Democrats' Race Heats Up; Nader Announces Bid The battle between Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama took a nasty turn over the weekend. On the Republican side, front-runner John McCain seems to have weathered media scrutiny over his relationship with a lobbyist. And Ralph Nader says he'll run for president again as an independent candidate.
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Democrats' Race Heats Up; Nader Announces Bid

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Democrats' Race Heats Up; Nader Announces Bid

Democrats' Race Heats Up; Nader Announces Bid

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: Joining us now as she does each Monday is NPR news analyst Cokie Roberts. Cokie, good morning.

COKIE ROBERTS: Good morning, Steve.

: Well, Hillary Clinton has lost the last several contests to Barack Obama. Eleven in a row, I believe. What does she do now?

ROBERTS: I had the opportunity to interview Billie Jean King recently, and she said, you know, I see my whole life going down the drain. You know, a cute, young guy comes in and sweeps away all the hard work that the older woman has done, and there is a lot of that sentiment out there and I think that if Mrs. Clinton can tap it, that might be something. She also has to hold the Hispanic vote, although that seems to be eroding according the polls. And she seems to be floundering around looking for some theme that works while attacking Obama - over the weekend she said, shame on you, Barack Obama, sounding kind of like everybody's mom.

: Well, is Obama giving her any openings?

ROBERTS: There's also some warning signals in the voters he is attracting. I mean the big African American turnout is very helpful and that will be helpful in the general elections, the reliable Democratic vote. But the independent vote is not and often doesn't show up. The same thing is true about young people. And even white men, who he's been attracting of late, are certainly not reliable Democratic voters though. They tend to vote Republican - almost overwhelmingly Republican. So, you know, there are some big warning signs for the Democratic Party in these primaries.

: And Democrats who are already worried about being unified in the fall now have to think about Ralph Nader again.

ROBERTS: I don't think they have to think too hard about Ralph Nader.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROBERTS: His vote went from 2.7 percent in 2000 to 0.3 percent in 2004. And Democrats are still mad at him because they think that his votes in Florida in 2000 made the difference in the presidential campaign. I mean they say, you know, he gave us Justices Roberts and Alito. But he - he says it's all about ballot access. There's a good deal of evidence it's all about ego.

: So Nader says he's going to be running, Clinton and Obama still running hard, and on the Republican side, John McCain is trying to get past this report of the New York Times looking at his past dealings with lobbyists.

ROBERTS: Well, the New York Times story, for the moment, has redounded against the New York Times. There's a lot of criticism of the paper, including by its own public editor, but that has focused mainly on the innuendos about a sexual relationship between McCain and this female lobbyist. Other news organizations have now picked up the theme of McCain's dealings with lobbyists, and whether that has any legs, as they say, going into the general election, we'll see. Probably not would be my guess.

: Okay. That's analysis, as we get every Monday morning, from NPR's Cokie Roberts.

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