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. Pappu

    I am still angry at the way the media treated Hillary. I am even angrier that Obama is trying to grab her supporters after all the s... his campaign put out. I find him to be untrustworthy, arrogant and vague on policies. I could not in good conscience vote for McCain for a plethora of reasons, although I must say that the nuclear option is the only sure alternative to the oil crisis right now. So, I don't have a candidate to vote for. I will either stay home or consider Nader.

    June 25, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. bernj

    Nader is almost as senile as McCain and possibly even more clueless...if such a thing is possible. His comments today about Obama really show how out of touch he is. He has no right or credibility to say anything about the black experience in America.

    As for Bob Barr....first he is certainly NOT a real libertarian ideologically. Barr is a nut case and closer to George Wallace in philosophy.

    They both would do humanity a favor if they would STFU and go home.

    June 25, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  3. Justice League

    We had a good third party candidate in Ross Perot. That was 12 years ago. This year's politics is far different than the scope of the way things were in '96. It may be a long wait until America sees a powerful third party candidate like Ross again.

    June 25, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  4. Didine - Maryland

    Nader and Barr have no chance to win this election. They will both hurt Mcsane beccause they will still his vote.

    June 25, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is currently unlikely since there is a major party candidate that has a great appeal since he is a first. As for Barr and Nader, they can pull some voters away from the two major party candidates, but not enough to make a huge leap. They need to get more spots in Congress and state legislatures to show that their respective parties can do something and stand for something.

    June 25, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Intriguing is not all Nader and Barr are, they look like two men hell bent on destroying anybody that gets in their way. And may I say, without diplomacy. Find another game to play, Nader and Barr, time has done past you bye, bye.

    June 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  7. we've got a great shot in GA

    Have my fellow Obamacans seen the latest GA polls? 44%-McCain, 43%-Obama and 6%-Barr. Since people are using this blog to spue hate and division, let's use it for our political strategy. With Barr as a spoiler and new voters we can win GA! This could change everything. Go to barackobama.com and get involved. If you can't go to GA that's fine, it's the technology age. Bombard GA with phone calls, emails, and text messages. Force the republicans to spend their money defending states that have historically been red. This way they will have less money for states like FL and OH. Strategic planning people!

    June 25, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  8. Broad street buddy

    Yes Ellie these two definitely are not winning any beauty contests anytime soon. Looks are not everything, but for a third party candidate, it would sure help.

    June 25, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. Obama Supporter

    Barr will certainly hurt the Republicans more this year than Nader will hurt the dems – I think Barr might actually do alright. The republicans aren't excited about John McCain, and I think there is a bit of a crisis of faith on their side of the aisle, so maybe Barr, as a small government libertarian, will be appealing.

    Nader isn't very exciting or new – we've seen him run before and everyone knows he has no chance now, so I don't think that too many dems will drift to him.

    June 25, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. Jeremy

    Obama is just another mega-politician plain and simple. The major political parties are two evils there is no lesser of.

    June 25, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. arc, Lugano CH

    Puma! Puma! Puma! It seems like this is all you hear now. Senator Barack Obama won the nomination and he will win the General Election.

    So why don’t these Hillary Puma cretins go to Zimbabwe and witness actual electoral injustice at work since they have so much ‘experience’ in the field? There they can hoot and holler “I’m a strong-willed empowered Puma!” all they want; that is, right before someone cuts off their hands and their arms.

    June 25, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. Richard, St. Paul, MN

    I'm all in favor of a Third Party, but Nader and Barr are just adding buffoonery to the mix..... still, they're better than McCain and his retread policies that have been failing for the past eight years.

    Obama '08!

    June 25, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. Phil Proud Republic from MA

    "Enlightened Voter" your not every enlightened at all. You just blither away with liberal babble in every posting. Trying doing some reading before posting so you make yourself look like less of an idiot.

    June 25, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. Texas Trail Dog

    Someone state that wer need someone to clean up the Republican mess. OH NY if he thinks Obama is the man. What a dunce.

