Nader Accuses Clinton-Gore of Wrecking Auto Safety

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

( - Green Party presidential candidate and longtime consumer advocate Ralph Nader accused the Clinton-Gore administration of undermining the auto safety agencies that Nader tried to establish during the 1960s.

Speaking on the Fox News Channel Wednesday, Nader said agencies such as the Centers for Auto Safety, the Center for the Study of Responsive Law, and others along that line have turned into consulting firms for the auto industry.

"For example, there hasn't been an upgrade in tire safety standards since 1969," said Nader.

Nader gave the interview shortly before the Bridgestone Corporation announced it is recalling an estimated 20 million tires used on sport utility vehicles and light trucks.

In a statement, the Japanese company's Firestone division said it would recall certain sized ATX, ATX II and Wilderness tires and replace them. The recall applied to all tires produced at its U.S. plants.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received almost 300 complaints about the failing tires since 1992, including reports of 46 deaths and 82 injuries.

But Nader said it has taken too long for the recall to happen.

"Retailers are up in arms," he said. "There's a real revolt against Firestone. Ford Explorer has a lot of these tires. It's about time, the faster it happens the better. In fact, if you own a Ford Explorer with these ATX tires, you ought to go back to the dealer right away," Nader said.

Nader took full credit for getting the ball rolling on auto safety and auto manufacturer recalls.

"I remember the days when the auto companies wouldn't recall cars. They'd often tell the dealers, this car has defects and if the customer brings it in, fix it, but don't tell them. Of course, most motorists never had their cars fixed," Nader said.

Asked if he believes capitalism is more efficient than socialism, Nader offered a qualified agreement.

"Capitalism is very efficient when two things operate: there's competition, real competition, and when there's law and order. He said that way, corporations can't engage in crime, fraud and abuse. "These giant corporations really have too much power," Nader said.

Nader believes corporations are too deeply involved in the lives of the American people and politicians stand up for corporations more than they do for individual Americans.

"When they (corporations) get in trouble. they go to Washington for a handout or a bailout. It's only small business that has the freedom to go bankrupt when they get in trouble.

"But these big banks, these big corporations, they are constantly at the trough in Washington -- subsidies, bailouts, giveaways, loan guarantees, protections from competition -- and that's why we're running this Green Party campaign. Not just for workers and small taxpayers and consumers and clean government, but for all those small businesses that need to have elbow room to take on the big guys," Nader said.