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. 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 not very different when compared to principled 3rd parties

    January 30, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. MC

    I blame Ralph for Bush. I blame Ralph AND Bush for the war in Iraq. My son's best friend was killed in Iraq at age 19. Thanks, Ralph. If you hadn't had an ego the size of the Universe, we'd be in a different place right now. Ralph Nader=Spoiler, and Spoiled Brat and Idiot. Oh, and Ego-Maniac.

    January 30, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. jww

    Is 11th hour Nader to be ollowed by 11th hour Bloomberg. It ought NOT to be allowed! Cheeze. It's stuff like this that "Benevolent Dictator" comes to mind.. Dems have enough competition from each other and Front runner Repubs without another OUT DATED,has-been, head-line grabber.

    Nader should try show-biz and and QUIT Ego-tripping on political stage.

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

    If you really care bout the people, Mr. Nader, then stay out of th Presidential race.If you run, you might as well escort another Republican into the White House. Our country needs unity, not divisiveness.We are sorry the candidates of the Democratic party do not meet your standards. But, they are popular with the people.In the end, the people decide who should lead. You were not chosen.

    January 30, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. KUjHwk

    I think people are a lot smarter and wiser after the 2000 election. Too much to lose to be fooling around with unelectable candidates. I agree with much of what Nader's ideas, but unless there's a Revolution sometime between now and Nov. 2, he's just spitting in the wind.

    I agree with Nader re Obama as well. But he has to realize that Obama's trying to work within the system to make positive change for us all. Nader wants to dismantle the entire system.

    January 30, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. kristine

    Just another FAT CAT trying to throw a rock in the path... let it go Nader.. I love ya but not this time!!! You took votes away from Gore.. unforgiveable!

    January 30, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. Benjamin

    I hope you are all joking. Nader didnt cost the democrats the election. Gore would have won if he had A) carried his home state B) gotten the votes of ANY third party, not just nader. ANY of them. Not to mention that Nader received a large amount of his votes from republicans or independants, not democrats. Had kucinich or edwards remained, he probably would have stayed away, but now we are stuck with two corporate democrats who are hardly different then the republicans.

    January 30, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. Carol

    I believe in Nader's mission as a consumer advocate, but he is not a legitimate Presidential candidate. I firmly believe it is everyone's right to run for office, however, if his motive is truly to improve the state of our country, he just needs to remember what happened the last time he ran – George W. for seven long years – and keep in mind there is a fate worse than having Obama as our President. I wasted my vote last time on Nader and you can be darn sure I won't do it again!

    January 30, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. Marlene

    Nader will you please go away. You're like an annoying blogger on a website who keeps entering and contributing nothing but spam.

    January 30, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. Bryce

    Ralph Nader is a republican. Well, at least his actions tend to benefit them more than the people he pretends to represent.

    January 30, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. mike

    Go for it Ralph! You have my vote

    January 30, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. stephen

    Ralph has more guts than anyone who has already posted their opinion on their message board.

    Go Ralph – and besides, who cares if the Dems and GOP are hurt by a Nader run? They don't own anyone's vote.

    January 30, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. Anna, IL

    I like Nader, but not as the President of the United States.

    January 30, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  14. Seth

    I swear to God, few people in this world get me as upset as Ralph Nader. This jerk actually said there was no difference between Republicans and Democrats, what a fool! He must be stopped!

    Ralph – you're a loser! You always will be!

    January 30, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. Brad

    If Nader cares so much, why haven't we heard a single thing from him since his last run? Are his causes only important when he can ruin an election?

    If Nader cared about the country, he could have spent his time pushing for reforms that would make 3rd parties viable alternatives rather than aiding the people who's beliefs are the absolute opposite of those he claims to hold.

    January 30, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. Mark McHugh

    He needs to get honest with America and let us know if the GOP bankrolled him last time

    January 30, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  17. Scott

    According to unname source, Al Gore will annouce his endorsement to Barack Obama tomorrow...

    January 30, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. Sherry in Kentucky


    January 30, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. JIM BEAM

    Nader please run for president, I cant vote for Hillary and unless Obamo speaks out against illegal immigrants and outsourcing and the corrupt USA corporations I wont be able to vote.

    January 30, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  20. Theron Johnson

    Just another ego trip for Nader, snow ball in hell would stand better chance. Forget it.

    January 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. Tim

    Chris, you're out of your mind and out of touch. She wouldn't even have a snowball's chance in hell of getting taken seriously if she were not married to Bill. Their egotistic ambition is appalling...Anyone but Hillary please...

    January 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. Patrick

    Everyone has a right to run for President of the United States as long at they are over 36 years of age and a natural born citizen (thank God for that). Ralph only makes the idiots in the Rep. and Dem. parties work harder at protecting their power and pork, someone should do it – why not Ralph. Let me just say that at this moment in time and history, we should really try and elect a woman; after all, the men have done such a spectacular job in the 20th century, with at least 7 or more wars and conflicts, complete apoplexy with regard to genocide and murder through out the world (only acted upon if there is money to be made in some way) because gee did we really do anything with, Jews in Europe, conflicts in (old Yugoslavia), complete silence in all matters on the African affairs, and the Kurds in the Middle East, the Armenians, and shall I go on with complete disregard for our own citizens – their actual well-being and protection against our own government actions and greed (Katrina, and Rita victims, among others) not to mention the American Indians, etc.

    Ralph is least of our worries

    January 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  23. Dave Powell, NY

    As an independent I feel sorry because they will blow their one chance of being in the white house again.

    Hillary will be stuck holding on to the Democratic base voters who supported John Kerry, while McCain pulls in the majority of independents.

    As an independent, I will vote for McCain over Hillary anytime !!

    Welcome President John McCain !

    January 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  24. --Q

    Thanks to Nader we had to deal with Bush for 8 friggin years! Because he decided to jump in the race and steal what would be votes for Al Gore back in 2000. Why doesn't someone ban this guy from running for President??

    January 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  25. gw

    Ego Ego Ego Ego Ego Ego

    Running for office must help with speaking fees

    January 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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