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Opinion: Ralph Nader, cranky and California-bound

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Presidential candidate Ralph Nader -- yes, he’s still running -- is unhappy that he’s been denied a voice at Friday’s first presidential debate at the University of Mississippi. So starting hours before the match-up, he and vice presidential running mate Matt Gonzalez will campaign in Los Angeles and along the California coast to decry ‘the unjust, restrictive, and undemocratic Commission on Presidential Debates.’

According to the California Peace and Freedom Party nominee, who expects to be on the ballot in at least 45 states:

‘The CPD, a corporation headed since its inception by two former chairs of the Democratic and Republican parties, shuts third-party candidates away from public view, maintaining a stranglehold on the two-party system and stifling the political conversation in this country.’

For the record, Bob Barr’s people aren’t happy with the CPD either.

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The Nader/Gonzalez ticket’s popularity in the polls is paltry. But some surveys show it pulling potentially significant numbers in battleground states -- deja vu for Democrats who still blame Nader for Al Gore’s loss to President Bush in 2000.

Perhaps an indication of their hopes of drawing support from young adults, Nader and Gonzalez will hold a rally at USC on Friday, the day of the debate between John McCain and Barack Obama, and then head to UC San Diego and Encinitas on Saturday, UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Sunday, Monterey Peninsula College on Monday and San Francisco State on Tuesday.

-- Seema Mehta

Photo credit: Dave Allocca / Reuters


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