Former presidential candidate and consumer advocate Ralph Nader warned members of the media Wednesday that there’s a “penchant in our culture and our media for placing words above deeds,” when it comes to politicians and politics. At a news conference today, Nader said the recent exchange between U.S. Senator John Kerry, D-Mass. and President George W. Bush is a good example of this cultural trend.
He said Kerry made himself vunerable when he made comments about the military everyone already knows that “the soldiers in Iraq are Hispanic, Black and poor whites,’ who use their military service as a way of upward mobility, Nader said. He said there’s no doubt, Kerry, a Vietnam veteran supports the troops. He said the person who should be questioned about their support of the troops is Bush and his administration. Nader said for three and a half years U.S. soldiers were not given body armor for themselves or their humvees. He estimated 900 lives could have been saved if the administration invested in body armor instead of giving millions of dollars to private contractors like Haliburton. But Bush isn’t the only one who is good at public relations. Nader said Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell is a “public relations genius.” He said she was able to fool the public into thinking she was in favor of including the Green Party candidate for governor, Cliff Thornton, in the debates when that wasn’t her intention at all. Thorton said the letter Rell sent inviting the Green Party into the televised debates was “merely a ploy,” and the Green Party was merely a pawn unable to take the queen. Thornton said she tried to show people of Connecticut that she was a fair person, but by keeping him out of the debates she only hurt the voters by keeping broader view of the issues out of the debates. Nader said that wasn’t the only promise she broke. He said she also promised to repeal the provision in the campaign finance legislation that makes it harder for Green Party candidates to get on the ballot. The provision is being challenged in U.S. District Court by the American Civil Liberties Union. Toward the end of the news conference Nader joked that Rell didn’t have a tough act to follow. Rell was sworn into office more than two years ago while the former governor, John G. Rowland, served time in jail on a federal corruption charge.