June 25th, 2008
04:45 PM ET
15 years ago

Nader: Obama trying to 'talk white'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/25/art.nader.gi.jpg caption="Nader is taking heat for his latest comments."](CNN) - Ralph Nader's presidential candidacy has received little media attention, but his latest critique of Barack Obama has come under fire for it's seemingly racial overtones.

Speaking with Colorado's Rocky Mountain News, Nader accused Obama of attempting to both "talk white" and appeal to "white guilt" in his quest to win the White House.

"There's only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He's half African-American," Nader told the paper in comments published Tuesday. "Whether that will make any difference, I don't know. I haven't heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What's keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn't want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We'll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards."

Obama's presidential campaign called those comments disappointing, and his communication's director, Robert Gibbs, said Tuesday they were "reprehensible and basically delusional."

"I don't think he's spent a lot of time looking at the record of Barack Obama," Gibbs said on MSNBC.

Nader, the longtime consumer advocate who was blamed by many Democrats for Al Gore’s loss in the 2000 presidential election, said Obama's top issue should be poverty in America, given his racial heritage.

Watch: Why is Nader running for president

Full story

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Ralph Nader
soundoff (284 Responses)
  1. Jeff - Illinois


    June 25, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. Yvette

    It strikes me as odd that one presidential hopeful would tell the other on how to run their campaign. Especially one with absolutely no chance of winning.

    June 25, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Nader, can you read?

    In Obama's memoir, Dreams from My Father, he talks about the inner city projects and how he got the city to inspect the building for asbestos, etc. and demanded that they show proof! Nader, how about doing your research before opening your mouth? Obama worked to register voters, gather protests, meeting, etc. with the people of Chicago.

    Stop trying to remain relevant, Nader, and please read and think before you speak.

    June 25, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. Catty

    Anyone notice that the ONLY topic on this ticker thus far is Obama???

    CNN, your bias is showing!

    June 25, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. Jim

    Wow this guy just sealed his fate, most of the U.S is going to hate him now, what an idiot, seems everyone wants their 15 minute's of fame saying something about Barrack Obama be it good or bad because they know he will make history and he will fight for the people! Obama is my generation JFK, but who the heck does this guy think he is!?!

    June 25, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Michael

    Nader is completely inconsequential, this guy can only be considered the same light as Ross Perot...

    June 25, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. Roz, IL

    Mr Nadar, you sound bitter

    June 25, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. Jerry

    Nader you a racism old goat

    June 25, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. Johnny C.

    I'll bet the media tries to spin Nader as a conservative Republican.

    But he's more democrat than anything.

    ...and everybody knows most democrats are racists.

    Why is it, that Obama's ancestors owned slaves and he is being endorsed by a former KKK member and black people still support this clown???

    June 25, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. gasdocpol

    Nader gave us GW Bush and the Iraq fiasco .

    I wish that he would STFU.

    June 25, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. Salina

    An so the 'silly season' begins. These people are grasping at straws now. Give me a break.

    Obama '08/'12

    June 25, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  12. Maya wants to see a DEM IN THE WHITE HOUSE!!

    god Nader, what's you problem? I'm starting to regret voting for you in 2000 and 2004

    June 25, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. Don

    Obama+flp flopper=Politically expedient politician. Somebody had to call him out. Go Nader!

    June 25, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  14. OBAMA 08!!!

    When Ralph Nader decides to change his race to African American then he can talk about what an African American politician should be concerned about.

    This nut job wasn’t getting any air time so he decides to dish outlandish crap and get his name in the papers, well mission accomplished. Too bad getting your name in the papers is not what the American people look for when electing the next President.

    OBAMA 08!!!!!


    June 25, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  15. Jim

    I bet all of the racist trailor park trash people in West Virginia who voted for Hillary are going to vote for this guy after hearing this.

    June 25, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. johnny


    June 25, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  17. Obama

    Nader is an idiot.

    Obama WILL be president.

    June 25, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  18. Word Smith

    Shut up Nader!

    You make me sick!

    June 25, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  19. Rob, Los Angeles

    Obama actually has been an inner city community organize, so he knows all about the plight of low income families and poverty.

    Nader is just trying to make himself relevant again, but failing.

    June 25, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  20. Rachel

    Barack was not my choice but what a dumb thing for nader to say. Now I cant vote for nader either.

    June 25, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  21. Neil K, Lake Forest CA

    So let me get this straight: because Obama is an African-American, Nader says he has to do "the number one thing that a black American politician" should do? According to whom, Ralph? You? He's disappointing because he doesn't live up to your stereotype of a "black American politician"?

    How is this anything but racist?

    June 25, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. Franky

    Ralph Nader you are an idiot sir! And for the record, the ONLY Independent I listen to is Lou(Dobbs). That's it....

    Ralph, go get a vacation...

    June 25, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. Lisa Que

    When does Omba really speak the truth?? its all about what he thinks people want to hear. Hillary where are you !!! we need you now.

    PUMA (PAC)

    June 25, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. Beltway Insider

    It would be nice if a tree would fall on this nutjob already. Preferably a redwood or giant oak.

    June 25, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  25. nikki in atl ga

    Wow!! Last time I checked both white and black ppl supported Obama for various reasons. This has to go down as one of the most ridiculous comments I've heard in a while...(at least since 3rd grade). While I'm not suprised at Nader's comments, I can relate. As a african-american, college graduate, growing up in Northern Ohio, I experienced the same kind of talk..."you talk white"....ummm, what exactly is talking white?? LOL!! I thought it was English doo-fiss!!!

    June 25, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
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