That's all she wrote folks! Order your Bush victory hats now. LOL. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,112049,00.html Nader to Jump in Presidential Race Friday, February 20, 2004 By Liza Porteus NEW YORK â Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate who ran for president in 2000 as a Green Party candidate, will enter the 2004 race for the White House as an independent candidate, advisers told Fox News on Friday. A formal announcement by Nader is expected this weekend. "He's going to be discussing his role in the presidential election," Linda Schade, a spokeswoman for Nader's presidential exploratory committee, said of the man whose 2000 run is blamed by many Democrats for tilting a close election in favor of George W. Bush (search). "He's felt there is a role for an independent candidate to play." The relationship between Nader and the Green Party (search) has not been smooth in recent years. Money and ballot access continue to be Nader's main concerns as he's mulled a run this year. Nader's move came as John Edwards (search) threw down the gauntlet. While spending Friday campaigning in states where he has a chance at beating John Kerry (search) for the Democratic nomination, the North Carolina senator awaited a response to his proposal to take on the front-runner in four one-on-one debates. In addition to wanting to debate in Los Angeles, the former trial lawyer sent a letter to the Kerry campaign Friday, saying, "I ask that we also give people in places like New York and Ohio the chance to see where we stand on the issues." Edwards has called for debates in New York and Georgia while campaigning in those states. Kerry has already committed to the Los Angeles debate so long as Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and the Rev. Al Sharpton (search) are involved. In New York Thursday, Edwards told reporters he would meet Kerry anytime, anyplace. "If you can get Senator Kerry to come, I'll be there," he said. In Savannah, Ga., on Friday, Edwards tried to court black voters, arguing that as a Southern politician he has a special responsibility to lead the nation on civil rights. "I have, as many of you have, seen the ugliest face of segregation and discrimination," he said. "That responsibility, by the way, is to lead, not follow, when it comes to issues of civil rights." For more on the campaign, click to view Foxnews.com's You Decide 2004 page. Edwards is heading to Maryland later Friday for a rally to boost his campaign in states where he thinks he has a fighting chance. He'll later kick off his upstate New York campaign in Buffalo, N.Y., where he says manufacturing jobs have been lost to free-trade agreements. Kerry will spend Friday in Boston to take a breather from public events. Edwards won't be on the ballot in Vermont's March 2 primary, which means he won't have a chance to capture the state's 15 delegates. Back in January, it was assumed former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (search) â the former front-runner in the race until the Iowa caucuses â would easily win that state. Edwards and several other candidates decided in January not to file to get on the primary ballot in Dean's home state. Don't Duck the Debate Edwards used his solid debate performance in Iowa and Wisconsin to catapult him to contention. While Kerry has thus far remained mum on whether he wants to get into a public face-off with his No. 1 rival, experts say it wouldn't be smart to ignore the challenge. "John Kerry is positioning himself as a leader," said Democratic adviser Richard Goodstein. "I think that Kerry would be fine in debates against Edward but I think the appearance of trying to duck them would be very harmful to him." Edwards' upbeat, relaxed style plays well on the debate stage and in states like New York and California â where campaign advertising costs an arm and a leg â debates will provide Edwards with free access to thousands of potential voters. "Debates are important to John Edwards because he needs the opportunity to stand side by side with Senator Kerry and have people take the measure of them in that way," said David Axelrod, a media consultant for Edwards. But the Massachusetts senator likely wants to make Edwards earn support with endorsements, paid media and big crowds â a greater challenge to a candidate with less money and a thinner national political organization who has been cherry-picking states in which to campaign. Taking on Trade Edwards has been using the trade issue to highlight the main â and thus far, only â difference between himself and the Massachusetts senator as the clock ticks toward Super Tuesday and the two candidates campaign hard in the 10 states that hold primaries then. "When it comes to bad trade agreements, I know what they do to people," Edwards said. "I have seen it with my own eyes what happens when the mill shuts down." Edwards, whose father worked at a mill, says he has a better understanding than Kerry of blue-collar issues. He says his disagreements with Kerry extended well beyond the North American Free Trade Agreement (search), which Kerry supporters but which Edwards said he would not have had he been in the Senate at the time. "Those trade deals were wrong," Edwards said, adding that the loss of American jobs is a "moral issue." Kerry insists he and Edwards see pretty much eye-to-eye on trade issues. The AFL-CIO formally threw its support behind Kerry on Thursday, which may help him deflect some NAFTA criticism coming his way and further his job-creation message. "Today we stand united in a common cause and that common cause is not just to defeat George Bush, but it is to put our country back on track, on the road of prosperity, the road of fairness, the road of jobs," Kerry said after the huge union endorsement. Edwards says he's winning the battle for rank-and-file members who face the daily pressures of jobs losses. Although Edwards has been trying to make trade the line-in-the-sand issue, some experts say that won't resonate well with voters. "The fact of the matter is, there's not all that much daylight between their positions on trade when all is said and done," Goodstein said, noting that NAFTA dealt with trade between the United States, Mexico and Canada and more people are worried about jobs being outsourced to countries like China and India. "If Edwards thinks he's going close the gap on one issue, I don't think that's going to be it," Goodstein added. Edwards also tried to play up his charisma two days after the Yankees announced they had acquired MVP slugger Alex Rodriguez (search) from the Texas Rangers. "My staff tells me that the whole town is excited about the fresh new face who just arrived from the South to compete in the Big Apple," Edwards said at the Columbia appearance. "I told them I was flattered. They told me they meant A-Rod." New York is one of the slew of delegate-rich states that will vote on March 2. And the Polls Say ... A Fox News poll released Friday shows that 58 percent of voters favor Kerry over Edwards. Only 21 percent of voters would back Edwards if an election were held today. There was a 5 percentage-point margin of error. And when asked who would do a better job as a wartime president, 50 percent said Bush, according to the poll, while 38 percent said Kerry. Kerry beat Bush when it came to who voters thought would handle the economy better, 47 percent to 40 percent. With Nader now in the race, 43 percent said they would vote for Bush, 42 percent for Kerry and 4 percent for Nader. A poll just released by Marist College's Institute for Public Opinion shows that Kerry is leading Edwards 66 percent to 14 percent among likely Democratic voters. Ten percent were undecided. The Public Policy Institute of California found that Democrats have jumped on the Kerry bandwagon, taking him from fourth to first among contenders in the Democratic presidential primary. Kerry leads the Democratic pack with 55 percent of his party's vote, according to the poll. Trailing far behind is Dean â who dropped out of the race Wednesday â at 11 percent. Edwards is at 10 percent. If the election were held today, the poll found, likely California voters would favor the Democratic nominee over President Bush by 17 percentage points. Fox News' Carl Cameron, Major Garrett, Steve Centanni and The Associated Press contributed to this report.