WASHINGTON – Among the debate topics: Should Ralph run for president? The participants: Howard Dean (search) and a candidate who always has an opinion on the subject — independent Ralph Nader (search).
Dean, the former Democratic presidential hopeful who attracted legions of liberal followers before his bid fizzled out, will debate Nader for 90 minutes on July 9 before a studio audience.
National Public Radio's weekly program "Justice Talking" is sponsoring the debate, and correspondent Margot Adler will moderate.
Dean has been urging his supporters not to back Nader, but to stay within the Democratic fold and vote for John Kerry (search).
"I am anxious to debate Ralph Nader in order to speak about why he wants to run for president," Dean said in a statement. "This is the most important election in my lifetime and a third party candidate could make a difference — this November and for years to come."
Many Democrats blame Nader's last run for the presidency for stealing votes from Al Gore (search) in the 2000 election. Nader says Democrats have only themselves to blame for losing.
"This is an opportunity to discuss how to reinvigorate our democracy by providing voters with more choices and voices rather than our anemic two party corporate duopoly," Nader said in a statement.
Dean is currently the honorary chair of Democracy for America, a political action committee dedicated to supporting and raising money for fiscally conservative, socially progressive candidates at all levels of government.