June 25th, 2008
03:35 PM ET
10 years ago

Blitzer: Can a third party candidate break through?

What impact will Nader and Barr have this election season?

What impact will Nader and Barr have this election season?

(CNN) - There are two intriguing third party candidates running for president his year: Ralph Nader and Bob Barr. Both are well known here in Washington. But will they have an impact around the country if the election between Barack Obama and John McCain is close?

Nader, a long time populist and liberal consumer advocate, has been here before. He won more than 90,000 votes in the Florida election in 2000 and was widely accused of helping George W. Bush beat Al Gore by just more than 500 votes in the state. Gore’s supporters believe that he would have won the state and the election if Nader had stayed out. Nader denies that, insisting he took votes from both Democrats and Republicans.

Barr is a former Republican Congressman from Georgia and is now running on the Libertarian Party ticket. In the House of Representatives, he was always an outspoken conservative. He took the lead in initiating impeachment charges against President Bill Clinton.

Given that conservative track record, he is likely to take votes away from McCain, especially in Georgia where he is relatively well-known.

Obama’s supporters are hoping he does. They believe Georgia is fertile ground for the Democratic candidate, especially if the Democrats can register hundreds of thousands of new young and African American voters in the state.

So let’s see how Nader and Barr do this time around.

Filed under: Bob Barr • Ralph Nader • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. Enlightened Voter

    Hopefully a so called 'accident' will not befall any of these two but you never know with the republicans and john mcwar.

    June 25, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  2. Brandon Hillary Democrat for Mc Cain

    Barr will fall flat on his face, he will NOT be the new nader trust that you obama cultists. Most people dont even know who he is outside of Georgia.

    Our anger is not going anywhere-get use to it.

    Puma pac.
    Nobama 08

    June 25, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. Patrick

    Nader just murdered his own candidacy so I'd say that counts him out.

    June 25, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. Doris,Memphis,TN

    Nadar is toast!
    Attacking Obama is old news.
    Barr will probably cover some ground.

    June 25, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  5. A recovering Republican

    Not these 2, and not this year - the one good chance of doing so was Ross Perot, and all he did was put Billyboy into the white house - and the benefit to the budget was largely due to GBI raising taxes, which cost him the election. Remeber, Billyboy got in with about 43% of the popular vote, and couldn't even manage 50% in his second run.

    At best, the result will be, as the LA Times poll shows, a drain from McCain - not from Obama.

    June 25, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  6. Ellie in Aurora, CO

    OMG – Nader or Barr???? Can you imagine them representing the US around the world? OMG!!!!

    June 25, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. s

    Yes, but not in this election cycle. We have one party (Dem) excited about their candidate and the other party (GOP) 'fine'- not satisfied with their candidate.

    It is possible for a third party candidate to make noise if both major parties (DEM & GOP) appeared to be highly dissatisfied!!!

    June 25, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. nitro

    Ralph Nader has always been an idiot so nothing he says takes away from that notion.

    June 25, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. CW4Barak

    Not this year Wolf....this year the Democrats will show the American people why they always have to clean up the Republicans' mess....we are tired of the atmosphere of fear Wolf....we want hope, we need change.

    Obama '08

    June 25, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. Stevik

    Nader is history. He won't get many votes at all. I voted for him in 2000 (in a non-swing state) as a protest. He no longer is an effective protest candidate. He's lost all credibility. This year, I live in a swing state this year, so will happily vote for Obama.

    The more votes Barr gets, the better Obama's chances. Good luck, Bob Barr! May you help bring in an Obama landslide!

    June 25, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. Jennifer from Atlanta

    I fully support Barr as he has the ability to diminish the voting base for McCain and further ensure Obama's and the American people's victory. Nader is a has been who's too irrelevant to even comment on.

    June 25, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. Ula Nejad- Sacramento Ca

    I think John McCain should stick to his guns on reform. He will be talking about alternatives in the future to complement the ongoing progress of immigration, energy, healthcare and foreign policy. Reform= deifnes reality and brings hope=Leadership.

    June 25, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  13. Generation X

    Don't know about Barr but Nader has done this over and over and over and over......again. LMAO

    June 25, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. Jay from the west

    Forget 3rd party, right now it looks as if McCain is having trouble breaking thru.

    June 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  15. Peter

    they'll destroy McCain...

    June 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. Noah

    You forgot Cynthia McKinney for the Green Party!!

    I like that other choices are available but I’m not too thrilled with McKinney, Nader or Barr.

    McKinney’s too out there after attacking the security guard at the House of Representatives.

    Barr’s boring and too conservative for my tastes.

    Nader has run so many times that his candidacy has just become a joke.

    Had Clinton won the nomination I’d choose a third party but since Obama won, he’s my choice.


    June 25, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. Ellie in Aurora, CO

    They both look perpetually depressed!

    June 25, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  18. Paul

    I don't think Bob Barr is going anywhere. Did you see his face after eating that cheese in "Borat?"

    June 25, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. Fella from Chicago

    Barr will hurt McCain more than Nader Obama. Makes no difference. Obama will win in a landslide in November because people are blind hoping upon hope for positive change. Obama will give them change, but not what they were expecting. Germans know all too well about a Fuhrer with a golden tongue.

    June 25, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. independent

    no,silly.obama will be our next president.now would be excellant vacation time. wolf?

    June 25, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. xddy4u

    Both of these jokers are nothing but opportunists. Every Presidential election we have to put up with Nader and his BS. Now we have Barr.
    They know they can't win, they just want to act as spoilers. I wouldn't waste my vote on them. I'm a registered DEM, but before I waste my vote on those clowns I'd vote GOP.

    June 25, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. Uncle Sam

    It is difficult being an independent-minded candidate in a partisan culture. Just look at the challenges John McCain has been facing.

    June 25, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  23. Ian

    They will most likely both get about 2% of the vote and cancel each other out.

    June 25, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. DMAC in ID

    YES!!!! But not Nader. Bob Barr so far shows me more than any of the ones in the running. This old grandma has been looking into him. Maybe some of you nay sayers out there shold do the same thing if you don't have tunnel vision and a brain stuck in one gear.

    June 25, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  25. Dave

    First off, the way our political system is set up currently, there is no way a third party could ever compete on the same level as the big 2. The federal and state governments make it all but impossible to do so. I personally think this is downright wrong, and I believe that a multiple party system would be a great improvement over this partisan tug of war bs that we put up with now.
    Secondly, the only way you could ever expect a 3rd party candidate to have a chance is to have someone that is a level headed moderate. These two crackpots are way out on the fringe of politics. Sure, they make a lot of noise, but their ideas are so radical that they could never get any noticable support from either side, and even the indy voters can't trust these two.

    June 25, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
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