Friday, July 09, 2004

It looks like Republicans here in my lovely home state have resorted to collecting ballot signatures for Nader in an attempt to sway the state for Bush in November.
July 9, 2004 | LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan Republicans are helping gather signatures to place independent Ralph Nader on the presidential ballot in the battleground state, irritating Democrats who accuse the GOP of trying to pull votes away from candidate John Kerry.

"It's another example of state Republicans willing to try every unethical trick in the book to hold power," Democratic Executive Chairman Mark Brewer said Thursday "This clearly shows that a vote for Ralph Nader is a vote to re-elect George Bush. The Republicans know that, and that's why they are desperate to have Nader on the Michigan ballot."

Michigan Republicans aren't the only ones attempting to swing elections; two former Australian Prime Ministers have criticized U.S. officials for interfering in Australian politics.
The United States has been told to "butt out" of Australian politics by two former prime ministers who accused U.S. officials of trying to sway Australian voters in knife-edge general election due within months.

Top U.S. officials, including President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell, have been pressuring Australia's opposition Labor party to drop a promise to withdraw Australian troops from Iraq if it won polls tipped for October.

Conservative Prime Minister John Howard, a close U.S. ally, wants the troops to stay until the "job is done." A poll showed he has the backing of two-thirds of Australians, but the row has created a sharp political divide.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage stepped up criticism this week, telling Australian reporters in Washington that he believed center-left Labor was split on its policy to withdraw Australia's 850 troops in and around Iraq by Christmas.

With Labor polling neck-and-neck with the eight-year-old Liberal/National government, former Labor prime minister Paul Keating and former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Fraser condemned U.S. interference in Australian politics.

"The intervention, not only of Richard Armitage but his bosses, in our political scene, I think, are quite unforgivable," Fraser, who was prime minister between 1975 and 1983, told Australian television late on Thursday.

"He's (Armitage) doing it for a very specific purpose -- to try and achieve a specific outcome that the United States wants. If it had been in older times, American officials would have been told to butt out."