The following is the Ralph Nader response to Tuesday (10/7) night's debate between John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL). Nader is running independently for the U.S. presidency, and he will be on the ballot in at least 45 states. His statement was given to an event held in Winsted Connecticut:
"There's actually alot of space on that debate stage. The Debate Commission is the company created by the Republican and Democratic parties in 1987 to get rid of the sponsorship by the League of Women Voters, because they thought the League was too independent. And so, my two competitors decide who tens of millions of people in this country can see on that stage.
Which is why people in Western democracies can hardly believe how we manage these kinds of political processes. Every major national poll has said that they want me, by name, on those presidential debates. In 2000, 2004, and 2008.
Now, one of the reasons why they don't want me or other third parties on the debate is what was excluded tonight -- you'll know -- excluded tonight was any mention of the Wall Street bailout, because both McCain and Obama supported it.
Excluded was any mention of cracking down on corporate crime, fraud, and abuse which is looting trillions of dollars in worker pensions and from investors and environmental violations, because both McCain and Obama have no platform on how to crack down on corporate crime, waste, and abuse.
You'll notice they talked about what to do about credit -- heavy credit and debt. One way is to have a living wage for workers. Workers go into debt because one out of three of them are making Wal-Mart wages. There was no mention of how to cut the deficit by getting rid of corporate subsidies -- hand outs; give aways. Because both McCain and Obama don't have a policy on living wage, and they don't have a policy against -- cutting off taxpayer subsidies to the fat cat corporations around the country.
There was no mention at all of the Palestinian people. It's like they're non-persons. And, if you look at the debate and you ask, "How many times did McCain and Obama really agree with each other?" Even though they didn't use the word -- it was overwhelming. Whether it's on Iran; Pakistan; on Russia;
Whether it deals with nuclear power; which they both want to re-introduce in this country -- even though it requires 100% taxpayer loan guarantee before any nuclear power plant is built because Wall Street will not fund such a risky form of energy.
Even on energy, they quibble about "Well, who voted for what?" But they all want an equal smorgasbord, don't they? A little bit of nuclear, oil, gas, solar, conservation. But there are important forms of energy that are much better than other forms of energy. Namely, something they hardly mentioned: energy efficiency. For more motor vehicle fuel efficiency; lighting; heating; air conditioning.
It's really quite distracting to the American people to have to sit here three times and watch debates that are almost "ditto" debates. Did you watch the first debate? It's incredible how repetitious their statements are, and how similar the questions are.
Now, why are the questions so similar? Because they select the questions. So these aren't really debates, as the gentleman just mentioned -- they're just parallel interviews.
Now, what we should do in the future is have large coalitions of national citizen groups, like League of Women Voters, neighborhood groups, labor groups, religious groups, environmental groups, all kinds of coalitions getting together and setting the stage for presidential debates. So that the people summon the presidential candidates in April of a presidential year, or May, and say "Here is your post-Labor Day schedule; and you're going to go from Boston to San Diego. You're going from Seattle to Miami." That way, the people shape the agenda, shape the presidential debates, and they're not simply spectators -- which they are now left just being spectators.
"Who won? Who won?" It's WHAT won. WHAT lost. I think the people lost. And I think big business won. I think militarism won. I think corporate tax loopholes won. I think labor lost. I think consumers lost. I think people who have to pay to these credit card gougers, and these high gasoline prices and these high medical prices and drugs by companies that are subsidized by your tax dollars -- I think they lost. The people lost.
So this is my debate here, in Winsted Connecticut. Thank you very much."