Assigned to: Robert Samuelson (Newsweek); Jonathan Chait (New Republic). Remember, you have to build it up before you knock it down!
3. Squeezing Ralph: My mother used to give money to Naderite organizations like Public Citizen. She doesn't anymore. Why? She blames Ralph Nader's third-party candidacy for Gore's loss. My mother is not that unusual; there must be hundreds of thousands who are doing the same thing. Are Naderite organizations suffering financially? Immediately following the 2000 election, there was some talk that contributions had dropped off. A few prominent trial lawyers (formerly big Nader funders) vowed to shut their wallets, and Public Citizen actually sent out an extraordinary mailing distancing itself from Nader. But what's happened since? Is Nader's institutional legacy suffering because of his presidential, party-rearranging ambitions? Hard financial info will be difficult to get—Naderite groups are notoriously secretive—but that's why they pay investigative journalists.
Assigned to: Michael Isikoff (Newsweek); David Barstow (New York Times).