January 30th, 2008
06:28 PM ET
15 years ago

Nader takes steps towards another White House bid

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/30/art.nader.gi.jpg caption=" Nader is taking steps toward another White House bid."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Ralph Nader, the longtime consumer advocate who was blamed by many Democrats for Al Gore’s loss in the 2000 presidential election, launched an exploratory committee Wednesday for another White House bid, and told CNN he is likely to get in the race if he can put the resources in place.

"John Edwards, the banner of Democratic Party populism, is dropping out, and Dennis Kucinich dropped out earlier, so in terms of voters who are at least interested in having major areas of injustice, deprivations, and solutions discussed in a presidential campaign, they might be interested in my exploratory effort," Nader said.

Nader has launched an official exploratory committee Web site, and said he will formally make a decision in about a month. He said he is certain to get in the race if he can demonstrate the ability to raise $10 million and recruit enough lawyers to deal with ballot access issues. He has yet to formally file paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission, though he does not need to until he officially becomes a candidate, according to the FEC.

Nader said he finds Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both unacceptable candidates, and he said whichever wins the party's presidential nomination will not have an impact on his decision to run.

"They are both enthralled to the corporate powers," Nader said of the two leading Democrats. "They've completely ignored the presidential pattern of illegality and accountability, they've ignored the out of control waste-fruad military expenditures, they hardly ever mention the diversion of hundreds of billions of dollars to corporate subsidies, handouts, and giveaways, and they don't talk about a living wage."

He expressed particular disappointment with Obama, whose senate record he called "mediocre, and quite cautious."

"It's not that he doesn't know what the score is, of course he does - look at his background, he knows plenty," Nader said. "But he's censoring himself."

Nader attracted close to 100,000 votes in Florida in 2000 - a state Al Gore ultimately lost to George Bush by approximately 500 votes. He brushes aside suggestions his candidacy this year may ultimately spoil the election for the Democratic Party.

"Political bigotry will be the label on anybody who uses the word 'spoiler,' he said. "Because ‘spoiler’ means minor candidates are second class citizens. Either we have an equal right to run for election, or we are spoilers for each other trying to get each other's votes.”

- CNN Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Ralph Nader
soundoff (1,186 Responses)
  1. HM

    Not again! Well if Obama gets the nomination, Nader won't make a difference. Obama will secure a landslide victory and we will finally have a united country. However, if Clinton gets the nod (God help us all!) it will be very divided again and Nader's votes could throw the election to the GOP.

    Obama '08!

    January 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. vijay kachru

    Ralph Nader's main reason for running is to ensure republican win. Go for it Ralph.

    January 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. Susan Nunn

    Ralph Nader must be a republican...that is all I can figure, and the republicans will pay him his money to get in there and split the dems again.... there ought to be a law against this fool.

    January 30, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. Teresa

    Step down Nader, you had your moment, you are just trying to get in the headlines one more time. If you were so interested in really helping we would hear from you more than every four years

    January 30, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. Jessica @ work

    No! Please! Not again!!

    January 30, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. Another Steve

    Geez people. Regardless of what you think about the elections of 2000, this guy does deserve to run if he wants. You can run if you want to be hacked down publicly by others. As far a Nadar, this guy has done more to protect your consumer rights in this country than just about anybody in or out of government. He deserves some respect for all the work he has done. I personally don't blame him for Bush. I blame uneducated voters.

    January 30, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. LisaMpls

    Ralph, you are now pathetic!! I watched An Unreasonable Man...you have become a disgrace to our country. You had the opportunity to run as a VP way back when and you turned it down, saying that such a high platform was not for you. You wanted to get the job done otherwise. Now, you're attempting to run yet again for the highest position in the land. What??? If you truly wanted what is best for this country, you would leave us all alone. We don't need you.

    January 30, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Kevin R Wright

    You people are absolutely delusional. Ralph Nader has done more for you personally (whether you realize it or not, or maybe just don't want to admit it) then any other politician in recent memory. The man should be praised for what he ahs done for consumers.

    He is 100% right about Obama, I've personally been looking for a reason to vote for Barack, but the man has watered himself down. I want real change, not just a catch phrase.

    January 30, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. Jeffrey

    Is Nader running or his ego? I can't tell.

    January 30, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  10. Nan

    The only reason Ralph Nader should blame Democrats for Al Gore's loss is because it was he whom took their votes away from Al. I myself voted for Nader as I believed in him and what he stands for. All I have to say is: Look where my vote for him got us! It shall not happen again this time! Sorry Ralph!

    January 30, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. Christian B

    Give me a break, Nader can't "steal" votes away from anyone.

    Votes belong to the people who cast them, if they choose to vote for him instead of one of the major party candidates, then that's their right.

    I'm pretty sure that virtually everyone who has ever voted for Nader in a general election did not believe that he was going to win the Presidency, but they voted for him anyway. Those votes didn't "belong" to the Democratic party.

