February 25th, 2008
03:45 PM ET
6 years ago

Blitzer: How much time should Nader get?

 How seriously should Ralph Nader's candidacy be taken?
How seriously should Ralph Nader's candidacy be taken?

With Ralph Nader now in the presidential race, there’s a serious question those of us in the news media have to ask: How much air time do we give him?

He made his announcement Sunday on NBC's “Meet the Press,” where host Tim Russert gave him about 15 minutes to make his case.

I also have interviewed Nader on many occasions, most recently on Late Edition on Sunday, Febuary 3. He spent about ten minutes with me discussing the possibility of his throwing his hat into the ring. I had the impression that he was again on the verge of doing so – just as he did in 2000 (when he won 2.7 percent of the popular vote) and 2004 (when he won only 0.4 percent.)

In 2000, he did win 96,837 votes in Florida – a state that George W. Bush carried by only 537 votes. Many of those Nader votes no doubt would have gone to Al Gore if Nader had not been on the ballot.

In that interview with me earlier this month, he branded Hillary Clinton a “panderer.” He clearly liked Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards but with both of them out of the contest, he appeared a lot more eager to announce.

I also had the impression that he was struggling a bit in going after Barack Obama, who, if elected, would be the nation’s first African-American president. But he did say this to me: “He’s too abstract and too general. He comes on as a constitutional law specialist, but he offers nothing to hold this outlaw presidency of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney accountable…And he’s not speaking out.”

Now, Nader is in and is not holding back in his criticism of Obama. (As you can imagine, he finds John McCain totally unacceptable.)

I would be interested in getting your thoughts on the question I posed at the top – how much air time should we give him in the course of this upcoming general campaign? How seriously should we take his candidacy? Will he be a credible third party candidate along the lines of Ross Perot back in 1992 or will he simply be a marginal candidate with no real chance of winning?

Let me know what you think. And thanks.

– CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer


Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (349 Responses)
  1. Kraig

    He should get JACK. This guy comes and goes. He never has been veiw as a serious candidate in any election. I wish he just go away and leave the REAL candidates to run.

    February 25, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. Jesse Burkhardt

    Nader, who has been running for president essentially since 1968, is an ego-driven buffoon who deserves NO air time. He is using the press to spread his garbage that only he is pure enough to solve all our nation's problems. He pops up every four years and gets the press to hand him a megaphone. He deserves to be ignored. He has lost all credibility, and it's absurd we are wasting time on him.

    February 25, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    i don't trust these guy.

    February 25, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  4. Oregon

    Give him the percent of time equivelent to the percent of popular vote he got in 2004. 0.4% of your time.

    February 25, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  5. Martha

    By many accounts, Ralph has a fear of germs that may well be hypochondriacal. When he was interviewed in July 2000 for CNN, his main concern before the interview was "Did you wash that [earpiece]?". According to his former editor David Sanford, Nader refuses dinner invitations from anyone with pets, because he thinks cats cause leukemia, and simply hates dogs.

    February 25, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  6. Chitown

    Please don't give this egomaniac any more media exposure because ultimately, whether you agree with him or not, he can only help the republican party. Anybody out there who votes for Nader would obviously never vote for McCain...but what they don't get is Nader vote = McCain vote!. Nader is not an idiot and must recognize this fact, yet he has no regard for the American people...keep him out!

    February 25, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  7. news fairness (a oxymoron)

    Who elected Wolf or any other pundit to decide for us all who is the viable candidate.
    CNN marginalized Rep. Ron Paul & Rep. Kucinich, More galling what you did to Edwards when he attacked the holy grail of corporate greed? Non coverage and heaped scorn, shameful.

    February 25, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  8. Reality check

    I say turn Nadar loose on Obama, you sure don't let Hillary say anything. Oh, wait, you do let her answer sexist questions that are tied to Bill.

    February 25, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  9. lidtu

    these guy works for republicans. i dont trust these guy.

    February 25, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  10. Karen

    Nader should get exactly enough time each day to remind the American public that we got stuck with Bush because Nader pulled votes from Gore.

    February 25, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  11. Judith, Ridgewood, NJ

    He should get an occasional reference, but not be included in the debates. He only wants a forum for his views...we want to elect a president. Its a distraction.

    February 25, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  12. Doug

    This is ridiculous. I'd bet that most of the people attempting to brush Nader aside as some sort of fringe loon haven't the slightest clue regarding the policies he advocates. Why should we only get coverage of wealthy elites? Why should only those with money be given media coverage and a fair shot at the presidency? Give him equal time and let each candidate's message speak for itself. Anything less is biased censorship.

    February 25, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  13. YounMale

    Use a simple equation
    First he already lost an election so he's already out 30%
    Second receiving less than one percent of the vote the last time he campaigned (2004) knocks off another 20%.
    Finally as a person who's run for president more than four times and not won a single significant margin take 4 x 10% and knock off 40% for wasted time.
    That leaves 10% of the time he'd be allowed as a viable candidate.

    Since there are three +one candidates. He should be allowed 2.5% of time or one and a half minutes on every hour (excluding commercials) of debate.

    But rather than place him in the precarious position of possibly blah blah blahing over his alloted time and being forced to shut up, I suggest that a quick 90 second ad be allowed at the very beginning of each debate (prior to anything important).

