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. More of Obama hypocrisy

    That is what 50% of the Democratic Party has been saying all along.

    This race baiting that Obama does has destroyed the democratic party.

    It is only the fact that HRC and Bill are both loyal democrats and will work for unity... that the hateful damaged done by a reckless Obama MIGHT get repaired.

    If there were a better alternative in NOV- none of the HRC supporters would bother to vote Dem this year.

    Obama is lucky that ANY dem is better than NO dem in the white house. That has regained him some- but not all of the democrats that he appalled in the primary with his blatent race-card playing and cheating tactics of hate and division.

    June 25, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Peter

    What's really sad is Mr. Nader's total miss regarding that any candidate should make it a priority to rectify the causes for rampant poverty in this country regardless of the candidates political affiliation or ethnicity.

    Mr. Nader's comments smack of racism in their over simplification and sweeping generalization.

    Question: Is Mr. Nader trying to speak "desperate"?

    June 25, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. Amazed

    WOW.......This guy is a loonie toon and anyone that wastes their vote in him should get checked out themselves.

    June 25, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. Rob indetroit

    Ralph nader is a hater

    June 25, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. Dave

    C'mon...be honest..Obama is appeasing to everyone except Muslims and blacks..and if you're both..he will reject and denounce you!!!

    June 25, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. Rich

    Really people, lets be honest on Obama. If he was white and running on the exact same platform (whatever that might be since he really doesn't have any solutions to anything), and had been in the Senate a whole 3 years with no experience what-so-ever .... would he really be the Democratic candidate?? I think not!!!!! I am a Democrat but how can I vote for a guy who has done NOTHING in his political career and is such a complete unknown. I hate to say this, but I am going to vote for McCain. He is an honest man who has a history (be it a longggggggg history lol) of working accross the isle.

    June 25, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. ATLian

    How do you "talk White"?

    June 25, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. Walter Mondale

    Ralph Nader is an idiot..
    The difference is...he won't tell you he is an idiot...
    I just did...

    Thanks
    Walter Mondale

    June 25, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. Benjamin

    I wish Ralph Nader would stick to the consumer activism that made him famous. He did some actual good for the country in that capactity. Now he's just wasting that talent as a third rate presidential candidate with no real platform other than, "Look at how radically different I am!". He's complaining about the substance of the other candidates' platforms, but I have yet to hear anything substantial about his own platform.

    June 25, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. J.N. Atailya

    Nader has obviously given up on his decades-long attempt at self-fellation. Ralph, your closest advisers already have explained that back surgery - particularly at your age - is necessary to achieve this most important goal. Either get the operation or untuck yourself from that ball. You look awkward in that position.

    June 25, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. Joe, Austin, TX

    Nader says the number one thing an African American candidate should do is describe the plight of the poor. Why? Because black = poor in Nader's mind? Actually, Obama was never poor. And many poor are white, hispanic, asian, and others. Why is it upon Obama being black to carry the banner, and not John McCain to do so – which he doesn't. It's Nader that is letting his racism show here.

    June 25, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. True

    Just because Obama is half black he should be only concerned with helping black ghetto's? Why not help all of America? which Obama is proposing. Barack has spent half his life helping the communities of the south side of Chicago, which IS primarily black and rough.

    Ralph, get your head out of your bum and stop trying to play the "Man" or dictating "White Guy".

    June 25, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. Lola

    uh, wasn't Obama raised by a white mother and white grandparents?

    June 25, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  14. out with the old

    Another old person who can't shake themselves of their obvious racial biases and stereotypes.

    Nadar is Lebanese. So, what should we expect his positions to reflect?? Following his "logic" what is he allowed to champion as his main cause or focus......

    I can't wait until everyone over the age of 50 bites it, so we can finally move past race and this stupid divisive BS that continues to divide small groups against one another instead of banding together to solve the problems we all share.

    June 25, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. ProundToBeDemocrat

    It is funny Nader who has lost in 2000 and 2004, now polling at less than 4% trying to tell the front runner how to run his compagne not only that try to teach a black man about his community, what a joke since when does Nader care about black america. for your information Obama did a lot of work not only for poor black people alse for all the races as a community organizer when you where chasing after money.

    June 25, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. tow faced Obama

    Manipulation is Obama's forte.

    That is what got him this far... without any platform or experience or track record whatsoever.

    He manipulates emtions at will to advance himself.

    Look at Wright- and then denouncing Wright.

    June 25, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. Mark Anthony Adams

    Hey, Nader – It's quite obvious to me that not only are you a sore loser, but you are what would be defined as the "old school generation in America" – whom just can't quite understand this 'CHANGE' phenomenon that's going on in America and throughout the world. NEWSFLASH: We eliminated the demeaning and racially based overtones of the phrase 'talking white' – It's now called being an "effective and well educated communicator" – WAKE-UP OUT OF YOUR SLUMBER!

    OBAMA '08

    June 25, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. Tammy - KCMO

    Why is it that Obama's opponents are the ones that continually bring race into the election instead of discussing issues?
    Guess they know they can't beat him based on issues so they need to find something else to try to get voters to listen to them.

    June 25, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. Dems be dopes

    I'm not an Obama supporter but this qualifies as filler at best.

    "Change you can believe in especally if I can get it out of your pockets."

    June 25, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  20. Independent in Iowa

    Michelle doesn't talk white!

    At a rally after the Iowa Causus she said, "Ain't no black people in Iowa!" LOL.. it still cracks me up! 🙂

    June 25, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  21. dan

    republican or democrate. it is the same. they dont care about skin color. if you dont agree to do what they say you wont be there.

    no real independant would follow there lead.

    June 25, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  22. AMERICAN VOTER

    What he say? Who is Nader does he work for karl rowe?

    June 25, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  23. Mike, Youngstown

    Ralph Nader, irrelevant at any age.

    June 25, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. ss8ty

    nader WHO?

    June 25, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  25. Kiah

    I also find it amusing that a WHITE MAN can give advice to a BLACK MAN on how he should be appealing to people in order to win. As if appealing to one group has EVER helped any minority running for office become successful. Mr. Nader your advice explains why you're running as someone with NO CHANCE of winning.

    Obama '08!

    June 25, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
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