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. Matt--NE

    I think a third party will most likely hurt Obama.

    People like me formerly from the Democratic Party are looking for a viable candidate, and Obama is certainly not it.

    June 25, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. Johnny McBUSH

    Of Course not.................................

    Because the Media like CNN,Fox,MSNBC and others will shut the air time down. The same way they did Dr Paul.

    Everyone knows that is what they did, it is public knowledge now.

    Of course Wolf Blitzer or Lou Dobbs or any of the other talking media heads REFUSE to talk about the Media's role in shutting certain people down.

    It is common knowledge now, just like Fox is a republicn rag network owned by Mr Builderberg himself Rupert I am a crook Murdoch.

    Believe none of these talking heads on anything they report

    June 25, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  3. Terry in El Paso, TX

    Libertarians are already winding up with their usual message. "When people hear what Barr has to say, he will blow the opposition away! He is the only candidate talkin sense, and when voters realize that..."

    Pipe dreams, yes, but those who smoke the pipe of Libertarianism are hallucinatory. We all know what Libertarianism is. There is no instance in world history of it ever having been tried, much less succeeding. It is the fantasy of about 5% of the population.

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

    Would love to see a vivable third party ...Then maybe the other two parties would give us real choices... neither off these two are going to win or make a differece...thier must be another Ross Perot like canidate out thier somewhere... Please someone give us a alternative ...

    June 25, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. roger

    this guys lost it.

    June 25, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. JerrySpoor

    Ralph Nader may have served a political purpose at one time; maybe not. At this point in time his purpose is inappropriate.

    Giving him a second thought is inapropriate.

    June 25, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. Steve Dasbach

    Thank goodness Bob Barr is running. Unlike Obama and McCain, Barr can be counted on to shrink the bloated federal goverment, restore our civil liberties, and bring our troops home.

    June 25, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. elect Obama-help

    Gallup today shows a dead tie
    Can never be too confident that these other parties cannot turn an election.
    They know they have no chance. They are not stupid.
    That is no reason to Discount their candidacy.

    June 25, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Go Mac Go. You are the Man. By the way here is what Ralphie is saying according to a story on CNN.

    Isn't Obama a stand up comedian? Laughing now, while I'll be crying later when he puts through his tax and spend plans.

    . "Whether that will make any difference, I don't know. Nader said, "I haven't heard (obama) have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead.

    What's keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn't want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We'll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards."

    Yes, I am worried that Obama will be the lottery ticket to the "welfare queens."

    Obama is the poster boy for the Tax and spend — Tax and spend crowd. I think he is a serial quitter as well. Nice gloves by the way.

    June 25, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. Pat in Cali

    To all Hillary Democrats for McCain:

    You're advertising that you don't want McCain when you label yourself that way. You show us that McCain is not your choice for president.

    That makes you look like a flip-flopper.

    June 25, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. Cynthia

    Let's hope Bob Barr does extremely well. Nader, on the other hand, is riding in the same boat with Dobson. He must be a Republican masquerading as a Libertarian or whatever it is he is running as.

    June 25, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    i USED TO have a lot of respect for nader b/c of his great work on consumer issues. but his presidential campaigns have really turned me off.

    he claims he does it for serious reasons like pointing out the flaws of our presidential elections (which we already know about), but then we hear NOTHING from him on these oh-so-important issues in the 4 years between elections.

    with the all the dangers we face today, thanks to the republicans and their deregulation, we DESPERATELY need you in the consumer advocacy arena, so get out of politics and do what you're really good at!!!!!!!!!

    June 25, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. Really?

    Yes, a third party can compete, perhaps even win (particularly this year), but not with either of these egotistical, self-centered clowns.

    June 25, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. Michael

    I want to know more about Obama ties with Rezco and the boarded up buildings in the innercities of IL. ??? Also answers about the vacant lot that Rezco's wife owens next to Obamas home. Is this a raccist comment?? What are the facts?? Come on people your smarter than this demand answers??

    June 25, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    barr and nader will take votes from McCON, not obama.

    June 25, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. obama=underhanded liar

    Two points: Obama democrats are stupid and obama = the beginning of the end of this country.

    June 25, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. kingsley




    June 25, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. w l brown

    don't matter, i "WILL" vote McCain in the election!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 25, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. Lynn, Missouri

    I like the idea of multiple choices, but it will never happen here. Too bad.

    June 25, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. James Carville

    Why do both Nader and Barr look like criminals in their headshots?

    Nader scares me. He thinks writing a book about car safety back in 1966 qualifies him to be President of the United States.

    Talk about lack of experience....

    June 25, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. Phil Newton Murphy, Oregon

    Nader is nuts and Barr is too truthful for his own good.

    But a little truth never hurt anyone.

    June 25, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. Bill

    Nader has been running for president for as long as I've been alive I think. He never gets anywhere. He never will. He just likes to be a pain in the butt.

    June 25, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. ny

    NObama '08 PERIOD.
    I wonder when CNN will fire Blitz for misleading voters towards Obama....

    June 25, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  24. Caycee, Pearl City Hawaii

    Not with these two.

    June 25, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  25. A Realist

    In the words of Jonh McEnroe ....


    These guys must only be in it to sell their book later, right?

    June 25, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
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