    June 25, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. Republican for Obama

    If you are a true Republican, you will vote Barr.
    If you are truely ill-informed, you will vote Nader.
    If you are truely bitter, you will vote Clinton.
    If you truely love war, you will vote McCain.
    If you are a true American you will vote Obama.

    June 25, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. CW4Barak

    Hey "we've got a great shot in GA" this is the poll:
    Gallup Daily: Obama, McCain Tied at 45% NEW June 25, 2008
    Barack Obama and John McCain, who have been closely matched in Gallup Poll Daily tracking for the last week, are now even at 45% each.

    By next week it will be Obama out front again....have no fear!

    June 25, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  17. William

    Dear Ralph,

    Thanks for seat belts but I actually like the Corvair. Good luck with your impossible run for the white house. See you again in 2012!

    June 25, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. Denise

    As George Washington said, political parties are formed by "unwise men." Americans have become so dense that they confuse presidentlal politics with sport and will vote for the candidate on their team at all costs. Neither McCain nor Obama will bring any "change" to Washington. Neither man will end the war; one doesn't want to and the other doesn't know how. Republicans don't think McCain is conservative enough while Democrats just pulled off what is possibly the dumbest stunt in American politics; insulting and offending half their voters who supported another candidate in the primary.

    In the meantime, the mainstream media will determine who they want to win with their dramatic reads on meaningless polls in an effort to sway voters toward the "inevitable winner."

    For those of us with independent minds, this has all been quite amusing. But we all lose in November.

    June 25, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  19. Matt: honestly

    Puma Pac hear me roarrrrrrrrr!!!!! hahahahahahaha

    June 25, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. Peter E

    I would hope so... I want Ron Paul to run as an independent. Vote change you can TRUST!

    June 25, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. Kathy

    Nader has always stood up for what he believes in, regardless of the consequence. I was very disappointed that part of the reason Gore lost was because of votes for Nader, but again, people are free in this country to vote for whom they want based on principal. I suppose if Gore ran a better campaign, the Nader factor would have been a wash. I do agree though, that this country truly needs a third party choice, and one that is valid with potential. The two party system I feel continues to fail the America people. I for one, am tired of having to go to the polls and hold my nose when I select a presidential candidate because I really don't favor the two main choices.
    Also, I would say, that as a Clinton supporter, I would love to see her be able to run as an independent. I felt she represented values of both parties. She was in my opinion a middle of the road candidate that was not invasive to principal. But that is neither here nor there.
    This year, I will cast my vote for McCain, but I am not a hugh fan. I will NOT however vote for Obama. I feel him to be ill-qualified for the office, and I do not trust his judgement.
    This country has a long way to go when it comes to our political choices. The two party system is jammed packed with money and influence, thus not allowing for a better choice-for shame.

    June 25, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. Independent Voter

    What a silly question! Anyone would think you press people report the news instead of deciding for us what news we will hear. This is a perfect example. Today is the very first time you even mentioned Nader.

    June 25, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  23. Vic

    I have no use for Ralph Nader who, without doubt, was responsible for George Bush succeeding to the presidency. And the reason I am not a supporter for Barack Obama has nothing to do with his being a black man of what Ralph Nader said about him. I am not supporting Obama for the same reason I was very much against George Bush because the man was simply not qualified for the office, and the last eight years have proved that to be true. Now, for those same reasons, I cannot support Barack Obama. We just simply cannot afford to have such inexperience in charge of running the most powerful country in the world. Nothing personal here.

    June 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. Glenn

    Nader quote on Obama: "I mean, first of all, the number one thing that a black American politician aspiring to the presidency should be is to candidly describe the plight of the poor, especially in the inner cities and the rural areas, and have a very detailed platform about how the poor is going to be defended by the law, is going to be protected by the law, and is going to be liberated by the law," he said. "Haven't heard a thing." What a bunch of racial prejudice! What about a white American politician, say like yourself Nader, why wouldn't you are McCain or Barr make a similar statement. Nader has gone well beyond his limitations. Some call him a spoiler...what a joke!

    June 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. Vig

    Hillary Clinton can break through either as an independent or as a write-in candidate on your November ballot. We don't need more inflation in the White House – Obama is mostly air, Hillary is substance.

    June 25, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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