GOP sponsors Nader ads that criticize Gore

By LAURA MECKLER

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – In a pre-election twist, Republicans are buying TV ads featuring Ralph Nader in states where votes for the Green Party candidate might tip the outcome to George W. Bush.

The ads use clips of Nader attacking Democrat Al Gore, although he was equally critical of Bush in the same speech. Republicans hope the commercials will help Bush by persuading would-be Gore voters to back Nader instead.

Democrats suggested that the ads, produced by the Republican Leadership Council, will backfire if voters turned off by deceptive politics learn who is behind them. And the GOP ads could reinforce the argument that a vote for Nader amounts to a vote for Bush.

Polls show Nader, a longtime consumer activist who concedes he can’t win, has support of 5 percent or more in a half-dozen states including California, which is crucial to Gore with its top prize of 54 electoral votes.

The conventional wisdom is that because Nader is more liberal than either Bush or Gore, his supporters would otherwise vote Democratic.

The new Republican ads are to begin airing Monday in Washington, Oregon and Wisconsin, states that are part of Gore’s base and where Nader is polling well. The Republican Leadership Council plans to spend at least $100,000 and hopes to raise more over the weekend to increase the ad buy.

The GOP ad takes sound bites from a Nader speech to the National Press Club Wednesday.

“Al Gore is suffering from election year delusion if he thinks his record on the environment is anything to be proud of,” Nader says. An announcer interjects: “What’s Al Gore’s real record?” Nader says: “Eight years of principles betrayed and promises broken.”

Nader has been equally critical of Bush, calling him “a big corporation running for president disguised as a person.”

Advertising experts say they can’t recall another time when a major party organization has run ads helpful to a minor party candidate.

The effort might backfire, said Darrell West, who studies political ads at Brown University and predicted many voters will see it as cynical and opportunistic.

“Even politicians don’t want to come across as being too opportunistic,” he said.

Bush advisers say they’re concerned that the ads will remind voters that supporting Nader helps Bush, and they fear a backlash if voters assume that Bush is behind the tactic.

The Republican Leadership Council has been helpful to Bush before, airing ads during the primaries critical of challenger Steve Forbes. Many on the council board were early Bush supporters. But Mark Miller, the group’s executive director, said the Bush campaign had nothing to do with the new ad.

The Gore campaign labeled the ads deceptive. Vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman said he was confident the public won’t be fooled.

The Gore campaign has been taking Nader more seriously in recent days. Gore addressed Nader’s candidacy directly on Thursday, and Lieberman courted Nader supporters in Washington and Oregon yesterFday.

“I ask you to think how you would feel when you wake up Nov. 8 and Bush has carried Oregon,” Lieberman told a voter he met in Portland.

At a news conference in Des Moines, Iowa, Nader said only that outside groups have the right to run the ads.

“I’m sure the two parties in their desperation are now trying to use different people against their opponents. That usually happens. You can’t stop it. This is America,” he said.

Nader has had to repeatedly defend himself against those who argue that his candidacy will help Bush.

The Republican-sponsored ads will run initially in four markets: Seattle; Eugene and Portland, Ore.; and Madison, Wis.

Nader appears to be hurting Gore most in Oregon, where Bush has a small lead while Nader ahas attracted as much as 10 percent support. Nader is attracting about 5 percent in Washington and Wisconsin polls, although Gore still leads Bush.

Meanwhile, some Nader supporters are getting anxious about the possibility of costing Gore the election. A Web site is urging those who live in swing states to become “Nader traders” by agreeing to vote for Gore if a Gore-supporting friend who lives in another state agrees to vote for Nader.

And groups that support abortion rights, gay rights and the environment are setting out on a five-state tour next week arguing that a vote for Nader helps Bush.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Traffic idles while waiting for the lights to change along 33rd Avenue West on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lynnwood seeks solutions to Costco traffic boondoggle

Let’s take a look at the troublesome intersection of 33rd Avenue W and 30th Place W, as Lynnwood weighs options for better traffic flow.

A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Death of Everett boy, 4, spurs questions over lack of Amber Alert

Local police and court authorities were reluctant to address some key questions, when asked by a Daily Herald reporter this week.

The new Amazon fulfillment center under construction along 172nd Street NE in Arlington, just south of Arlington Municipal Airport. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210708
Frito-Lay leases massive building at Marysville business park

The company will move next door to Tesla and occupy a 300,0000-square-foot building at the Marysville business park.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
1 dead in motorcycle crash on Highway 522 in Maltby

Authorities didn’t have any immediate details about the crash that fully blocked the highway Friday afternoon.

A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett mom charged with first-degree murder in death of son, 4

On Friday, prosecutors charged Janet Garcia, 27, three weeks after Ariel Garcia went missing from an Everett apartment.

Dr. Mary Templeton (Photo provided by Lake Stevens School District)
Lake Stevens selects new school superintendent

Mary Templeton, who holds the top job in the Washougal School District, will take over from Ken Collins this summer.

A closed road at the Heather Lake Trail parking lot along the Mountain Loop Highway in Snohomish County, Washington on Wednesday, July 20, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Mountain Loop Highway partially reopens Friday

Closed since December, part of the route to some of the region’s best hikes remains closed due to construction.

Emma Dilemma, a makeup artist and bikini barista for the last year and a half, serves a drink to a customer while dressed as Lily Munster Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, at XO Espresso on 41st Street in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
After long legal battle, Everett rewrites bikini barista dress code

Employees now have to follow the same lewd conduct laws as everyone else, after a judge ruled the old dress code unconstitutional.

The oldest known meteor shower, Lyrid, will be falling across the skies in mid- to late April 2024. (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)
Clouds to dampen Lyrid meteor shower views in Western Washington

Forecasters expect a storm will obstruct peak viewing Sunday. Locals’ best chance at viewing could be on the coast. Or east.

AquaSox's Travis Kuhn and Emerald's Ryan Jensen an hour after the game between the two teams on Sunday continue standing in salute to the National Anthem at Funko Field on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
New AquaSox stadium downtown could cost up to $120M

That’s $40 million more than an earlier estimate. Alternatively, remodeling Funko Field could cost nearly $70 million.

Downtown Everett, looking east-southeast. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20191022
5 key takeaways from hearing on Everett property tax increase

Next week, City Council members will narrow down the levy rates they may put to voters on the August ballot.

Everett police officers on the scene of a single-vehicle collision on Evergreen Way and Olivia Park Road Wednesday, July 5, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Photo provided by Everett Police Department)
Everett man gets 3 years for driving high on fentanyl, killing passenger

In July, Hunter Gidney crashed into a traffic pole on Evergreen Way. A passenger, Drew Hallam, died at the scene.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.