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. Women for Obama

    As an educated African American I am really disappointed in Nader's comments. Maybe he feels black people should talk like they just came out of th latest Jay-Z video or something. It's not about talking "white" Nader, its about being educated and speaking intelligently on issues that you obivously lack and pretend to know about the black community. The black community has bigger problems than "payday loans". How about gas, home forclosure, healthcare, and violence in the urban communities. Nader, just sit this Presidential year out and slowly take your foot out of your mouth.

    June 25, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. Susan from Scotts Valley

    Obama will be a president for ALL the people of the United States, not just African Americans. There are issues he is addressing that deal with poverty and inequality but if they were the only basis of his campaign why even run because he couldn't get elected. There are OTHER issues like energy, taxes, health care, education, and national security that he must also address.

    Nader is just trying to get media attention.

    June 25, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    What point is Nader trying to make here? Is he trying to say that Obama is phoney? That Obama plays the race card?

    These are statements without any stated conclusion. To what conclusions is Mr. Nader trying to lead us?

    June 25, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. FLORIDA Voter for Obama

    Can you spell H.A.T.E.R. Nader?


    June 25, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. Nick Wright

    Wow. Nader has really become an insufferable, ignorant nutjob this year.

    Ralph, bow out while you still have a shred of dignity.

    June 25, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  6. Kevin Jones

    Nader is a Loser in Life. Has nothing to offer America. He is just trying to get publicity by coming up with contraversial comments. Just another racist candidate trying to exploit the media.

    June 25, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Mike, Eugene, Oregon

    The phrase "self promoting gasbag" comes to mind whenever we see Ralph Nader or James Dobson blathering their latest garbage. They are merely two sides of the same coin.

    June 25, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. ANGIE

    you see its people like you is why racisim is still alive put a sock in it pal and crawl back under the hole you came out of

    June 25, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. CF

    Wow... This should just about seal Nader's rep as a spoiler and a senile old fool. Pathetic and irrelevant.

    June 25, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. ObamaSupporters


    June 25, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Mike Maddox

    "...He doesn't want to appear like Jesse Jackson...?"

    Seeing as Jessie Jackson is viewed as a sort of "Black extremist" in White America, I would have to say that this sentence does have some racial overtones.

    June 25, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. WE ARE ONE


    June 25, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. Ugo

    Now hold on fellas...he might have a point here. I am an African American. I am one of Obama's strongest supporters. While I don't believe that Obama is 'TALKING WHITE', I strongly believe that most of the issues affecting the inncer city, ghettos, trailar parks and low income earner, should be brought to light. I think we've heard enough of the lofty rhetoric from both candidates. They should also include the small man. That being said, Nadar needs some huge. I mean really, does he think he'll win?

    June 25, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. Tired of W, OH

    "Talking white?" If he means "proper english" I know plenty of blacks that are better at "talking white" than most white southerners. Just another white male biggot.

    Just go away, NADer.

    June 25, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. Saad from NJ

    This guy looks like an idiot... talks like an idiot... he must be an idiot.

    June 25, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  16. rumpusgoopus


    June 25, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  17. Lisa

    Obama will say and do anything to win this election. He would even help Hillary pay down her campaign debt to win over her supporters. Typical Polictian!!

    June 25, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  18. Sen.McCain't Change

    OMG..this just made my day.. Thanks oh Ralpie-boy.. i needed that laugh!..idiot..

    June 25, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  19. Sharon

    He is right and had the guts to say it. It wasn't racial overtones, it was just the truth. Obama knows how to play the game. But as always if you disagree you are a racist. CNN you probably won't show this.

    June 25, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  20. Mike

    It's amazing to me!

    If anyone speaks ill of the "Great One" (Obama), they are being racist, if they respond to his comments in return, then they are being paranoid.

    Racism still exist in this country, and for those of you who do not believe this, you are simply fooling yourselves.

    Once in that polling booth, people will vote for their respective candidate (yet may post favorable comments here simply out of guilt).

    It is a disgrace that Obama supporters slam McCain with such disrespect simply because of his age. McCain is a GREAT hero who has endured.

    What has Obama accomplished, NOTHING!

    I will NOT vote for Obama, and I'm proud to admit it, he is racist, his wife is racist and if this makes me racist, so be it.

    I personally believe that I'm not racist, simply voting for the most qualified candidate.

    Lots of people feel the same way, though they are too PC to admit it.

    June 25, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  21. Greg, NY

    Catty June 25th, 2008 1:12 pm ET

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

    CNN, your bias is showing!

    You know Catty, you're absolutely right. They should post an article on how just last night John "Where'd I leave McCain" said that a draft would be ok if we were in World War 3.

    In 2006 he was quoted as saying we are in the beginning stages of a WW3.

    June 25, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  22. Obama Supporter

    I love how Nader is such an expert about what a black American politician trying to be president has to do. Certainly I want my president to care about the poor, but not because they are black or white or green – because they are American.

    Nader really isn't doing himself any favors.

    June 25, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. Nicole in NE

    wow – that is ridiculous that he said that!

    I think a lot of people have been pointing fingers and talking about racism a lot lately, but there's only one way to move forward – change YOURSELF. That's the first step.

    What is WRONG with trying to help bridge that gap? That is what Obama is trying to do I feel.

    What better person to do it then someone who is half white/ half-black?

    June 25, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  24. warren smith

    mr. nader

    please go back under your rock

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

    ralph ..ralph.......RALPH ...come out of the rain

    June 25, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
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