Nader defends primary challenge plan
September 22nd, 2011
02:57 PM ET
3 years ago

Nader defends primary challenge plan

(CNN) - His name causes shivers in many Democratic circles, but Ralph Nader said Thursday his campaign history won't prevent him from another foray into national politics.

Nader, a persona non grata to many Democrats after he ran as a third-party candidate against Al Gore and George W. Bush in 2000, explained on CNN why he was recruiting potential candidates to run against Pres. Barack Obama in a Democratic primary.

"It isn't meant to defeat him," Nader said. "It is meant to hold his feet to the fire so he doesn't run around the country on Air Force One responding to the crazed Republicans, so he talks about the major issues that the majority of people care about."

Nader said his slate of challengers isn't meant to actually defeat Obama, but rather to provoke discussion among progressives about core issues.

"There are only about 20 primaries and it will be over quickly," Nader said. "Start in Iowa, to go New Hampshire. Do a number of primaries. There's an old saying. What is not discussed will not be advanced."

Nader also voiced support for the positions of one potential Republican candidate – former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

"There isn't anyone else in the Republican primary, with the possible exception of Ron Paul, who is talking about big business controlling our political economy and our government in Washington. And she ought to be commended for that," Nader said of Palin.

Nader's primary challenge plan is already getting pushback from some prominent Democrats. CNN contributor and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile wrote in a CNN column this week that a Democratic challenge to Obama would be devastating for the party.

"A primary challenge could further divide the party and possibly dampen Democratic enthusiasm," Brazile wrote. "These races could erode our ability to reach swing voters, who are crucial to electoral viability, by forcing candidates to draw a sharper contrast on issues than necessary to win an election. On most issues, Nader agrees with the Democrats more than the Republicans."


Filed under: 2012 • Ralph Nader
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Woman In California

    Don't worry Donna – this independent is voting for President Obama AGAIN.

    As for Nader – he will do anything for attention. In the next four years and hopefully, he'll be too old for this kind of nonsense and fade away.

    September 22, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. don

    How much are they paying you Ralph? We're still cleaning up the mess your last attempt got us into (Bush). Please do the right thing and stay out of it this time.

    September 22, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    I can see his point, though. I have noticed that the lack of a Democratic challenger means the Republicans are shaping and controlling the national conversation. Adding Democratic primaries is also a way to get Democrats involved in the general election process and discussion, which hopefully would become increased Democratic turnout at the polls. Nader's plan to run candidates could be just as much of a boom as a bust for President Obama. Someone would need to invoke the "Reagan Democrat" 11th commandment.

    September 22, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    Atta boy, Ralph.

    September 22, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. boocat

    Hey Ralph....it was because of YOU that we had to have 8 years of that cretin George Bush... PLEASE GO AWAY!!!!!

    September 22, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Nader is as Narcissistic as Palin – no wonder he's praising her.

    September 22, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. I"m with u

    nader is the reason we are in this mess today, part anyway bushes and the chenys cronies cheated al gore out of the election.

    September 22, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. iTALIAN NONNO

    Is this clown still alive? He's like Dracula,.. sleeps in his coffin, in the dark for 4 years, and only comes out at election time to suck the blood of Americans, with his phony campaign.

    September 22, 2011 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. Marcus

    Ralph Nader needs to STFU and I hope he recieves that message loud and clear. I hope someone physically delivers the message.

    I hope each of the relatives of the 6,500 soldiers that were killed in Iraq & Afghanistan has the chance to punch him dead in his face. I hope the poor & middle class folks that are paying the price for George Bush's Tax Cuts which destroyed Clinton-era budget surpluses, and wrecked the economy, SPIT in his face.

    Because of Nader's ego, arrogance, or stupidty, our country has been set back at least 20 years. There is a 6 letter word that starts with "B" and ends with "T". Maybe somebody will hit him with about 15 of them. I could be referring to BALLOT; then again maybe we should use two other vowels to spell the word.

    Being a loud mouthed moron has consequences, Ralphie. You've have done enough. Do us all a favor and stop breathing.

    September 22, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. Damage Control

    It's not only Nader's fault that Bush was allowed to kill hundreds of thousands and bankrupt our country. Don't forget Katherine Harris, Bush campaign co-chair and Secretary of State of Florida in 2000 who called off the recall and disenfranchised 94,000 minority voters who had the same names as convicted felons. Or Ken Blackwell, who worked with Diebold and ESS to delete 70,000 votes for Kerry in Ohio when he was secretary of state. But if this r3t4rd gets back in the game we're all going to lose.

    September 22, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. Liberal Elite = Anyone with an education...

    I'm beginning to think Ralph Nader is the Teapublicans 'Manchurian Candidate'. Every time a Democrat might get elected, someone says something about a red queen to him, and he goes off the deep end again.
    Hmmm, "Red Queen" – Palin, from a red state, and a drama queen...interesting...

    September 22, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. Whatthe????

    Someone should lock him up and throw the keys away till the elections are over.

    September 22, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    Nader actually comes right after Cantor on my list of people I'd like to drag out back to the woodshed for some re-edumacation.

    September 22, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. MB Seattle

    Ralph Nader is a smart guy. (no common sense) Thank you for helping to elect George Bush. Keep at it and I will be thanking you for Rick Perry,

    September 22, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. sonic10158

    If it weren't for Nader, the 2000 election might have turned out differently

    September 22, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. Publius Novus

    A fair case can be made that Ralph Nader has done more to elect Republicans than Newt Gingrich. For sure, Nader elected George W. Bush. Time to retire Ralph.

    September 22, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  17. Publius Novus

    "I hope each of the relatives of the 6,500 soldiers that were killed in Iraq & Afghanistan has the chance to punch him dead in his face. I hope the poor & middle class folks that are paying the price for George Bush's Tax Cuts which destroyed Clinton-era budget surpluses, and wrecked the economy, SPIT in his face." Strong words Marcus. But difficult to argue against.

    September 22, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  18. A Kickin' Donkey

    @ Marcus said: "Being a loud mouthed moron has consequences, Ralphie. You've have done enough. Do us all a favor and stop breathing."

    You ever notice how CRAZY HOMELESS PEOPLE don't ever screw with other CRAZY HOMELESS PEOPLE? The Democrats need to let some of their hard core dogs out.

    September 22, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Larry L

    How about Ron Paul and Ralph Nader for a new reality TV show. We put them on a remote island and never visit the island again. Ever.

    September 22, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |