Nader's Running Mate Urges Pro-Obama Students to Rethink Stance
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Category: News > University > Academics and Administration
Addressing an auditorium filled with many students expressing support for another candidate, Matt Gonzalez, running mate of presidential hopeful Ralph Nader, spoke yesterday about reasons not to vote for Barack Obama.
Gonzalez, who was announced in February as Nader's vice presidential choice on the independent ticket, spent most of his time speaking to the Political Science 179 class about what he called Obama's "troubling" voting record.
"I'm picking on Senator Obama ... because your professor told me this is a pretty strong Obama crowd," Gonzalez said. "It says something about a candidate that can stand in front of you and repeatedly say, 'I can change the culture of Washington, (D.C.)' ... without giving you an accounting of what is going on here. What are these votes about?"
Gonzalez was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2000, which he served on as a member and later a president until 2005, helping deal with a budget that is larger than that of some states.
In 2003, he came within a close margin when he ran against Gavin Newsom for mayor of San Francisco.
Students posed questions about Gonzalez' position concerning nuclear weapons, the war in Iraq and his work advocating instant runoff voting, a system that allows voters to rank the candidates of their choice.
"One of the reasons I ran with Nader was because I knew that I would be talking about election reform and I have a history of actually instituting that kind of reform," he said.
Many who attended the class said they thought it was interesting for Gonzalez to specifically target his remarks at a mostly pro-Obama audience.
"I enjoyed learning about his standpoint and his views, but I would like to research a bit more before I decide whether or not I agree with them," said freshman Katherine Hasnain.
Gonzalez said he encouraged his audience to reflect on what they know about the candidates before they give them their vote.
"I respect your right to not vote for Ralph Nader, but I hope that some of my remarks today would ... force you to ask some hard questions that maybe you weren't aware of and maybe to do further inquiry."
Angelica Dongallo covers higher education. Contact her at [email protected]
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