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. Victoria

    Mr. Nader ~ I cannot believe you blame the Dems for Al Gore's loss. It was because you split the vote – not because of the Dems.

    January 30, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. John

    Nader is just a sadistic spoiler. Those who voted for him before know what the consequences are, they're living them now under Bush. By the way, when did Sen. Claire Mccasgill become Obama's lap dog?

    January 30, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Tyler Kokjohn

    The prospect that Ralph Nader might run for the presidency again brings back painful memories for the Democrats. Yet the risk posed by Mr. Nader could be minimized by simply co-opting his strongest issues and concerns into their own platform.

    Perhaps that was all Mr. Nader really hoped to accomplish in 2000.

    Maybe in 2008 he hopes that the Democrats will choose not to allow history to repeat itself.

    January 30, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. mabel floyd

    nader lost all my respect when he saw to it ,along with the supreme ct, that bush got in the white house. now his ego is propelling him to once again see what damage he can do. he is a terrible man. i can only hope that the american people can see through his egotistical determination to once again vote republican by malice aforethought, entering the race. his need to feel important is only exceeded by his ego.

    January 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Kyle Indianapolis, Indiana


    January 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. chris

    only an anti-American who loves to see coffins covered by the Stars and Stripes believes that dubya's presidency has been a success....

    January 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. James

    Well, I personally would never vote for Obama or Clinton, but would vote and have voted for Nader in the past. From the tone of these comments, I guess the public believes that I don't deserve a candidate that represents my beliefs and ideas?

    January 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. Len

    Nader is nothing but an egomaniac!!

    January 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. MAH

    Oh, please. Will someone please, please take this man and his ego and gently tell him to retire from public life?

    What's up, Ralph? Did the RNC promise to fund a pet project? The only, absolutely only practical reason for Nader to run is that he actually wants a Republican in the White House.

    How can a man who did so much good in his early career turn around and sow so much destruction later?

    January 30, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Linda

    Are you people nuts! Nader did NOT cost Gore the election, Bush (the former gov) did by useing a ballot most were not familiar with. I for one will most certainly vote and work (for free) for Nader's run for office.

    January 30, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Ralph Ego Nader for president - no chance to win and very little to say

    January 30, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  12. Richard

    Funny. That's the funniest thing I've heard all week. What a knee slapper.

    I almost wish he would do it, just to see Hillary wipe up the floor with him.

    Oh, yeah...and what's-his-name, too.

    January 30, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. Grandin

    The Green party stands for:

    Get Republicans Elected Every November

    Ralph may not run as a Green, but it gets the point across. Third party candidates almost never win and they help get candidates elected that most voters do not support.

    On the positive side, Ralp running may help Democrats win Congressional votes from voters who may have otherwise stayed home.

    January 30, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. Jennifer

    Are you people out of your minds? Nader is the spoiler?!! What a crock–why not look at our own culpability as a nation, where 70% of eligible citizens register to vote (why would any eligible citizen not register??), and turnout of registered voters has hovered around a pathetic 50% (aprox 64% in 2004, which is still a bad joke). Iraqis voted under threats of death, and we can't even get off the couch to vote if it's too rainy outside–nevermind expending the effort to actually learn what their candidates really stand for (as evidenced by their voting records). If Nader doesn't run, I'll write him in. Why are you people so afraid of change and the sacrifices necessary to bring it about? This 'empire' is going to hell in a handbasket thanks to the plutocrats who steal votes from candidates who want real change for this country–and if that doesn't scare you and motivate you to consider drastic changes, I don't know what will. You go Ralph–I don't think it's your ego. A wasted vote is one for any candidate you don't want to see at the helm of this country-in-decline. I voted democrat for years, but I'm done with those losers (who voted to support going to war! Remember?!!). Nader's right –in word there might be differences in the two existing parties, but why don't you look at their deeds and see they're one in the same? The American public is who needs to get real.

    January 30, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. TJ

    Please, God, NO! We're in the mess we're in now because of this grandstanding idiot and his White House run. Thanks for splitting the Democratic vote last time, Ralph! Go away, you fool!

    How much are the Republicans paying you to do this? How much did they pay you last time? Go and write nasty things about a car or product, willya? Or sort out those forty pairs of black socks you bought at Army surplus umpty years ago.