    January 30, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. Luke Brown, Charleston SC

    The Republicans will come up with $10 million to get Nader in the race. What an ego this guy has! Young people don't realize he used to be brilliant. Now he is a crackpot. Anyone who says this guy did not hand the 2000 election to Bush can't add.

    If he was really courageous he would enter the primaries and compete for the nomination. "Spoiler" means exactly what it says, Ralph.

    January 30, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  13. Boomerscout

    Aha. So he is a Republican shill after all.

    January 30, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  14. Ron

    Nader doesn't give a hoot about "the issues." He cares only about his own ego and personal aggrandizement. Third party or "no party" candidacies like this never do what they claim to do, which is to bring new ideas into the mainstream. For the most part, the media pays almost no attention nor does the electorate.

    One has to wonder how Nader justifies the concept of running a doomed campaign, which, as a practical matter, will likely have no impact other than to potentially undermine the Democratic candidate and lead to another depressing GOP administration?

    The Democrats only hope is that most of Ralphie's supporters have learned their lesson and that he'll be a non-factor.

    January 30, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. jim

    Hey Ralph:

    Isn't there a Corvair you need to roll or something?

    January 30, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. BB

    Now the Edwards is out, I will consider supporting Ralph.

    January 30, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. go nader!!!


    January 30, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. sherm

    No Ralph, In fact, we're not the least bit interested in anything you do.

    January 30, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. Max

    You could find reason, that the dead in Iraq, lies at the feet of R. Nader.

    January 30, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. Divided we fall

    Ralph Nader, leading the charge one more time for the Republican Party.

    Perot showed America that we could divide and conquer, split their ideal base, and they can't win, at a fraction of the cost of actually electing a candidate. Just bring along a LOSER and support them with enough cash to divide the true ideals within any party. Shred the vote in half, and watch who gets elected.

    So, since the outcome of this behavior is proven to be a viable way to toss a good election, let's also throw enough money at Ron Paul. He can't possibly win, but he can take hundreds of thousands of votes away from the conservative base. Isn't that really what we're looking for?

    Let's make it a real party....four person election, now we're talking a real dog and pony show...

    January 30, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. Lazarus, Philadelphia

    I don't think that Nader is going to have much of an effect on the election this year. Unless something drastic happens to the country, it seems like Democrats are very much energized and Republicans are not – I would guess that the election won't be a close call. 3rd party candidates only "effect" an election when the election is close (i.e., where the margin of victory is less then the number of votes received by the 3rd parties). The only way that I can see this being a close election would for it to be Clinton vs. McCain, which could obviously happen but probably won't.

    That being said, even if Nader would effect the election I still support his right to run. Anyone who talks of spoilers is tacitly accepting the two-party system that we have. Nader wouldn't be stealing any votes from the Democrats. One cannot steal a vote that is freely given. Candidates have to earn votes. If the Dems want to earn votes away from Nader then they will have to promote the issues that Nader supporters care about. A vote for Nader is not a vote for the Republicans; it's a vote for Nader. This is no different then the Republicans who traditionally received much of the libertarian vote when they promoted small government. If you look at the margin of victory in the 2006 Congressional elections, many of the seats the Republicans lost by many fewer votes then the libertarians received. They lost these votes because they didn't promote the issues libertarians care about.

    Not that it matters much, but I am always surprised how many times people scream about "spoilers" causing their left-of-center or right-of-center party to lose an election, when in reality most voters have to hold their nose to vote for either of these parties. I had to do the same thing when I voted for Kerry in 2004 – I voted for the lesser of two evils ( I guess that means I threw my vote away since I didn't vote for the winner). It's a sad choice to have to make and one that I refuse to make any longer. The Demoblicans and Republicrats are note very different when compared to principled 3rd parties

    January 30, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. Benjamin

    Ralph: Edwards stepped down because he knew it was pointless to continue. When you know this before even stepping in, why bother?

    I wouldn't call you a spoiler, but a saboteur.

    – Thanks to no Al Gore, we've run an ineffective and careless war against Terror riddled with torture accusations and humanitarian crimes.
    – Thanks to no Al Gore, we're in Iraq
    – Thanks to no Al Gore, we did not enter the Kyoto Treaty, and are now way behind schedule for the American consumer in providing alternative fuel cars at affordable prices, while oil is hovering at $100 a barrel

    January 30, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. James

    Ralph Nader has a right to run...but the primary issue is that he may, once again be the reason we get stuck with a Republican in the White House...way to go Ralph....maybe it's time you put aside your unnecessary political aspirations.....we need a "one-on-one" race this time. The majority spoke against Bush in 2000, but he won because of you!

    January 30, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  24. Friendly

    Here comes Nader again – the secret weapon of the republican machine. Sure, they need his help again – now to make John MacCain the next president. Will it work this time around?! – we'll see… In 2004 I thought that majority of people who voted for Bush or Nader in 2000 would be smart enough not to vote for Bush again – I was wrong…

    January 30, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  25. Steph

    Narcissistic waste of time.

    January 30, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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