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Sunnis, Shiites Denounce ‘Spoiler’

Just hours after Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawar was selected as the interim president of Iraq, Ralph Nader announced that he would launch his own bid to become Iraqi president in order to give the people of Iraq “a genuine choice.”

“Over the past few days, I’ve seen various names floated for president of Iraq, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s not a dinar’s worth of difference between them,” Mr. Nader said at his first Baghdad press conference. “As I cross this great land of theirs, I sense that the Iraqi people want Ralph Nader in this race.”

But even as Mr. Nader spoke in glowing terms of his quixotic bid, prominent Sunnis and Shiites excoriated his decision, calling the candidate a “spoiler” and demanding that he quit the race at once.

In an official statement, the Shiite leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani said, “Mr. Nader is not welcome here – and that goes double for Kucinich.”

The Ayatollah was referring to Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who earlier this week announced that he, too, would be running for president of Iraq.

Mr. Kucinich, who has been crisscrossing Iraq with two volunteers from Oberlin College, said that he has received “astounding support” from the Iraqi people.

“Everywhere I go, I tell them that if I am elected president of Iraq I will leave their country and never come back,” Mr. Kucinich said. “The response has been incredible.”

Elsewhere, Scott Peterson left Redwood City after the first day of his murder trial and went on to score 35 points for the Los Angeles Lakers.
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