MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Green Party presidential nominee Ralph Nader got some moral support from Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura on Tuesday night, but he's still waiting for a political plug.
"Am I endorsing him?" Ventura said at a University of Minnesota town-hall meeting, broadcast later Tuesday on ABC's "Nightline." "No."
But Ventura, one of the nation's most prominent third-party politicians, said he supported having more than two choices in the presidential race. He even admonished host Ted Koppel for supposedly asking tougher questions of Nader than of Democrats and Republicans.
Earlier, Ventura declared he "would never vote for a Republican or a Democrat" but named Natural Law Party candidate John Hagelin -- not Nader -- as someone he might support.
At the ABC event, a woman asked Nader how he would feel if he drew enough votes away from Democrat Al Gore to throw the election to Republican George W. Bush.
"Let's not turn this guy into a Ghengis Khan," Nader said of Bush, as the audience laughed. "First of all, he doesn't know much, secondly he's lazy, and third, he avoids conflict. Those are all assets."
Earlier, Nader dismissed as "whining, carping, low-expecting politicians" the Democrats who are urging him to drop from the presidential race. He also previewed a new campaign ad.
"It's not my job to get my competitor elected," Nader said at a news conference.
Nader averages about 4 percent in national polls, but comes in higher in many of the half-dozen traditionally Democratic states considered tossups between Gore and Bush.
In Minnesota, for example, polls show him with 10 percent support.
His new 30-second TV spot, a parody like his first, is based on an ad by the employment Web site Monster.com. The black-and-white ad features children matter-of-factly reciting dismal hopes for the future and asks voters if they "want something better for yourself and the next generation."
Nader's potential for hurting Gore has prompted a vigorous campaign by Democrats.
In Seattle, Jesse Jackson urged voters Tuesday to make "the politically mature" decision and back Gore. Without even mentioning Nader's name, he told the crowd: "Either Gore or Bush will be president. Let's make a president, not just make a point."
Ventura denounced such warnings.
"Isn't that interesting? I heard the same thing," he said. "I just am so pleased with the voters of Minnesota that they saw through that farce."
Ventura, an independent, predicted Gore will ultimately win Minnesota because the state historically has picked Democratic candidates.
"But then again, surprises happen. Nobody predicted that I would win," he said on NBC's "Today."
Calling himself a "centrist," Ventura said he considers Nader too far left and Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan too far right.
Nader's new ad, only the second of his campaign, begins airing Thursday in up to 30 markets nationwide, said Bill Hillsman, the Minneapolis adman who worked for Ventura and made the commercial and Nader's radio spots.
Hillsman refused to disclose where the ads would run, only suggesting "look at where we're campaigning." He said he didn't want to tip his hand to the much richer competition.
The satirical ad features children talking directly to the camera about their dreams.
"When I grow up I want the government to have the same problems it has today," says one. "I want to vote for the lesser of two evils," says another. It ends with an announcer asking, "Is this what you want from your government? Or do you want something better for yourself and the next generation?"
EDITOR'S NOTE: Associated Press Writer Eun-Kyung Kim, in Washington, contributed to this report.
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