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. JB Oakland

    None. He's had his time.

    February 25, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Sheila Cohig

    Ralph Nader is not a serious candidate in my eyes, and as time and many elections have proved his support is marginal and his results devisive. I liked him many years ago, but he knows the effect his entering the pres race had last time, that he will not win, and he still persists in injecting himself into the presidential race. There is too much to cover in this race to devote time to such a selfish person. So, my opinion –move on and cover minimally.

    February 25, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Malynda Hiskett

    None. It would be a waste of time. Just as people voting for him are simply wasting their votes. They're better off not even going to the polling place that Tuesday.

    February 25, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. Bill

    Absolutely no time should be given to this individual. By not accepting responsiblility for his useless candidacy in 2000 we have ended up with what he says is the "outlaw prsidency of George W. Bush and Dick Chaney."

    February 25, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. JT

    He should get just as much as any other candidate. though his candidacy is a joke it is not for the news media to decide who is and who is not acceptable for the role of president. I am sorry to say that they did not give other candidates the time of day from the start. Those candidates could have been a much better choice but never got their name out because of the media. Maybe equality is too much but it is where things should start at least.

    February 25, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. Lars Ickenroth

    Ralph Nader does not stand a chance....especially against Obama he would not look good because Obama manages to draw many independents....aginst Hillary Clintin however he might actually have an influence on the presidential elction....he actually might help McCain get elected....by taking valuable independent votes from her......therefore he should not get any air time at all....he won't be able to win but only might help to prevent serious change from happening!!!!!!!!!!

    February 25, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. Tom Pelandini

    Nader is not a legitimate condidate. Where has he been during the past several months of campaigning? He's had his time on NBC and has nothing more to add. Please, give hime the bare minumun of time.

    February 25, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. Bill

    Absolutely no time should be given to this individual. By not accepting responsiblility for his useless candidacy in 2000 we have ended up with what he says is the "outlaw presidency of George W. Bush and Dick Chaney."

    February 25, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. RPF

    Everyone should be given equal air time. How much air time did you guys give Dr. Ron Paul? How much air time have you been giving him recently? In fact, Mr. Nader has received more air time/internet time than Dr. Paul. Hrmm.

    February 25, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Sean Paul

    He is a party breaker. He is going to repeat the same thing what John Edwards did for Barack Obama in NH. Definitely he should not get the same amount of time as compared to the candidates who are campaigning from year and a half. Giving an equal time will be absolutely unfair.

    How can a person just come at the end of this whole political WAR and claiming himself as an candidate for presidential race?

    Other candidates has invested lot of their personal time and raised money which he did not.

    He doesn’t deserve any TV time at all.

    I'm sad we don't have law to avoid these things.

    February 25, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. michelle, atlanta GA

    considering that the media effectively made ron paul a "nobody" by giving him about zero air-time – this includes print, debates, and top-story internet exposure – i think it will also be an effective strategy to push nader out of the race. no airtime means no one knows his platform, right?

    February 25, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. Patrick

    I do not feel he has any chance of winning. You can give him 24 hour air time and he would still not have a chance of winning.

    February 25, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. Ryan Asalone

    Honestly, I think that Nader's campaign is a joke. He cannot and will not win. His campaign is a useless attempt to get attention at best, a theif of possible votes at worst. Nader should not be taken seriously. It is as if a normal person were to put his name on a balot just to see how many times he could be on it.

    February 25, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. D. Williams; Miami, FL

    How much time should he get? Absolutely nothing. If McCain is going to have to face ageism them Nader has an uphill battle. Furthermore, his perennial stance that there is no difference between the Republican and Democratic parties just doesn't hold water anymore. I can't say that I completely disagreed with him in 2000 or even that he didn't have some key points in 2008.

    However, after 8 years of Bush, there are staunch differences between 'Pubs and Dems. It really is a shame that his mark as being one of the biggest consumer advocates of our time will be marred by his befuddling presidential antics.

    February 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. Jackie

    Take him seriously and give him equal time like you give all of the candidates. He has just as good a chance of winning if he is given air time. That's the problem with the media today. They think certain potential political candidates have no credibility or no chance of winning and therefore they should be shut out of the election. These are the same actions that caused John Edwards, Kuicinich and the rest to drop out of the race early. Give him the same air time you give McCain, Clinton, Huckabee and Obama. They all deserve an equal shot of making their case to the American public as to why they should be the next president. This isthe most serious election of our time and it is not the media's job to decide what candidates are credible or actually have a chance of wining. Just report the facts and stay objective. Again Nader does not steal votes from other candidates, he is doing what other presidential candiadates are doing trying to win votes. And has a very good chance of winning this election if the media were to take him seriously and let him debate with the rest.

