June 25th, 2008
03:35 PM ET
6 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. Michael

    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 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. Pat Riot

    Already marginalizing the non corporate candidates ehh CNN? The spin machine continues. Don't even grant them the title of Main Stream Media. This is the Old Media. Welcome to the internet...don't regulate it!

    June 25, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  3. Long Time Democrat

    It's time for a party to evolve that is more representative of the true Democatic ideals. This will not happen for this election, but it would not surprise me to see this happen. As Ben from Portland stated, we need to work on state and local first. After the complete betrayal of Pelosi, Reid and other "party leadership???" and the satement from Obama that it is his party now. !!!!! thiis Democrat who has been voting for 40 + years is sitting this one out. I'll leave you first timers, voters for the shorthaul and pseudo democrats to make the decision and will say be careful what you wish for.

    June 25, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  4. Vote Nader

    kim hussein taylor portland, oregon June 25th, 2008 4:29 pm ET

    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!!!!!!!!!


    Funny thing about that. Ralph Nader has been shut out of advocating by your wonderful Democrats. Since 2000, he has met only a handful of times with Congress, because they don't want him. They are too bitter about 90,000 people thinking Ralph Nader was more qualified to be president than the Vice President was. So they blame him, and not their message which was what was at fault.


    ** Nader/Gonzalez 2008 **

    June 25, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  5. Frank

    Barr will probably have an effect if this attention keeps up (which I want it to so Obama have an easier time getting in to the white house)

    June 25, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  6. Darth Vadik, CA

    Wasted vote,
    Unless your a Conservative, please vote for Bob Barr,
    after what Borat did to him.


    June 25, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  7. I used to be a Democrat

    Barr will also take away votes from Obama. Former Democrats like myself are fed up with the party and we want liberty back in our lives and government off our back.

    Vote against the Status Quo. Vote against the Dems and the GOP!

    Third parties, all the way...

    June 25, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  8. ZKY

    Just look at how laughable those obama cultists' wishful thinking about Barr taking Mccain's votes but not Nader taking Obama's votes is.

    June 25, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  9. The US abolishes century old clinton dynasty

    Blitzer, like
    Nader , Hillary, Bill, and McBush, are so old and outdated, what kind of quetsion is this???

    now he will announce billary's new independent debt party..

    oh CNN , the worst news network..

    it is like People Magazine

    June 25, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  10. 2012

    c. bailey June 25th, 2008 5:05 pm ET

    The last independent president was????


    George Washington. There were no political parties prior to 1792.

    Any other questions from the non-students of history peanut gallery?

    June 25, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  11. aware

    Obama is Dr. No and Professor Dolittle all rolled into one. He also confuses universalism with freedom of religion. Americans don't want to change their identity. They just want to get rid of ruthless and clueless politicians like Obama!

    So, I think the Conservatives will be invigorated by Obama's "religion" faux pas to vote for McCain along with many Independents and disgusted Democrats. Nader may also help McCain but I don't think mean-mouthed Barr will gain much traction.

    June 25, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  12. paul

    I believe this country of the "FREE" and the brave should allow and rejoice over 3 parties. It is nothing new in our history and we should see it grow. Every other country in the world has more than 2 main political parties and they share power.

    Its 2008 and this is a stupid question that we should not be asking the reverse of whether we need but HOW do we grow more parties to have more people involved.

    But Nader has made a good point in a previous article ... Obama is half black/african american. How do we talk about being a country that wants to unite but we allow the fact that he is also WHITE to be publicly erased so that in history it will be a trivia question that will stump generations. And I could go on and on about what he needs to do for both blacks and white, and hispanics and asians.

    June 25, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  13. Vern

    No, a third party will not break through, at least not with these 2 clowns.

    June 25, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  14. From a True Democrat

    This topic matters not!! Obama will still win this November.

    Obama 08

    June 25, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  15. Brian

    Wait a minute... IT'S THE SAME GUY IN DISGUISE!

    Thank you CNN for breaking this story.

    June 25, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  16. Justin from West Haven, CT

    I love how people blame Nader for Bush, yet more Democrats voted for Bush than Nader. What idiots.

    June 25, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  17. Tom, St. Paul

    I used to have respect for the Libertarian Party–their serious approach as a third party, not their political philosophy. But to run this Barr character for the presdency has evaporated that respect for me. Barr's just a recycled Gingrichian, prudish, hippocritical, Contractor for America.

    June 25, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  18. Alvaro

    based on some of the comments here it looks like people (especially Obama supporters) don't know their history.

    1) The last third party presidential candidate to win the White House was Abraham Lincoln (the main parties were Whigs and Democrats- the Republican were technically a minor paty back then).

    2) Bill Clinton never won a simple majority of the vote but hirstircally speaking that didn't havppen for JFK nor Jimmy Carter. Only Reagen and Nixon managed to do so. So the argument of spoiler is silly.

    3) Finally in agreement with some Hillary supporters- I think that Nader is a way better alternative than McCain. You don't have to sell your values to the devil to make a statement.

    June 25, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  19. frank Honolulu HI

    Ralph Nader is a Republican plant. His comments should not be noted.
    He holds very little respect from anyone. Why do you CNN folks cater to him?

    June 25, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  20. Republican for Barr

    The Republican Party of today is not the Republican Party of 30 years ago – as a matter of fact, it is the complete opposite.

    My vote is going to Barr this year – he's a real conservative.

    Conservatives for Barr in '08!

    June 25, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  21. Ian

    How about a debate hosted by Ron Paul? Let's see Obama or McCain squirm when asked about the looming $30 trillion social security crisis.

    "Yes, but getting back to my idea of RE-inventing the electric car...."

    June 25, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  22. Ric

    Clinton Democrats for Mc Cain '08!!!

    June 25, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  23. Eugene

    Dear Ralph, Somewhere there is a dangerous antique, unsafe Corvair that needs your attention. Go check it out while the rest of the country proceeds with electing a leader for everyone.

    June 25, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  24. Sylvia

    Whether you agree with the politics of these candidates or not, why not let them into the debates and see how they do? My impression is that people are so jaded with the political system and thirsty for something new that they would welcome it. I think it would be quite fascinating to watch and I hope CNN does it!

    June 25, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  25. CLINTON 08 VP



    OBAMA (P) & CLINTON (VP) 2008-2014


    June 25, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
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