"People say we're being self-centered and egotistical - but in politics, everything is called egotistical," says Ralph Nader's new running mate, Matt Gonzalez.
"If you run for mayor, people say you're being egotistical," Gonzalez, who nearly upset Gavin Newsom in the 2003 San Francisco mayor's race, told us Friday. "If you decide you won't run for mayor, people say you're being self-centered and egotistical.
"Why should it be any different when you're running for vice president against the two-party system?"
Such is the burden that the 42-year-old former San Francisco supervisor must bear as he teams with Nader for what could be another upset of the presidential election apple cart.
"The way the system works is, they make it almost impossible for third parties to run, and then when we do, they attack us for running," Gonzalez said.
"I'm not out to pull the election one way or the other, but people need to get beyond 2000," Gonzalez said, noting that if Nader can be blamed for taking votes from Al Gore, it's just as fair to blame Ross Perot for stealing support from George H.W. Bush and swinging the 1992 election to Bill Clinton.
"You have to be fair," Gonzalez said. "Both sides have benefited from this."