    January 30, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. Justin

    If he could win I'd vote for him. But we have to be pragmatic. We can't afford another Worst-President-Of-All-Time, war-mongering administration.

    January 30, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. you all are morons

    I would vote for Nader again. What you morons don't get is the fact that he needs to be there to show you all how bad your candidates are. If he can get 100,000 people to vote for him, so be it. Maybe your candidate needs to get real on the issues, or maybe you need to elect someone that actually stands for issues.

    Look at it this way, if he's able to sway voters towards him, there's something lacking in your candidate. There's no difference whether it be Obama vs. Clinton or McCain vs Romney – they're all taking votes from each other.

    January 30, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. Sad Day..

    It's pretty sad to see all of you people berate this man for running for a public office. It's his right...it's also your right to vote (which I bet most of you didn't!!). He didn't cause Gore to lose...Gore didn't get as many electorial votes..plain and simple. I voted for Ralph before and I'll vote for him again. I didn't like Gore and I didn't like Bush! The reason that the country is in such bad shape politically is because the majority of you don't realize that you have a voice in the world!!

    "..it's a two-party system..." Actually, it isn't and until people realize that we're screwed

    "..you don't have a chance so don't run.." So if something is hard you should just quit?

    "..Ralph is a Republican.." You've got to be kidding yourself.

    "..there should be a rule not to let him run.." I'm sure it's been looked at but in reality that's called a dictatorship folks!


    January 30, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. Henry Mathews

    Not sure why everybody is panicking because someone wanted to run for President. He is qualified and has drawn some votes everytime he ran. He has the right to do so. So just shut up. This is called democracy. I can agree with a lot of things he is standing for also... Please stop crying!

    January 30, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. Lola

    I'm sure the parents of all the soldiers who died in the pointless Iraq war are so thrilled to see you back. Thanks to your arrogance (and that of the Supreme Court), Bush was able to win and avenge his father with starting a war over false pretenses. Way to go, Ralph.

    January 30, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. S. Garrett

    Nader needs to leave this one alone. I agree with a lot of the things he says, but these elections are too important for him to be acting as a spoiler. He will never win, so all his entry will do is muddle the field and possibly take votes away from those who may otherwise be electable. If he were truly interested in the well-being of the United States and its direction going forward, he will stand down and let those who have already solidified their commitment in the election process follow through unhindered. By jumping in this late in the game, his intentions become questionable.

    January 30, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. Donal

    I've come to realize that it's not reasonable to blame Nader for taking votes away from the Democratic candidates because the kind of über-idealistic, non-pragmatic, native simpletons prone to voting for him are simplistic and spiteful enough that they would vote for anybody other than a Democrat, even if they had to write that candidate in. Greens' chief complaint seems to be that the Democratic Party won't bend itself to accommodate their extremist, whacked-out agenda.

    Greens are to the left what the frothing-at-the-mouth, holy-roller religious nut-jobs are to the right. That the Democrats won't embrace them speaks much good about the Democratic party.

    Besides, it's well documented that Nader is an out-and-out tool of the right wing. It's darkly hilarious and pathetic beyond belief that the starry-eyed sheep who voted for him because he was more liberal than the Democratic candidate didn't realize that Nader takes his marching orders from Grover Norquist.

    Let the Greens run Nader, and then let them continue to be marginal and irrelevant.

    January 30, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  23. Mae

    Spoiler is a good word for it. He helped Bush win in the past. We don't need Nader's help. Let the people decide the election! Nader you can't win, all you will do is take away votes from the Democrats. Do you really want another 4 years of the same? Go away. We don't want you!

    January 30, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. RJB, Boston

    not this old hack again! he is like the grinch who stole christmas, always lurking

    January 30, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. Colette Duranleau, Denver, Colorado

    Notice Mr. Nader is talking about getting IN the Presidential Race, NOT winning it. His previous consumer protection efforts were noble and the changes that resulted were noble and worthy of attention.

    There's nothing even remotely noble about taking this course. It's selfish grandstanding that's divisive to democratic primary voters. Mr. Nader's previous attempt resulted in the GW Presidency.

    That alone is good reason to do nothing to support or encourage such a decision.

    Colette Duranleau

    January 30, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
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