Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader said Friday that he wants to force discussion of issues and open the political process up to more third-party candidates.
Nader, who has appeared on at least one state's presidential ballot four times since 1992, has petitioned to appear on South Carolina's ballot in November.
Nader appeared in Columbia on Friday, promising he would campaign in every state.
Nader's campaign is focusing on three issues in particular -- granting all U.S. citizens health-care through Medicare; requiring employers to pay a "living wage" of at least $10 an hour; and setting a six-month deadline to withdraw from Iraq.
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"They represent a minority viewpoint," Nader said of the positions of Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama on those issues. "We represent a majority of the American people."
U.S. energy policy needs to focus more on efficiency and conservation, Nader said, adding he would oppose construction of new nuclear power plants. McCain and Obama have said they support more use of nuclear power.
Nader also would work to open presidential debates to more third-party candidates. The corporation that control the debates, established by the Republican and Democratic parties, excludes other candidates, he said. In addition, Nader said, U.S. states make it more difficult to get on a ballot than most European countries.
"It's a tragic scandal," said Nader, who expects to petition his way onto ballots in 45 states.
Nader submitted the signatures of roughly 18,000 registered S.C. voters to the State Election Commission earlier this month. According to agency spokesman Chris Whitmire, local election boards have verified about 3,000 signatures so far. Nader needs 10,000 signatures to appear on the S.C. ballot.
About 5,500 South Carolinians voted for Nader in 2004, or 1 percent of the total votes cast.