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. amt, Fresno,CA

    Nader, you've gotta be kidding!! As a consumer advocate you did allot of good, BUT why are you always trying to be Pres, running in every election?? It's like you'r a joke, ie: no brainer. You just distract from the real candidate. & actually try to do damage what is your point??? Drop Out you can't win!

    June 25, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  2. Independent Voter

    Nader is speaking the truth. That's why you're all appalled. The Emperor has no clothes. Are you all so silly as to believe Obama's not playing on white guilt in America of all places? Where do YOU live???

    And black voters, don't hold your breath for help with issues facing urban America and YOU. You all were thrown under the bus all through the primaries, and you fell for it! Bill Clinton was the best thing that ever happened to you, as you will learn starting in January, 2009.

    June 25, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. montag

    I've watched Ralph Nader closely over the last few months and learned much about him. I also had the distinct pleasure of hearing him speak in Portland, Oregon thlast month. Ralph Nader is a truly great man and a great American. He has spent his entire life working tirelessly and selflessly to improve the lives of every American.

    Do you like having clean air to breathe and clean water to drink? Thank Ralph Nader.

    Do you like having safer automobiles, food and medicines?
    Thank Ralph Nader.

    Do you like being employed in safer work environments?
    Thank Ralph Nader.

    He is one of the few remaining honest men in the public arena, and when he's gone we'll be a lesser nation for it.

    Insist, no – demand that Nader, Barr, and McKinney be given a voice in the debates and in the corporate-controlled media. Demand that they be allowed on the ballots of every state in this country. Our democracy can only survive if more voices are heard and we end this corrupt Republican/Democrat duopoly.

    June 25, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  4. Independent Voter

    Nader is speaking the truth. That's why you're all appalled. The Emperor has no clothes. Are you all so silly as to believe Obama's not playing on white guilt in America of all places? Where do YOU live???

    And black voters, don't hold your breath for help with issues facing urban America and YOU. You all were thrown under the bus all through the primaries, and you fell for it! Bill Clinton was the best thing that ever happened to you, as you will learn starting in January, 2009.

    Nader doesn't expect to be elected. Unlike Obama, Ralph has nothing to lose here, that's why he can afford to speak truth. Don't forget you're only hearing from rabid party supporters until November.

    June 25, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  5. Bonnie

    The first shall be last, and the last shall be first! Get ready.

    June 25, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  6. Eddy

    If all those Hillary gals who can't vote for Obama were looking for a candidate close to Clinton's own position, they should be advocating a vote for Nader, not McCain. Nader's positions are pretty close to Clinton's on most key issues. If they go on advocating a vote for McCain, then this outside observer at least is persuaded that they're not really Hillary supporters at all, but Republican wolves in sheep's bleatings.

    June 25, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  7. Women In California For Obama

    Go Barr! How can ANYONE vote for that parasite Nader? At least Obama, Hillary and McCain get out and work for their votes. All he does is sit back and wait on left-over, disgruntled and unstable people. What a pathetic person.

    June 25, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  8. 2012

    A lot of people here obviously don't really know who Ralph Nader is...lol! He knows he can't win. He's never believed he could win. He does this for YOU, people, to promote issues that are genuinely important to every one of you and every future generation.

    A few of his credits:

    Freedom of Information Act
    Safe Drinking Water Act
    Occupational Health and Safety Administration
    Environmental Protection Administration

    And a host of things with the words "Equality" and "Justice" in the titles!

    Do some research on the man and his accomplishments before badmouthing the man. He's a far better American than any of you.

    June 25, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  9. Joe

    I really hope you Obama supporters get your way. I will spend the next four years on a nice Mediterranean island spending my oil profits. Then after Obama has ruined the country and all of you are running around wailing, gnashing your teeth, and rending your garments we, the sane people, may come back and rescue you from the brink. Or we might just let you wander in the wilderness for an additional four years until you beg us to forgive you for your foolishness. Signed, Rich white guys

    June 25, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  10. Steve

    Clinton, pro-life, pro-gun, pro-civil liberties Democrats for Barr 08!

    June 25, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  11. Lee, Mays Landing New Jersey

    Bob Barr is a legitimate conservative with core principles, not a pure opportunist and flip-flopper like John McCain. Since this election will be a loser for the national party, republicans would do well to vote for Bob Barr instead of John McCain.

    In McCain's campaign commercials playing here, he is now preteding to be a "democrat lite" with pretentions that he is more of an envionmentalist than Obama etc. No one will believe that!!! Barr is going back to original Goldwater style republicanism and is more authentic as a real conservative.