    February 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. W B in Las Vegas

    "Nutty Nader" gets NO time from ME and that's what the media should give him. the man has destroyed his legacy as a consumer advocate with his half baked Presidential runs. I don't care what the man says, HE is the REASON we have George W as President because he siphoned off just enough votes from Gore in Florida in 2000 SO he is the DIRECT CAUSE of all the problems W has created in America including the Iraq War!!!

    he IS and always WILL BE a DISGRACE!!!

    February 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. Barry

    "Less than none" comes to mind. The day Bush was inaugurated was the day that Nader became irrelevant in American politics. His support in 2004 was only 16% of his support in 2000 – and he didn't have a lot of support in 2000 to begin with (less than 3 million votes). I say zero time until he's on the ballot in all 50 states, or at least enough states to give him a mathematical shot at winning the presidency outright (i.e. 271 electoral votes). Otherwise, his quadrennial running should be shown for the vanity candicacy it is and no airtime given.

    February 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. Sameer from Detroit


    Marginal candidates end up being marginal specifically because of the media ignoring their candidacy. Ross Perot was a significant player in 1992 because he did a good job getting himself on TV so people knew not only who he was but what his platform was all about. At this point, everybody knows who Nader is but only because he played "spoiler" in 2000, not for what his actual policies are. The know his history of consumer advocacy but don't know much more than that. I'm not a Nader supporter at all but the more coverage you give him (and any other non-Demopublican candidate) can only improve the healthiness of political debate and dialogue and the democratic process. People looked at candidates like Kucinich and Paul as wacko fringe candidates but I believe if they'd been given as much opportunity to explain the basis of their opinions, more mainstream voters would have sided with them. Instead, people go to the Obamas, Clintons, and McCains of Washington since those are the only names they hear on the news.

    February 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Dave W

    I am a registered Republican and I voted for Ralph in 2000 when he was the green party candidate. I just could not bring myself to vote for W. that year.

    Ralph is an intelligent, thoughtful man who has the courage of his convictions. It's better to vote for him than to wrie in "Daffy Duck" on your ballot. Please, give Ralph good air time. I am sick of politics as usual and candidates who have hidden agendas. Ralph has earned a well-deserved place in our national landscape and after so many runs for the office, surely this deserves your consideration.

    February 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. Jason Farr

    Mr. Blitzer,

    I'm voting Democrat, but I believe Mr. Nader has a wonderful voice to add to the race. His critiques of Clinton, but Obama especially will force the candidates to be more specific and more open about their plans and, hopefully, give us voters a better vision of what these candidates will really do once in office. Don't let the dems cast his questions off so lightly. Give the man a chance to say what he wants. He certainly deserves it after what he has done for us all over the last 40 years.

    Jason Farr

    February 25, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  21. Andrew Hoekzema

    Ralph Nader has now entered the category of Lyndon Larouche and the candidate on the Pro-Marijuana-Legalization party. Ralph Nader's 3% in 2000 was enough to give George Bush the election, but his paltry showing of 0.3% in 2004 is a much more accurate representation of how relevant the American people view him. He may have fooled some people to believe that there was no difference between the two parties once, but he won't again. If you are going to give him much attention, then you should offer the same coverage to other fringe candidates.

    February 25, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. Mike

    No time for Nader. Zero.

    The election in 2000 was too close for a spoiler like Mr. Nader. Fast forward to 2004 and he barely registered a notch on the vote tally. Clearly he believes he has an alternative to the Democratic candidates, and has also stated his belief that McCain is not the answer for this country. Given his lackluster performance on the campaign trail in '04, his inability to garner greater than 3 percent of popular support in 2000 and his distrust of Republicans, can this be about anything other than ego?

    Go home Ralph, and keep protecting consumers, it's where your talents lie.

    February 25, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  23. Mac McDonald


    Don't give him any more time, thought or serious consideration than you would give Pat Paulson.

    February 25, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. Bradley Schaubs, Greeley, CO

    Don't give Nader ANY time! He's a divisionist, and he'll never be anything more than what he was in the last few races. Giving him airtime will just be a waste of CNN's time and resources.

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

    Nader should not run. He has done enough to harm this country. He is chasing ego now, not what is best for the American People.
    Ralph is a true American, but he has to know when to throw in the towel.

    February 25, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14