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. TH

    Nader is a smart man who did good things for the country many years ago; but he is blind to the harm that his running a hopeless campaign can cause. He is as much responsible for Gore's loss in 2000 as those millions of idiots who voted for Bush. Stay out of it this time, Ralph! Please!

    January 30, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  2. Paul

    HA! Now we finally have found someone that can bring the democrats together...seriously, if you really wanted change, you wouldn't be waiting around for a Washington crook....start with yourselves...

    January 30, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  3. faisal

    i really think this guy is on GOP payroll. Please someone STOP this mad man and let us have a Democratic President who will bring order to the current chaos in our country in particular and around the world in general.

    January 30, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    When is Ralph going to realize the world does not revolve around him? It is time for him to do something meaningful rather then screw up another election. Perhaps he ought to have his head examined

    January 30, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  5. Hoodi - CA

    Ralph Nader your time is over. I was thinking you aresmarter than that till now. Your message has been tested in the past elections and this one too by Sen. John Edward. Now, let us now what is your real motive behind trying this time. You must be a republican who wear independent mask. Because of you the democrat lost in 2000 election to the republican. Knock it off Ralph Nader. We still do have respect for your last attempts but not this time.

    January 30, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  6. Max

    Dear Ralph,
    Because of you, President Bush won the 2000 election. Because of this, the War in Iraq started and killed many of our young and brave soldiers. Go away, you're not going to win, you are just going to give John McCain a better chance in keeping our country in Iraq and go into other areas such as Iran. Go away, go away, go away. You don't have a chance of winning anyway.

    January 30, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  7. George, Connecticut

    The only way we'll be able to challenge the current American kleptocracy is to promote third-party candidates. Both the Democrat and Republican parties have colluded to maintain their stranglehold on American taxpayer dollars. I, for one, support Ralph Nader's attempt to introduce democracy to America. I also hope Ron Paul follows Mr. Nader's lead in running as a third party candidate.

    January 30, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  8. Rick K.

    Mr. Nader, You have every right to run for office. However, please (begging, here)
    do NOT run for any political office until *after* January, 2009.

    Thank you.

    January 30, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  9. C-Money

    Ralph Nader is a loser. He must get some sort of self-satisfaction in wasting his time running for office? Does he really think he has a chance, [if he does run] this will be his fifth time running.

    A joke? I think so.

    January 30, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  10. Sam

    Go Ralph Go!!
    Hillary needs your company to beat the Republicans. Your votes and hers combined together will beat McCain or Romney but will not put Hillary in the White House. You are the answer to the millions who are against corporate interests and lobbyists who paid millions to the Hillary's and Bill’s war chest. We need you to indirectly defeat Hillary's and Bill's personal and dynastic ambitions. Both Bill and Hillary do not care for the poor, all they care are themselves. Ralph please run and put an end to the politics of special interests represented by Bill and Hillary. By the way, Hillary is no Democrat. Her audacity to inject racial division and prejudice into the primary race goes against what the real Democrats stand for.

    January 30, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  11. mward

    Noble sentiment.

    But my dear Mr. Nader, we're talking about a real political struggle for real political power. I appreciate your voice in the debate. I believe any possible participation in this 2008 Presidential race will ,as in former campaigns, be a true demonstration of political leadership as an analog for civic engagement.

    However, to quote William Tecumseh Sherman's response to the Mayor of Atlanta's pleas to halt the destruction of his City, "War is cruel, War is Cruelty". To state the obvious, Politics is war. Presidential Politics is a struggle of inequalities, of men with small minds and giant wallets pitted against men with large minds and small wallets. The very introduction of corporate soft money contributions to political campaigns had the immediate consequence of disenabling campaigns such as your own.

    Yet, despite this seeming perversion of American Politics, our electoral process is still people powered; which is precisely where the true cruelty, the true cruel consequence of your participation in the 2008 Presidential Race resides. Your participation will prevent a Democrat from winning the White House come November 2008. That’s the reality. The Polarization of your ideals, however well intentioned, however patriotic they might be, results in a myopic distortion of the American Political Landscape. To loosely paraphrase your response to cries of "Spolier" in 2000. "If anything, I’m here to remind Americans that their vote for President of the United States is not only between the Lesser of two Evils". We live and campaign in a world of gradations. This position is not an abandonment of a moral high ground, but a realization of the obstacles facing a progressive America from obtaining the birthright of their Dream. Step back, help direct focus, money, influence and power to those issues that particular Presidential Candidate espouses. The votes potentially cast for you are real, the issues, the obstacles facing America are real. The terrain of America Politics is Ugly.


    January 30, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  12. sandyj

    Give it a rest...don't run!!!!

