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. Lynn, Missouri

    George Carlin once said that with all the important things, we only get two choices and with the unimportant things we get multiple choices and he gave examples. We should always have more choices.

    June 25, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. Willy

    I hope so. With 2 democrats running for the same job we need something fresh.

    June 25, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. Jeff - Illinois

    Any advantage against McCain in those states where the red light of despair is beginning to flicker out and the blue light of renewal and true American values is finally showing itself is more than welcome!

    Even some of the so-called "red-states" now have enough people who can see the truth through the fear and deception of the Republican party to go Blue.

    Cast your vote as a Citizen of the United States of America, not as a mindless drone casting votes to benefit corporations at the expense of individuals!

    BARACK OBAMA 2008!!!

    June 25, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. atypical

    Nadar and Obama not even close to being in the same league.
    Nadar is looking for another 15 minutes of fame, I imagine.

    June 25, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. matthew in san francisco

    I agree with Nader when I hear what he said about Obama in context. It's true, he is "speaking White." I like how this is first time in a long time we hear anything about "Third Party Candidates." It shows a real bias.

    I also think it's pretty funny to blame someone else for your loss in a contest. "If only there were no one else to compete against, he would have won." Give me a break.

    June 25, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. Heather

    Nader's a has-been that just committed political suicide. He will NEVER be president; instead, his consolation prize is a year's supply of Rice-a-Roni (the San Francisco treat) and a date with Geraldine Ferraro.

    June 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. Schalaine Ellisor

    GoBarr. Go Nader. Please get an effective campaign and go for it!! Every vote you get is one less for McCain. You won't hurt Obama. His supporters are too smart to fall for your lines of BS. Obama stands for change. I don't know about you, but I feel our country should be sailing into the 21st century instead of falling further and further behind. In order to do that, we need a leader with a true vision for the futher. Not someone who has only come up with ridiculous gimmicks.

    June 25, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  8. matthew in san francisco

    but what about Gonzalez, Nader's running mate?

    June 25, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. jenn

    Ignorance is the word that comes to mind when I read all this name calling against the third party candidates. Too many American citizens today don't take the time to research the facts. Our two party system of governing has NOT done us well. I hope the voting public gets to really know each candidate including the independents, without prejudice.
    So much is riding on getting it right this time around.

    June 25, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. Doris

    I|,m for Mc
    cain I do not want socialized medicene; You wait for a heart operation and before you are in linefor yours you die. I want 15|% tax on stocks sold; |I invested after I retired and so did many others who have a Social Security of $1,300 a month less deductions. Vote for MCain

    June 25, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. What?

    Ron Paul is the only candidate out of the bunch that's fit to run this country. Point blank!

    June 25, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  12. Shawna

    Obama told supporters brace yourselves for the racial overtones and racial attacks. The media and pundits tried to say that he was playing the race card...and today here is Nader saying Obama is talking white as opposed to talking like a black person should, or talking about black issues. The last time I checked whites also live in the inner cities. Sounds like Obama and his staff have a good sense of predicting what will happen within this race, just like Iraq, afganistan, the economy, gas tax holiday gimmicks, and offshore drilling.

    June 25, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  13. Frank, Missouri

    Nader is just a habitual candidate .. he uses that as a PR platform every four years. He is far from being a viable alternative. If somebody like Obama would open a third party you could seriously toss things upside down, but Nader (or Barr) are just the vents for voters who just cannot vote for either Obama or McCain. Fair enough but not relevant.

    June 25, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  14. mayahh

    A little piece of fame for HISTORY, they both are that HISTORY OBAMA 08

    June 25, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. Ken in NM

    Umm no but Barr will sure help Obama win by an even wider margin.

    June 25, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. Vik

    Nadar has no chance of ever winning, so what's he in it for? Makes me wonder if it's just an ego trip? Seems like a lot of wasted time and effort to prove noting, but that there should be a thrid party. Sometimes you have to just vote for what's the closest thing to where you believe this country should be headed and not all this nonsense. Nadar is becoming a major disappointment.

    June 25, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. KMAN

    Ralph is simply LOST in the 21ST CENTURY ... he never quite achieved relevance beyond his 1960’s crusade against the Corvair!

    And ... Bob who???

    June 25, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. Stella M. Rice, Carbondale, Il 63903

    Nader is right"

    June 25, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  19. John Campbell

    I t hink McCain is going down in flames. We're talking Dukakis/Mondale territory. Once Republican voters realize and accept this, they will no longer feel compelled to vote the lessor of two evils.

    At that point many conservatives who are upset with McCain over amnesty, campaign finance reform, 2nd ammendment abuses, etc... will move over to Barr.

    I'm not predicting he can win the presidency, but I do think he can break through the 2 party duopoly and prove that the Libertarian Party is a viable party. This will be a tremendous benefit long term in attracting candidates and votes to the LP.

    Hopefully this will be the beginning of the end of the GOP. The party that brought us illegal wire taps, extraordinary renditions, Abu Graib, Gitmo, torture, suspension of Habeus Corpus, uranium yellow cake from Niger, aluminum tubes, mobile iraqi weapons labs, and the biggest growth in government spending since LBJ definitely deserves to go the way of the Whigs.

    June 25, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  20. Why?

    This man is not even relevant. I'll log back in when you post some real news.

    June 25, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  21. Ken in NM

    All of you PUMA PAC people as silly and sad. You have to be republicans or should be.

    June 25, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  22. Jason, Texas

    Third Parties would do better if they put up viable candidates. So far, no candidate from a third party should be elected in the first place. I do think they ought to get more airtime from the media. CNN, etc ought to get them into the mix whenever there is a Dem/Rep debate, etc. It's sad that our country is not given more options in this regard and it's controlled by the money hungry corporate media moguls.

    June 25, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    If your third party doesn't consist of losers and right-wing tools, you might have a shot

    June 25, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  24. Fed up with the lies

    Nader and Barr will not have a measureable effect on the election. Sen. McCain will be soundly defeated due to his ties to the Bush administration, lack of charisma, and just not being able to make up his mind which side of an issue he stands on. I believe we have a new standard bearer of the "flip flop" award in Sen. McCain.

    June 25, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  25. Al in Dallas

    Nader is a non-event; Barr, on the other hand could drain some McCain supporters, especially in the south. If he does, best color most of the south BLUE, not RED!

    June 25, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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