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February 19, 2013 / jrintels

Nader Denies He and the Corvair Elected George W. Bush President in 2000

In this 2012 essay by Ralph Nader, he attempts to rebut the claim by auto journalist Paul Ingrassia that because in 1965 Nader rose to fame by calling the Corvair unsafe, and Nader took 100,000 votes in FLA from Al Gore in the disputed presidential election of 2000, that therefore the Corvair and Nader caused George W. Bush to become president. I’m with Nader on this one, but only up to a point. Had the Corvair not made Nader famous, something else would have come along to make him famous. And he still would have run for president in 2000 and taken more than enough votes from Gore to throw the 2000 election to Bush.

But the pearl I found in Nader’s essay was his recounting of his speech to the national convention of CORSA, the Corvair Owners Society of America.  Nader knew that most of the audience loathed him as the “Corvair Killer” and vigorously disagreed with his assessment that the Corvair was unsafe, and instead agreed with the U.S. government studies that called the car “as safe or safer than comparable cars.” So the room was thick with tension as Nader strode to the dais.  His opening line: “There is one thing we can all agree on in this room and that is that you have to be among the best drivers in the world.” The audience roared with laughter.

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