered a stump speech calling for a dramatic increase in the minimum wage, development of a universal health care system, stricter anti-pollution rules, and a major reduction in the size of the U.S. military, including a quick withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.
Nader also called on the major parties to "end the politics of fear," saying that, despite the terrorist attacks of 2001, the U.S. had "no major enemy" in the world to fight.