Backers Try to Recruit Nader for President in 2004

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Another Ralph Nader bid for the presidency?

Unbeknownst to Nader, backers of the third-party candidate in 2000 have formed a political action committee to persuade him to run for the White House in 2004.

"If he'd like to give this a try, we can put it together for him," Doug Friedline, the national political director who also managed former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura's 1998 campaign, said Monday. "It takes a lot of time. There is not a network for this."

Nader said through a spokesman that he knows nothing about the draft effort. He did not respond to a question about his plans for 2004.

In 2000, Nader won about 3 percent of the vote as the Green Party's presidential candidate. Some Democratic supporters of Al Gore said Nader cost Gore the presidency, drawing votes from the Democrat in the razor-thin election.

In December, Nader said he will make no quick decisions about a 2004 presidential run because, "I hate long campaigns."

The Nader 2004 Draft Committee has opened offices in New York and San Francisco with plans under way for offices in Washington, New Hampshire and Iowa.

"There are voters who demand a real alternative to President Bush's America," said Brian Crawford, committee chairman.