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GOP SUDDENLY NADER'S FRIEND

07/02/2004
on 7/2/04.

Democrats want Ralph Nader to fade away. But Republicans want to do what they can to help get the independent presidential candidate on the ballot in as many states as possible -- and especially in battleground states like Wisconsin.

Nader has a similar mindset. After losing the backing of the Green Party in Milwaukee last weekend, Nader is going after anyone who will back him (including the Reform Party, which endorsed Pat Buchanan in 2000.) Starting Aug. 1, Nader has five weeks to collect 2,000 signatures to get on the Wisconsin ballot.

Citizens for a Sound Economy, the conservative organization that works for lower taxes and on economic issues, is gearing up in Wisconsin for Nader. Cameron Sholty, the state director for CSE, said there are about 6,200 members in Wisconsin. Specifically, Sholty said plans are still in development, but as he becomes aware of signature-gathering events that Nader supporters are holding, "I'm certainly going to let my membership know about those events."

Republicans, Sholty said, "think it's a great idea that Nader is on the ballot." Sholty said he doesn't necessarily think Nader will draw voters from Kerry, but says it is "illuminating to place Ralph Nader on the ballot next to John Kerry," to show that their record on CSE's issues are similar.

"On those key economic issues, there is no difference between Ralph Nader and John Kerry," Sholty declared.

As a 501(c)4 organization, named for the portion of the tax code the group falls under, there can be no coordination between CSE and any campaign. "In no way, shape or form, have we, will we or can we talk to any of the campaigns -- including Kerry, Nader, Cobb or Bush."

Of course, just to be extra safe: "Everything we do and everything we have done to this point has been vetted with outside legal counsel."