Paul: Reject the major parties, go for a third

September 9, 2008 9:16:20 PM PDT
Libertarian-leaning congressman Ron Paul is urging voters to reject John McCain and Barack Obama and support one of the third-party candidates for president. Paul, a Texas Republican who abandoned his White House bid earlier this year, is gathering some of the candidates, independent Ralph Nader among them, on Wednesday to make his plea.

"The strongest message can be sent by rejecting the two party system," Paul said in prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press. "This can be accomplished by voting for one of the non-establishment, principled candidates."

He recommended Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, former Georgia Republican Rep. Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party, former Georgia Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party and possibly others. He invited them to his news conference Wednesday.

Paul won no primaries in the Republican nomination contest but developed a strong following on the Internet and set a single-day record for raising money online. Thousands attended his protest last week near the GOP convention in St. Paul, Minn.

Some Republicans have been concerned Paul could siphon votes from the party in the same way Democrats accused Nader of doing in 2000 when he ran under the Green Party banner.

But when Nader ran in 2004 as an independent, he garnered just 0.3 percent of the vote from 34 states. The Constitution, Green and Libertarian candidates received even fewer votes. Nader claims he has enough signatures to get on the ballot in 45 states this year.

Nader predicted the gathering of third-party candidates would "raise the eyebrows" of pundits who are skeptical of the viability of independent presidential campaigns. The candidates will agree on several common issues they believe are being ignored by the major parties.

"This is the beginning of the realignment of American politics," Nader said.

Paul espouses limited government and individual responsibility. He is a critic of election laws that he says are designed to prevent third-party candidates from getting on ballots and participating in debates.

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