    February 25, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  14. Sharon

    Give him fair air time, he's running the same as the others are. He deserves to be heard just the same. ;)

    February 25, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  15. Kim, Dallas, TX

    I find his decision to run again a bit distasteful. He cannot win and he knows how he has affected the past elections. If he can't tell how he ruined our country by being the obstacle that allowed Bush to be president, then there is something very telling wrong with him. He may have good ideas, but they parallel our Democratic candidates that have put months into campaigning. I would treat him about the same as we did when Colbert tried to run. If Nader really wanted to enact change, why wait until he is into another four year term to make changes. He could act as a catalyst for change within Washington. If he really feels as though he is the only one who can do this in Washington, then he appears to be a bit disillusioned. He's 74 and hasn't done anything to make the changes as of yet. Why waste the time we could have learning about candidates and issues that really matter and not someone simply trying to appease his own ego.

    February 25, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  16. Marie

    You did not post my comment so I will try again!
    Why are you asking us?
    CNN decided that Edwards should have no coverage, so he is out of the race.
    Hillary Clinton has a major support base, and since you cannot drop her from air time, you have shown her in every negative aspect that you can. You are pushing to get her out of the race! To your dimay, she is still in the race! And still a strong candidate!
    And Obama gets every positive media slant you can give him and it is almost 24/7! And then you conduct CNN polls and say he is winning!
    So, again, why are you asking us?

    February 25, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  17. B Goldstein

    Ralph Nader running for president, after the disaster he helped institute in 2000, is nothing more than an attempt to pat his own back. He is trying to prove a point with no thought for what his point will do for the well-being of his country. I hardly find that "presidential behavior." He knows he cannot win. He also knows that his part in this crucial election could be a repeat of his last attempt. No candidate is perfect, but we live in a democracy and we choose the best from what we've got. I have no issue with him calling on the democratic candidates to support aspects of his own platform. Let them meet and have him offer his support to the candidate he likes best. If he really wanted to run, he would have put his hat in a year ago. He could have backed out respectfully when it was clear he could no longer win, having again brought his ideas into the public forum, much like Dennis Kucinich did. If he wants to serve in public office, he should run for a race he can win instead of hoping like an egomaniac that he can have another 15 minutes of fame. I forgive him for 2000. 2008 is just an ego-trip.

    February 25, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  18. Barbara M Campbell

    Let Nader prove voter interest by getting supporters to sign petitions. CNN can decide the number of signatures that would be appropriate (per state, for example).

    February 25, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  19. Larry G

    Can third party candidates take votes away from Democrats and Republicans? Of course they can! Mainly because there exists a certain group of voters in this country, myself included, that are sick of the "same old, same old" in Washington. While I am currently an Obama supporter, I welcome, with open arms, diverse opinions and anyone willing to "take on the establishment." Give Nader some time. Don't stifle the views of those that confront a sick, corrupt and dying political system.

    February 25, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  20. Adam

    If he gets .4% of the vote, give him .4% of the coverage.

    Savvy democrats will have learned their lesson from Florida 2000, and will marginalize Nader as early as possible. Besides, in a field where McCain and Obama are already hoping to grab independents, Nader will get even less than he got in 2000. He doesn't belong at debates.

    No offense Mr. Nader, but what have you done lately? For Gen X voters, like me, Nader is little more than a distraction–correction, an old distraction.

    February 25, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  21. B Goldstein

    Ralph Nader running for president, after the disaster he helped institute in 2000, is nothing more than an attempt to pat his own back. He is trying to prove a point with no thought for what his point will do for the well-being of his country. I hardly find that "presidential behavior." He knows he cannot win. He also knows that his part in this crucial election could be a repeat of his last attempt. No candidate is perfect, but we live in a democracy and we choose the best from what we've got. I have no issue with him calling on the democratic candidates to support aspects of his own platform. Let them meet and have him offer his support to the candidate he likes best. If he really wanted to run, he would have put his hat in a year ago. He could have backed out respectfully when it was clear he could no longer win, having again brought his ideas into the public forum, much like Dennis Kucinich did. If he wants to serve in public office, he should run for a race he can win instead of hoping like an egomaniac that he can have another 15 minutes of fame. I forgive him for 2000. 2008 is just an ego-trip.

    So, to answer your question, Wolf, he is not running in any primary. Right now, he is insignificant. Come September, you have no choice but to let him dig the democratic party a few feet into the ground. Your job is to cover the news. Unfortunately, that means giving him the due he probably ought not deserve. Let's hope he comes to his senses before then.

    February 25, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  22. jim williams

    F ralph nader. He should be given zero airtime. He's obviously only doing this because he wants attention and to feel important. he probably just wants to throw a wrench in the whole process. If he was so worried about this before, why announce it just now? he needs to stick to consumer rights and leave politics alone.

    February 25, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  23. Charlie

    His entry into the candidate field has been matched with the movement of support of every intelligent, rational individual I know. Please give him more time – he's one of the few to acknowledge with truth the issues we face.

    February 25, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  24. Dave

    Nader is the worst of the nanny state socialists who'd put the US economy on even shakier ground than we are now. Give him equal time and watch his candidacy vanish into thin air.

    February 25, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
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