Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

May 29, 2009


Washington Post - Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader went public with an allegation that Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe offered his campaign money to stay off the ballot in key states during the 2004 elections -- a disclosure timed to raise questions about McAuliffe's fitness for public office.

"Terry McAuliffe is slipperier than an eel in olive oil," Nader said in an interview.

He said McAuliffe, who was the Democratic National Committee chairman at the time, had offered Nader's campaign an unspecified amount of money, believed to be party funds, to spend in 31 states in exchange for an agreement to withdraw from 19 battleground states where he could potentially hurt Democrat John Kerry. . .

The accusation against McAuliffe was first disclosed in a new book, "Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny," by Theresa Amato, who was Nader's national campaign manager in 2000 and 2004.

Nader and Amato were on the phone with McAuliffe, according to the book, when he said: "Ralph, I would love for you to be running for president in 31 states; the issue is these 19 states where a vote for you is a vote for Bush."

"But what started as a seeming financial proposition being put on the table charged into a directive with each repetition of 'stay out of 19 states,' " Amato wrote. "McAuliffe alternated between dictating to Ralph the terms and cajoling him, saying to Ralph, 'You'd be a . . . hero,' " she wrote.

Nader and Amato said McAuliffe never mentioned how much money he would provide or where exactly it would come from, but they assumed that he was offering Democratic Party money. Nader said he refused the offer immediately.


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