Nader criticizes gambling on campaign stop |

Nader criticizes gambling on campaign stop


LAS VEGAS – Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader made his first campaign appearance Sunday in Nevada, denouncing gambling and calling a proposed nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain a “boondoggle.”

During an appearance at a downtown Las Vegas library, Nader said he opposed putting nuclear waste at Yucca long before Democratic hopeful John Kerry began using the issue in the campaign.

“We have opposed this for years,” Nader said about the repository being built 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. “It is geologically vulnerable.”

Nader, who ran for president in 2000, was in Las Vegas as part of a 10-state campaign swing.

Nader said he expects to be on the ballot in 40 states. He managed in July to get the necessary signatures to be on the Nevada ballot.

Nader has been promoting a rapid withdrawal from Iraq, health care for all Americans, a living wage for all full-time employees and a crackdown on corporate crime.

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He maintained the war in Iraq was based on fabrications, deceptions and lies.

Nader criticized gambling – Nevada’s lifeblood – and said there should be a gross receipts tax on gambling companies.

“No presidential candidate should visit Las Vegas without condemning organized gambling,” he said. It’s the “seduction of people who come here as hopefuls and leave here as losers.

“This leads to a psychology where people are betting on the future instead of building their future.”

Nader urged Nevada to diversify its economy, and take advantage of its sunny weather by developing solar energy as an economic alternative.

Democrats asked Nader not to run because they thought he would take away votes from Kerry.

Recent polls show President Bush and Kerry locked in a tight Nevada contest, with Nader getting 2 percent to 4 percent of the support in this battleground state.

In 2000, Bush got 49.5 percent of the Nevada vote compared with Democrat Al Gore’s 46 percent.

Nader got 2.5 percent of the state as a Green Party candidate.

It’s unlikely Nader will win in November, but that hasn’t stopped the consumer advocate from trying.

“I don’t tilt at windmills,” he said. “I want windmills.”