February 25th, 2008
03:45 PM ET
10 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. Aaron, Sterling VA

    How about as much time as Ron Paul got? Seems fair.

    February 25, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. sally

    As much time as we are giving hillary and not allowing Obama to wrap up this thing. I wonder if we could have treated Mr. Obama the same if he lost the last 11 contests. Just shows how unfair this country can get!

    February 25, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. Ben from D.C.

    Someone who gets .4% of America's vote deserves a reference every now and then, Wolf.

    February 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. Bob

    Ask Hillary she has some experience on that.

    February 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. Lee in Illinois

    The only coverage that CNN seems to lean towards is Obama, you act like he already has this in the bag. So why even bother trying to decide if you will give coverage to any other candidate !

    February 25, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  6. EDW

    He should get no air time. Clearly he is just putting his name on the ballot to detract the real opponents, just as he did when Bush slipped through again.

    February 25, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  7. B

    I believe that everyone should have equal time in the media. How do you define a viable candidate. I support Obama but I to not think the media should have control over whom they think is viable.

    February 25, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  8. Anybody but McCain

    Hopefully you will give him more time than you gave Ron Paul. Boo!!

    February 25, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. Bob

    I think if Hillary were to get the nomination, Nader may indeed have a chance at racking up some serious single digit (maybe double digit??) percentage points from Democrats unsatisfied with their party's candidate. If Obama gets the nomination, Nader would likely get less than one percent of the vote again. My prediction anyway.

    February 25, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. wilhemina

    as very little time as possible. all the air time should be given to the candidates who been in the process for than a year, it should be given to those who have raised money, made campaign stops and dedicated all their time to the election process. Nadar is a protest candidate but i wonder what he is protesting? all the candidates in this election are organized and strong , we dont need somebody who will distract attention from serious issues. what america needs right now is a good president, one who has a real plan not someone who is running for reasons that still remain fuzzy in my opinion. give nadar as little time as possible, and give the other more dedicated candidates as much time as they need to give the general public their opionion.

    February 25, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Jim Reilly

    Nader's '04 results tell all (.04%). He is not a major third party candidate. In fact, he has no party supporting him.
    A candidate with this little support, who will not be on the ballot in a majority of states, who has no campaign and no message for the electorate should not be given any time by the media.

    February 25, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. Aaron Stern

    Nader runs because he likes being in the spotlight. He knows that he can't win and he adds little to the national conversation other than the potential draw away from the democratic vote. He will be only a distraction to what is already an extremely pivotal race that has this nations eye more than any other in recent history. He deserves consideration proportional to the votes he won in the last election – virtually none.

    February 25, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. Sabrina

    I don't believe there is any credence to a Ralph Nader run for office. I think he is a has been who just likes seeing himself on TV. He is a marginal candidate and as such should be given very little media coverage. For once, we actually have good candidates on each side of the aisle that make for good choices for America. We don't need Nader.

    February 25, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Zero time, Wolf, unless he admits that his 2000 campaign is the reason we got Bush 43, even if Jeb and the Supremes hadn't fixed the election. He is a politically ignorant and arrogant has-been who should stick to his day job of protecting consumers and the environment.

    February 25, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  15. William California

    You're kidding right? His ego is bigger than the number of backers he has. His plan must be to ruin the democrats chances of taking the whitehouse back. If he cares about the poor – why then help the republicans win AGAIN????

    February 25, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  16. Henri

    Is it just me or does this guy bear a strange resemblance to the evil emperor Palpatine from Star Wars?

    I'm sure this won't make it on to CNN.

    February 25, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  17. Perrell, Lincolnton, NC

    Nader is a joke and should not continuously destroy our country like he did in 2000. He know he is not going to win, so why take away votes that are not helping the country but hurting us. Go back to you home and stay out of the political ring "please"

    February 25, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. MJ Salamone


    Considering how "well" Nader did in the 2004 election, he's been marginalized, and shouldn't be given any more attention than say Mike Gravel. (Is Gravel still in?)

    –MJ Salamone

    February 25, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. Makarios

    Very little time if any, should be spent on Nadar, it's pretty late in the game, he's not a real contender, this is a game to him to see how much havoc he can cause. He is not giving any real regard to the American people, this is all about him.

    February 25, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  20. Pinto


    February 25, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  21. andrew jones


    None. Just tell Nader to bug off!

    February 25, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  22. Leo

    Zero........... 0......

    February 25, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. Gary in CT

    The only fair thing to do is give him equal time. He's a candidate, and as such, deserves as much a shot as any other candidate. You have no right to judge his 'air-time' based on what you think of his chances. Only the voters can decide at the poles who deserves to be President.

    February 25, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  24. Margaret

    Easy enough...simply marginal with no chance of winning.

    February 25, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  25. john sharp

    Response to Wolf Blitzer.......

    Nader will be a very marginal candidiate in 2008 and not worth giving much air time. However, the day is coming when there will be a "real" third party and its popularity will mandate lots of media coverage. That is the next level of "change" in U.S. politics.

    February 25, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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