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E-M:/ GOP Group To Air Pro - Nader TV Ads

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     GOP Group To Air Pro - Nader TV Ads
     Filed at 11:59 a.m. ET
     WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hoping to boost Ralph Nader in states where he is 
     threatening to hurt Al Gore, a Republican group is launching TV ads 
     featuring Nader attacking the vice president.
     The ads by the Republican Leadership Council will begin airing Monday 
     in Wisconsin, Oregon and Washington, all states that are part of 
     Gore's base and where Nader is polling well. The group plans to spend 
     more than $100,000 at first and hopes to raise more over the weekend.
     While the ads boost Nader, they are a clear attempt to help Bush.
     Gore's supporters fear that Nader, who is more liberal than either 
     Bush or Gore, will throw the election to the Texas governor if voters 
     who might otherwise vote for Gore vote for Nader instead. In a tight 
     national race, one or two states could make the difference in who is 
     elected president.
     The ads feature clips of Nader from a National Press Club speech on 
     Tuesday, where he laid into both Bush and Gore, though the ad only 
     includes his criticism of Gore.
     ``Al Gore is suffering from election year delusion if he thinks his 
     record on the environment is anything to be proud of,'' Nader says. An 
     announcer interjects: ``What's Al Gore's real record?'' Nader says: 
     ``Eight years of principles betrayed and promises broken.''
     Nader has been equally critical, if not more so, of Bush, calling him 
     ``a big corporation running for president disguised as a person.'' But 
     the RLC ads are a clear attempt to help Bush, not Nader.
     A Gore spokesman suggested that the ads may backfire. ``Voters are 
     going to ask why these shadowy groups are running attack ads on behalf 
     of George Bush,'' said Doug Hattaway.
     He added that there are stark differences between Bush and Gore on 
     abortion and the environment, and ``people who are thinking about 
     voting for Nader care deeply about those issues and would not want to 
     see them put at risk by George Bush.''
     Nader, running a low-budget campaign, is not airing any television 
     commercials of his own and it's possible that the RLC will end up 
     spending more on pro-Nader media that Nader himself.
     A spokeswoman for the Green Party nominee said that his campaign had 
     no control over what other organizations do with Nader's speeches.
     ``The tactics of the other two parties are not our concern,'' said 
     spokeswoman Laura Jones.
     Asked if the campaign welcomed the outside help, she added: ``Not 
     really because they (the ads) are misleading in that they don't 
     indicate that we are campaigning against Al Gore and George W. Bush.''
     Nader has had to repeatedly defend himself against people arguing that 
     his candidacy will help Bush. He has responded that it makes little 
     difference whether Bush or Gore is elected and has said he is running 
     to give voters an alternative.
     ``We're building a progressive political movement. That's the most 
     important thing,'' Nader said Friday on ABC's ``Good Morning 
     America.'' ``Whether Gore or Bush gets into the White House doesn't 
     mean that much, because the permanent corporate government in 
     Washington is really determining policy.''
     The Republican Leadership Council, a centrist GOP group, has been 
     helpful to Bush before, airing ads during the Republican primaries 
     critical of challenger Steve Forbes. Several members of the RLC board 
     were early Bush supporters.
     The RLC ads will run initially in four markets: Eugene and Portland, 
     Ore.; Madison, Wis., and Seattle.
     Mark Miller, the group's executive director, said the ads are partly a 
     response to commercials being run by the National Abortion and 
     Reproductive Rights Action League, which argue that a vote for Nader 
     is a vote for Bush.
     ``Ralph Nader doesn't believe that,'' Miller said. ``Ralph Nader and 
     his supporters are not backing down because they believe Al Gore has 
     had numerous broken promises.''
     Miller added that some of Nader's supporters have bragged that Nader 
     has never had help from ``soft money,'' the unrestricted donations 
     used by parties and interest groups.
     ``We'll put an end to that,'' Miller said.

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