WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Ralph Nader, who announced an independent bid for the White House earlier this week, named Matt Gonzalez, the former president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, his running mate today.
Gonzalez, Nader said, is "unwavering in his principles and committed to his politics with clear eloquence and humane logic."
"He's demonstrated - through his legal, civic, and political career - his steadfast commitment to the values and directions that have characterized my work and hopes for our country and its role in the world," Nader added
Gonzalez served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors until 2005 and also ran for mayor against current mayor Gavin Newsom in 2003, losing 53 to 47 percent.
He said, "I have no illusions about what is happening here today. I understand what stands before us. But let me also say, I have never run in a political contest with the idea that it couldn't be won."
"There are those that are going to say that what we doing is going to take votes from other candidates," Gonzalez added. "There is nothing that we can do that can force anybody to vote for us but we very much want the opposite not to be true. That anybody who wants to vote for us should not be forced to vote for other candidates."
Gonzalez began his remarks by saying "it's not lost on me that I am not a familiar face to the Washington press corps" before launching to into an introduction of his background and accomplishments. He noted that after three years on the San Franciso Board of Supervisors he was nominated for the board's presidency, which he maintained was "a testament to my integrity and ability to work with politicians of differing political ideas."
Prior to 2000, Gonzalez worked as a deputy public defender, an experience which he says greatly shaped his political policies.
He also outlined three "three broad areas" Nader's candidacy will focus on: election reform, poverty, and the war in Iraq. Nader and Gonzalez previously worked on an anti-war tour in 2005.
Today, Gonzalez went after John McCain and Barack Obama on Iraq, saying McCain "has, in effect, been calling for perpetual war, permanaent occupation and while we appreciate his candor, Mr. Nader and I simply do not agree that that is the appropraite policy for the region." He also argued against Obama's unwillingness to commit to withdraw all U.S. troops by 2013.
On their '08 rivals, both men had sharp words. Gonzalez argued, "any progressive in the United States can't help but have some sense of positive feeling when they see an African American or a woman" successful in a presidential race. But he argued that these candidates' progressive rhetoric does not match their records,
Nader said of both Democratic candidates, "they are talking very populist.
"When you are desperate and about to lose your job you do your best work," Nader said in a veiled reference to Hillary Clinton.
Nader also made it official that "we are not going to seek the Green Party nomination" which "has four announced candidates -- very articulate candidates." Instead, it's likely they will run as independents and not affiliated officially with any currently existing third-party.