    January 30, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  13. Jonathan in Chicago

    Ralph Nader has successfully squandered and undermined an otherwise honorable and well-earned reputation as a crusader and an advocate through his repeated and misguided campaigns for the presidency. He is, quite obviously, an arrogant, self-serving, ego-driven shell of a man that has a profound need for attention. If he were genuine in his efforts to establish a VIABLE third party, he would use his 'talents' to run for congress, or the senate - two offices he might actually gain some traction with - and work to encourage other independent and like-minded individuals to do the same. Through such incremental growth, he could build a viable alternative to the two parties and then, maybe, have a chance at running for the big job.

    And what if he were elected (which he never will be), what then? Would any leaders take him seriously? would he enjoy any cooperation from the House or the Senate? No. He would have effectively alienated democrats and republicans, engendered widespread resentment throughout the country, and serious instability throughout the world. All one needs to do is consider his prior and ongoing poor judgement in running for office, and you can see why the world would cringe in horror at the thought of President Nader. One of humanity's greatest gifts is our ability to learn and apply past experiences to our present actions - whether you agree with Nader's bitter and cynical views on the democratic candidates or not, please learn from the past (apparently, Nader will not) and ignore this sad, sad man.

    His entry into the race will not result in greater discourse, or improved dialogue about Nader's issues - it will certainly not result in a Nader presidency - what it will do, however, is possibly provide a slim margin for a GOP victory and another republican white house. So what, you say? There is no difference between the parties or candidates? This is patently false, and you need only consider the tremendous damage done by the Bush administration to our world, our country, our environment, our economy, our educational system, our rights and civil liberties, and the list goes on!

    Nader, if you're reading this, do the right thing; if you really do want to make a meaningful contribution to the national dialogue, do so without running for president - use your media draw to challenge the candidates to address your concerns, mobilize supporters to educate and inform the electorate, and work collaboratively with those who share your concerns to make tangible changes (e.g. not just through the election, at which point you will disappear again until the next election...)

    January 30, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  14. Cas

    If he really wanted to make a difference, he'd run in the Democratic Senate primary against Lieberman. Of course, he missed his chance a couple of years back and might not get the chance four years from now. I bet a lot of Democrats who hate Nader in general would send him money if it meant Lieberman lost his seat.

    January 30, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  15. Elizabeth

    Some of you are blaming Nader as the only reason that US troops are dead because of the war on Iraq. What about the senators (including Hillary) who voted for the war?

    January 30, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  16. Folkwolf101

    Well, I will say this: Nader is the only person with the guts to say Obama is overly "cautious" and not to be trusted. That seems in line with Hillary's main concern: Obama always plays it safe, doesn't take action, and will even vote "present" on bills he helped write. Still, no way in hell am I gonna vote for Nader this time. His time is long done, and he needs to spend his last years on another form of high-profile battle. Please Nader, do not mess up this race any more than you have in the past.

    January 30, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  17. Mark, Wisconsin

    Nader already knows he's going to lose but wants to run anyways to give his supporters a voice. But of the millions of dollars that he does raise, how does that even impact the political conversation? He ran in 2004 and how did he even impact the political process? Why not do something more useful; raise his millions of dollars and put it to good use because politics is clearly not his greatest strength. Oh, and come back when you've actually held political office of at least a congressman.

    January 30, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  18. Ian

    Most of you sound so desperate to be part of the winning team. I feel sorry for you.

    January 30, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  19. charlotte

    Finally a topic that has 99% in agreement !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 30, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  20. Smom

    I would like to hear what Nader has to say, and give the man a chance. Im tired of the puppets who have their prepped words.. and no brain.. Dont tell me that you are going to be president..how irritating... what exactly is your plans??? I want to hear what he thinks, his facts, and how he came to his conclusions.. . Maybe we need to be pumping more money into education if these are the only candidates we can come up with. Go for it, Nader! I hope others get a opportunity.

    PS.. dont listen to the nay sayers, Nader.. you never know what the outcome is.. some dont pay attention to this randy political crap.. they work for a living... the final say will be the voting day.

    January 30, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  21. Scott

    Oh jeez, here comes the Bad Year Blimp again!

    January 30, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  22. Cookie

    So many have said it already but I will add that I believe that Nader caused the Bush/Cheney era. He took 90,000 votes from Gore in 2000. 90,000 chadless votes! He used to be a hero and then he blew it. GO AWAY Ralph!

    January 30, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  23. john


    January 30, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  24. Robert Burns

    This lawyer won't be recruited by Ralph. The egomaniac effectively destroyed the country by enabling the Bush-Cheny win and debacle. The inarticulate spoiler should stick to something at which he is good. Good bye.

    January 30, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  25. Robert, Tulsa OK

    What a dufus. Hey, here's a thought, if you don't like something a candidate is saying or doing, call them on it. Better yet, call them up and talk endorsement. There is no way someone that smart doesn't understand the real impact he has on the race. There is no way he can seriously think that a split vote is better than a democrat. Does he have the right to run? sure. But if he does, he's not a spoiler, he's a traitor to his own causes.

    January 30, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
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