Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader rallies in Bexley

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Another Presidential candidate visited Columbus today. But he has virtually no chance of winning the White House. Independent candidate Ralph Nader rallied supporters in Bexley.

The smell of popcorn popping and sodas bubbling filled the air at the Drexel Theatre. But the 150 people who came through the doors were not lined up to watch Woody Allen’s film Vicky Cristina Barcelona. They were there to hear the Independent presidential candidate.

At 74 years of age, Ralph Nader is the oldest presidential candidate. This year marks his fourth official time to run for the White House.

What Nader calls one his biggest issues is a crackdown on corporate crime, fraud and abuse. He said he wants a democracy reflecting the constitution’s preamble which starts with “we the people” not “we the corporations.”

“We want a law and order campaign against the corporate capitalists. Where they are expected to obey common rules of decency and not exploit their workers and their consumers and then be bailed out by the taxpayers when their greed becomes too extreme,” Nader said.

And Nader partly blames big business for the foreclosure crisis which he says was “entirely preventable.” The most recent figures show Ohio with the fifth highest foreclosure rate in the country, with one in 375 homes having received a foreclosure filing. He suggested people facing a pending foreclosure become tenants in their own homes.

“And so that they become tenants in their own home and after a number of months when the situation is stabilized they can receive a re-negotiated mortgage within their monthly means of payment. That will keep them in their homes and it will resolve the problem with the penalty being shifted to the mortgage and financing industries where it belongs,” he said.

Melissa Hill drove 104 miles from Richmond, Indiana to hear Nader speak. She said health care is her big issue.

“As a new mother one of the biggest issues for me is health care. And the Nader-Gonzalez campaign is the only campaign, you know, major campaign, running that I like that really speaks to me that is for single-payer national health care,” Hill said.

Nader favors a Canadian-style single payer health care system. Under the system, costs would be controlled in part by a single payer that negotiates fees and makes bulk purchases.

Nader said he also wants to increase the minimum wage by about $4. “Full Medicare for everybody with free choice of doctor and hospital and private delivery of health care. Second, a living way restoring the wages of minimum wage workers to the level adjusted for inflation of what it was in 1968, that would make it $10 an hour today,” Nader said.

On the Iraq war…Nader wants the troops out by the middle of 2009.

“We want a six month negotiated withdrawal of all U.S. military and corporate forces from Iraq with U.N. sponsored election in that interim, continued humanitarian aid for the Iraqis whose country we have so significantly destroyed,” Nader said.

Tim Kelly of New Albany listened to most of Nader’s speech. He said he’s undecided on a candidate. Kelly said he went to the Obama-Biden rally in Dublin a couple of weeks ago.

“I’d like to see all the choices and hear what they have to say before I make up my mind,” Kelly said.

Capital University is just across the street from the Drexel. So student Trent Lomen, who is minoring in political science, decided to walk over.

“No, I’m going to vote for Obama. But you were just interested in what he had to say?. Yeah, yeah. So what did you think about it? I thought he was pretty cool. He was pretty independent. He has a lot of free thoughts. But this is America. You’re either with one group or the other so that’s just how it goes,” Lomen said.

Nader ran in 2004 but had no impact on the race. Many believe his minimal but measurable showing in 2000, cost Al Gore the presidency.

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