Kerry meets with Nader: In one exchange, recounted by a Kerry aide who requested anonymity, Nader complained that the Democratic Party had become too cozy with corporate interests. Kerry replied: "Don't judge me by the people who preceded me. You may have had a disagreement with [President] Bill Clinton, or [former Vice President] Al Gore, or the Democratic leadership in Congress…. but that's not me. I have fought with you, I have been with you on a range of issues, and you should judge me by my record in the Senate." Nader, in a telephone interview after Wednesday's meeting, said Kerry's answer was "a form of music" to his ears. The Kerry aide said the meeting, which lasted more than an hour, was courteous and focused on areas of agreement between the two men. These included discussions about "corporate responsibility," "corporate welfare" and "consumer rights," the aide said. Echoing that assessment, Nader said in a statement that he and Kerry shared a "common determination" to reduce corporate "subsidies, handouts, giveaways," to strengthen bar- gaining rights for nonunion workers and to crack down on "corporate crime, fraud and abuse." The Kerry aide said there had been no substantive talk about a key area of disagreement: the Iraq war...Nader said in the interview that he brought up Iraq with Kerry. He said Kerry told him "he has an exit strategy, and he implied he's going to elaborate on it." The Kerry aide denied that account...Kerry could be "worried that [such support for Nader] might materialize down the road," said Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute of Public Opinion. Tuesday's showing by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) in Oregon's presidential primary may have added to those worries. Kerry easily won, with 81% of the vote. But Kucinich, who has continued to campaign in part to stress an antiwar message, got 17% — by far his best showing in any of this year's primaries.


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