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)

    Someone lend me their hands so that I have enough to slap the hell out of Nadar with an astounding sound!!!

    June 25, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. Kitty, Denver, CO.

    Good Lord I hope not. Two going at it is more than enough–Thank you very much!

    June 25, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  3. Silence Dogood

    It is time for a third party. Given the choice between the "Same Policy War Guy" and the "Empty Lying Victim Preppy", I would love to see some breakthrough of alternative parties.

    June 25, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. c. bailey

    The last independent president was????

    June 25, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  5. Sarah, Northern Colorado

    Vote Nader! Because we want a man in our highest office who is innately and completely unapologetic for how the last 8 years has turned out!

    Give me a freaking break...

    June 25, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  6. Rick FL

    Many conservatives are not happy with McCain as their candidate. Bob Barr gives them another alternative this year.

    Nader has already had his runs, decreasing to 0.3% of the votes in 2004. I would tend to guess he will continue to decline in the fall.

    June 25, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  7. Justin, PA

    I supported Nader in '04. I support Obama in '08. Had my state been a close state in '04 I would have voted for Kerry but since I knew it was firmly blue I voted for Nader because some of his policies were some I thought the democratic party should adopt. Since then the democrats have adopted similar legislation and is much different then it was even just 4 years ago. I am really dissapointed Nader is running this time because I think Obama and him can agree on a lot of things. I think Nader should focus on more realistic options like the senate or something.

    June 25, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. me in dc

    I'm surprised you even mentioned the names of Nadar and Barr. I haven't heard a word about Nadar since he declared. I think a third party candidate should be considered, but the MSM makes that impossible.

    June 25, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  9. yande

    mathew you sound like a born racist, supporting the very discrimanating comments by nader, maybe he's trying to get to the spotlight with racially charged comments, but certainly he has no good interest for the American people, he's here to get some hard earned funraising cash for retirement vacations, what a hypocrite. America is moving forward whether you like it or not, blacks,whites, latinos ,asians and native americans are coming together to share on their most profound commonality as one human race, one people, nation, and one love for america that has given so much to them.I know men like louu dobb may still be very blind to the facts just as you are.

    June 25, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. Ben - Portland

    No "third" party will break through at the presidential level. Minor parties should focus their efforts on state and local seats, then move up to US Senate and House elections.

    The true benefit of these two running is that they'll remove the pandering to the extremes of the parties and allow the greater bell curve to decide the election.

    June 25, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  11. Sylvia Johnsen

    They said us Clinton woman would go for McCain, and I must say Nadar is more of an alternative. He's a bit grey and grouchy, but policy wize he's the man I look for.

    June 25, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  12. Vote Nader

    Well, CNN, will you have Mr. Nader, Rep. Barr and Ms. McKinney participate in your debates? If so, I bet each of them will collectively bust through.

    The two party system sucks.


    ** Nader/Gonzalez 2008 **

    June 25, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  13. yande

    someone needs to pour cocoanut water on naders head to wash out all the madness in his celeberum. His ajoker and shouldnt be given any spotlight

    June 25, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  14. Belle

    Only if that 3rd Party candidate was Independent and named Hillary R. Clinton

    June 25, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  15. California Gold

    A third party candidate would only hurt McCain.

    More people are streaming to the Obama campaign. Die hard Republicans, those who would rather stick needles in their eyes than vote for a Democrat, would probably vote for a 3rd party candidate rather than vote for McCain.

    But a 3rd party candidate would not break through Obama's lead. Obama has too much momentum.

    Nader is nothing more than a perennial Presidential candidate.

    June 25, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  16. Tammy - KCMO

    Not this one. Hopefully as some point there will be a 3rd party candidate that is good enough to have a chance at winning.

    June 25, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  17. Gene

    These two will do wonders for Obama.. since they're mostly going to take votes away from McCain... Hey.. Maybe you PUMA morons might stand behind one of these guys. After all... if you're gonna slap your beloved supported Hillary in the face by doing exactly the opposite of what she wants.... you might as well do it indirectly instead of voting for McCain.

    June 25, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |

    Nadar must need a few new suits...

    June 25, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  19. Bam!

    While Barr may be an alternative for Repugs, Nader is not EVEN a choice for dog catcher!!

    June 25, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  20. Ladybug

    Why not Hillary as an Independant.

    That would be change for the better!!!

    June 25, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  21. Never Nader

    Are you kidding me? Ralph Nader–NEVER. He needs to apologize to Barack. His 3% is going to go down to .5%.

    Obamabound for Victory 08

    June 25, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  22. Coffin Builder

    I hear Nader sealed his coffin today. LOL, I also hear he got it at a great price–free publicity.

    Obama 08

    June 25, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  23. Erika, KS

    Well, a third party should break through, ,but it won't be these two.

    June 25, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. TRUTH

    Regarding Georgia: Obama got 700,366 votes and was the top vote getter for the Dems. McCain only got 303,639 and was not a top vote getter for the Republicans and this was an OPEN primary.

    Obama will do just....fine.... in Georgia.

    June 25, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  25. Tom

    Yes, if it's Hillary Clinton with Bloomberg as veep. Or the general as veep. Or Evan Bayh as veep. You get the drift?

    June 25, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
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