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Economic issues at core of Nader's message Seeks crackdown on corporate fraud, abuse

Ralph Nader is perhaps the only presidential candidate not talking about "Joe the plumber" lately.

There were other things on the mind of the consumer advocate, who addressed about 500 people Friday night in Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church on Elmwood Avenue: the escalating price of home heating oil, the "domination" of giant corporations and the federal government's costly bailout of Wall Street.

The financial fallout of the U.S. financial system and the federal government's bailout plan are central points of his presidential campaign, Nader said.

When Congress reconvenes, he would have legislators make the corporate giants pay for their own bailout, instead of "using taxpayer money to bail out the private corporations."

"The taxpayer pays the bill and doesn't have a voice," he said.

Nader estimated that home heating oil prices in just New York state will be about 41 percent higher than last year.

He said he would lean on big oil companies like Shell and Exxon Mobil to donate $5 billion to help fund the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides assistance for low-income families to pay home heating bills.

Nader also blasted corporate giants for the "massive corporate crime wave of the last eight years."

"We need a crackdown on corporation fraud, crime and abuse," he said.

"The domination of giant corporations over our country -- it was never envisioned by our forefathers," he said.

Nader likened presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama to puppets, saying they have no plan to deal with corporate giants "that have power over the American government, power over the economy."

"This campaign is determined to restore the sovereignty of the people over the activities of these corporate giants," he said.

Nader predicted a sizable amount of support from upstate New York, noting that in 2004, his campaign fared well in the region.

"We hope to get a good vote," he said.

"I hope the people of Western New York would vote their conscience and vote for the Nader-Gonzalez campaign," he said.

More information on the Nader/Gonzalez campaign is available at votenader.org.

e-mail: dswilliams@buffnews.com

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