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WASHINGTON - Ralph Nader announced a fresh bid for the White House on Sunday, criticizing the top contenders as too close to big business and dismissing the possibility that his third-party candidacy could tip the election to Republicans.
The longtime consumer advocate is still loathed by many Democrats who accuse him of costing Al Gore the 2000 election.
Nader said most people are disenchanted with the Democratic and Republican parties due to a prolonged Iraq war and a shaky economy. "You take that framework of people feeling locked out, shut out, marginalized, disrespected," he said.
Nader, who turns 74 this week, announced his candidacy on NBC's Meet the Press.
In a later interview with the Associated Press, he rejected the notion of himself as a spoiler candidate, saying the electorate will not vote for a "pro-war John McCain." He also predicted his campaign would do better than in 2004, when he won just 0.3 percent of the vote as an independent. He won 2.7 percent of the national vote as the Green Party candidate in 2000.
Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clintonportrayed his announcement as having little impact. Clinton called Nader's announcement a "passing fancy," and Obama dismissed him as a perennial presidential campaigner.
Mccain gains: Republican Party members in Puerto Rico awarded all 20 delegates at stake Sunday in the presidential contest to Arizona Sen. John McCain. On Saturday, he picked up all nine delegates awarded by the GOP in American Samoa, as well as the nine delegates from the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. He now has 998 delegates; it takes 1,191 to win the nomination.
[Last modified February 24, 2008, 22:02:19]