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. Conrad


    February 25, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  2. Tyrone Cottrell

    You should give him no time at all. He just a waste of time and effort of the American people.

    February 25, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. Thomas E. Harries, Ph.D.

    Nader should get sufficient time to make his case against the flagrant corporate abuses in every area of American society, including the MSM. Except for cameo appearances, John Edwards campaign was nearly blacked out entirely by the MSM, denying him access to the forum he needed to make his case. Thus he was forced to drop out of the primary race.

    Now Nader is next for the dim-out treatment (as Jack Cafferty has already promised today.) Corporate America is the ruination of our society , and unless and until there is a firm reversal, including reigning in the absolute power of the MSM to dictate what news will inform the electorate (e.g., restore the Fairness Doctrine,") Nader's voice MUST BE HEARD to inform the public leading to November 4, 2008.

    Thomas Harries
    Johnstown, PA

    February 25, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  4. Susan

    I think Ralph Nader running again is a joke. It is really not even worth
    mentioning. I agree with Jack Cafferty- He should not get any air time
    or attention from the media.

    February 25, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  5. Rex, Houghton, MI

    Is there really a standard amount of time we should give to comic relief? When you say Ralph Nader you gave away the punch-line so in this case no—no time is required. Ignore him.

    February 25, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  6. Sam Hensel

    I wouldn't give him a single segment at any time throughout the end of the primary and to the end of the general election in November.

    February 25, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  7. DB Smith

    None. Nader is irrelevant. He had his 15 minutes of fame (a couple of times) and can't force himself to move on (or retire gracefully).
    Giving Nader any media coverage will only distract from the important dialogue between and amongst candidates who, at least, have some hope of gaining the power to act on their ideas.

    February 25, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  8. Annie Rios, Stephen F. Austin State University

    I think he deserves as much as any other third party candidate would receive. Just because he's incompetent and is doing the "consumers" that he cares about so much an injustice by taking votes from the democratic party and allowing McCain, who has already demonstrated his incompetency when it comes to the economy and has essentially promised this country that we will be in Iran if he is in office to take the presidency, doesn't mean that he should receive less airtime.

    February 25, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  9. Pamela

    He deserves no coverage. He has an out of control ego. Don't feed it.
    Leave the primary coverage to the real candidates. They've earned it.

    February 25, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  10. celestial

    Please give him just as much as any of the other candidates. He throws up great issue's that all the candidates should address for us the people...

    February 25, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  11. Susan

    Wolf, I believe he should get zero air time; at this juncture it is Obama and (only to be fair) Clinton, who deserve air time ... the candidates that have run for over a year, spent so much $$$$$$$ and are having to defend themselves against random email and television attacks need and deserve time - not someone who just jumped in to rattle things.

    February 25, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  12. Tracy

    I thin he should be given a good amount of air time. If it causes the "real" canidates to start addressing the issues he raises it about time.

    February 25, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. Jeffrey Davis

    Nader should get all the time he deserves...from the innermost circle of Hell. No one, not Bush, not Cheney, not Rumsfeld, has done more harm to America (and the world) than Ralph Nader. Without Nader none of them would have gotten the chance to do the damage they have done.

    February 25, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  14. carmen perez

    Please don't waste time on Ralph Nader, this election is much to important to get distracted by a jerk like him.

    February 25, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  15. Angelene

    I believe it would be good to give him one minute per year. Why would the news media want to help Nader throw another election? This man runs every four years, for what? I think the fine news media outlets need to stop him in his tracks this time, it is the only way to stop him from doing what we all know he is trying to do. I believe he works for the republican party and this is the legal loophole to use to throw elections.

    The system needs to be overhauled. No one should be able to sit back and look at the candidates during the entire process of the contest, then in the last hour decide to run for president. If you do not sign up to run for president within a certain time limit, then you should lose your chance to run. This is the most rediculous system I have seen in my life.

    If it were Barak, whom I support, I would feel the same as I do. America needs to wake up to Nader and finally get rid of him and his tricks, he is not for the people, he is for destroying what is suppose to be a fair system of choosing a president and we continue to allow this to happen.

    What a joke!

    February 25, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  16. Michael Anthony

    Bob wrote: "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."

    I completely disagree. Bob must really think that the Democratic Party was completely behind John Kerry and satisfied with his candidacy in 2004. I personally begrudging voted for him, yet, magically, the parties lukewarm and antipathetic feelings for him didn't turn out a huge Nader alternative vote. Again, he only got 0.4% and again, this question is about Nader. I do not understand why Obama people are usurping this discussion for shameless off-topic plugs that have no concrete rationale behind them.

    February 25, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  17. Joanna

    Yes, Nader should be given equal time. Not only will he bring serious and critical issues to the table to be discussed, thankfully he is not owned by corporations. Perhaps it would be a breath of fresh air and a challenge to the candidates that are becoming more and more beholding to the corporations. Let's be sensible: these are not the best qualified people this country could put forth as possible presidents. Furthermore, this race is not over. It's just beginning

    February 25, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  18. Tony

    Well Wofle, I think Nader should get about as much air time as I'm getting. Thanks to him we missed the White House and got Bush....not again.

    February 25, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  19. Susan Rose Jones


    February 25, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  20. Jason

    Mr. Nader deserves as much time as the next candidate. I am an Obama supporter, but I am also tired of our two party system. Most Americans seem to have it in their heads that there are only two choices when it comes time to vote. I believe the media should do its part by informing the public about what every candidate stands for.

    February 25, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  21. Ian

    After 8 years of destruction inside and outside the US by the current administration – does the media really want to faciltate a "candidate" who has NO chance of winning – and allow 4 more years of the same failed policies through splitting the vote again – or make the correct decision and allow the real challengers a chance to stop the heomoragging ?- which will be no easty task anyway..
    Give him the air time that he deserves entering a race that is already 1/2 over – none.

    February 25, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  22. Sheila

    It all depends on who wins between Hillary and Barack. At least now I will have another option if Barrack does not win.

    February 25, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  23. Mark Beaudouin


    In my view Nader should get no time at all. There is no question that he drained votes from Gore in 2000 and we have suffered the results ever since. Now it appears we will have another close election in the fall and the republicans will be filling Nader's coffers in the hope that he will aid them once again. Giving him air time will only lend credence to this. Our ability to mend the unprecedented damage inflicted on our nation and the world over the past eight years by George Bush is seriously jeopardized if Nader can do what he did in 2000. He got 2.9 million votes back then. 2008 could, just could be another 2000. If it is, we all lose again. That is a result I'm not sure we can withstand as a nation.

    February 25, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  24. Chim

    Conduct a national poll...if he scores less than 2% do not even include him in debates.Do it the Kucinich way, or else we will have been unfair to Kucinich.

    February 25, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  25. James

    None...he is inconsequential at this point and will only cause more trouble than it is worth.

    February 25, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
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