    The republican party may need to lose with McCain this time just to purify itself.

    June 25, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  12. Peter


    June 25, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  13. ray

    Blitzer and the Isreli lobby are having fits because one of their candidates is out of the race and the other is in trouble. It is obvious that CNN has given Blitzer a free hand to bash Senator Obama. Good bye objective journalism and hello media trying to trick the American voters into voting for McCain. If Americans are so stupid as to fall for this trick, then we will get exactly what we deserve. Just imagine Al Gore for the past 7 years instead of Bush.

    June 25, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  14. Never

    Not Nader, after what he said about Barack.

    June 25, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  15. Sarah

    Ross Perot was close until he did a Hudini Act when his daughter got married.

    But third party candidates are not taken seriously. I think I would lobby to have the same powers as the other two parties, and then go to the people. But they have to start on a federal level, which they will never do because they don't believe in the federal govt.

    June 25, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  16. Loretta from California

    Barr is just a Republican in disguise, and Nadar's desperately seeking attention.


    June 25, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  17. Linette Joshi

    Hey stupid bloggers out there, you know, the ones who zone out on American Idol, CNN, Fox News, etc. Nothing will ever change in this country until we have a president who's not a career politician. As long as we have presidents who are politicians, we'll have corporations running this country, just the way they do today. Senator Obama may not be as seasoned as McCain, but he still plays the corporate game. Wake up, America! And when you do, you might want to Wikipedia "Ralph Nader" and just see what he's done for your safety. Ralph Nader fights for people's rights.

    June 25, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  18. Isabel Maione

    I read recently that Bob Barr backed out of the election and will not be a candidate in November.

    June 25, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  19. d

    Blitz.................you DIDN'T EVEN BRING UP CHUCK BALDWIN!!!! Shame, shame, shame. YES we need "other" candidates besides the Republicans and Democrats since they are NOT looking over this Country or its' Citizens. We need a candidate who will GET THIS COUNTRY BACK ON TRACK. To date I have seen none of this. Our Government leaders truly are an atrocity heading this Country towards true socialism and IF Obama is elected marxism. THAT IS NOT THE COUNTRY I WANT FOR MY KIDS OR GRAND KIDS.

    June 25, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  20. Democrats 4 Barr

    please help Bob Barr's efforts even if you support Obama, donate and help, he stands for civil liberties and against the war.

    June 25, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |

    In Canada we have 4 to 6 parties competing in each election so we have many choices but it's still the Prime Minister usually comes from one of the two major parties, the Liberals or the Consevatives. Unfortunately we've only had one politician with the likes of Obama, young, visionary, charismatic and very smart and he turned out to be our best and most revered PM in our history, Pierre Trudeau. Around the world the USA is known to be gun loving, ignorant, uneducated, bullyish, racist, self centered, brash, opportunistic warmongers. Right
    now you need Obama in there to make some changes and try to shed a new light on America that is desperately needed in these desolate times, so praise the lord that he's given you this agent of change.

    Obama 2008-12

    June 25, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  22. Teddy California

    Do you mean if the third party candidate can win the Presidency? No. The two party system is too well established. Even President Teddy Roosevelt could not win as an independent after he served as a successful President for almost 8 years. But you can win significant popular votes. Ross Perot won 19% votes in 1992 and 5% votes in 1996, but zero delegates. There are over two thirds voters who will only vote Democrats or Republicans. They are very loyal to their parties. It is almost impossible for an independent candidate to win almost all other voters who are not loyal to either party.

    June 25, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  23. Maree Starr

    We are Asian, Hispanic and women will be on the 3 ballot instead of Obama. If he doesn't choose Hillary Clinton as VP. Say goodbye to his presidency as we are going to swing to other, Surprise is coming, please act now. Our votes are count now if Hillary Clinton is VP for Obama.

    June 25, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  24. Rational1

    Not the Nader plant again! By the way, in reference to Naders comments about Obama appealing to 'white guilt'; isn't Nader Lebanese-American? Are they considered white? If not, shouldn't he be appealing to the conditions of Lebanese-American? I know it sounds silly, by Nader started it.

    June 25, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  25. BIG SAL

    Third party or not, when middle America finally realizes that voting for Obama means higher prices for oil, they will sway to McCain.

    Obama plans to remove the troops prematurely out of Iraq which will create choas in that region. Oil will stop flowing from that country because of terrorists attacks. Oil will easily go up from there.

    Also Obama is against drilling for oil here. America will soon see the many flaws in Obama's policies from the Patriot Act to Health care.

    McCain will win in a landslide! IMHO opinion from an independent.

    June 25, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
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