NewsHour Extra Feature Stories
NewsHour Extra features stories can help students identify and interpret
key issues in current events. This activity anticipates one class period,
but the follow-up essay might be assigned as homework, or in another period.
Warm Up: Use initiating
questions to introduce the topic and find out how much your students know.
Main Activity: Have
students read NewsHour Extra's feature story and answer the questions
on the reading comprehension handout.
Discussion: Use discussion
questions to encourage students to think about how the issues outlined
in the story affect their lives and express and debate different opinions.
can write an 500-word editorial on the topic expressing their views and
send it to NewsHour Extra [firstname.lastname@example.org]
for possible publication.
are graded on their answers to reading comprehension questions and/or
Story: Former Presidential
Candidate Ralph Nader Enters 2004 Race: 2/23/04
1. What do you remember about
the 2000 presidential election? What was significant about President Bush's
defeat of Al Gore?
2. Who is Ralph Nader?
Reading Comprehension Questions:
(click here for printout)
1. Who is Ralph Nader and what
did he announce on Sunday? Why is this decision significant?
Former presidential candidate
Ralph Nader announced Sunday that he would once again run for president,
upsetting many in the Democratic Party who feel his presence in the
2000 election directly contributed to Al Gore's slim defeat by George
2. Why did Nader say he getting
involved this time?
Nader said that his candidacy
is about giving voters a choice beyond the Democratic and Republican
parties, which he accuses of being dominated by corporate lobbyists
who don't care about average Americans.
"With 100 million
people not voting, we've got to give them more voices, choices, more
exciting involvement and participation so they're not just spectators
watching candidates parade in front of them with emotional slogans,"
Nader told ABC News.
3. Why are the Democrats upset
with Nader's decision?
Nader said the polls show
that in 2000, 25 percent of his supporters were Republicans and 38 percent
were Democrats. Democrats have argued that if those 38 percent of Democrats
had voted for Gore instead of Nader, Mr. Bush would have lost the election
and Gore would now be president.
4. What unique challenges does
Nader is no longer a Green
Party candidate, which means that he must get on the ballot as an independent
candidate in all 50 states. This would mean collecting about 1.5 million
signatures on nominating petitions in all states.
As an independent candidate,
Nader won't be eligible for up to about $18.6 million in government
funding for the primary season, Federal Election Commission spokesman
Bob Biersack said. And his failure to capture 5 percent of the vote
in 2000 -- he got 2.7 percent -- also prevents him from receiving taxpayer
funding in the general election.
Democrats have also pledged
to challenge Nader in court to keep him off the ballot.
5. How did the leading Democratic
candidates and Republicans respond to Nader's decision?
Both leading contenders
for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts
and Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, have said Nader's entrance
into the race would not affect their campaigns.
President Bush's campaign
team declined to speculate about the impact of Nader's candidacy on
Mr. Bush, but other Republicans openly embraced Nader's running.
Discussion Questions (more
research might be needed):
1. Pretend you are Ralph Nader. It is your job to convince Americans that
you should run for president. Why should your voice be heard even if you
know that your entry in the race could help the candidate you oppose most
win? What impact might your involvement have on the other candidates?
2. Research why America now
has only two dominant political parties. What role have alternative parties
had in previous elections and political movements? Should America work
to have more viable political parties? Why?
Send your answers, in essay
form, to email@example.com for