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. Val


    You are absolutely right about CNN's bias. CNN is no longer a trusted news network in my household.

    But on the subject, by making this kind of comments Nader is trying to cut into McCain's constituency. Nader may be a spoiler for McCain in November.

    June 25, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. ConsiderThis, FL

    You talk about struggling for attention! This guy is an out of touch, antiquated abomination. His comments are hardly worthy of comment. It's obvious that life has left him behind.

    June 25, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  3. Politically Correct To A Fault

    Next thing you know Ralph will be saying that Obama is not fit to occupy the White House.

    June 25, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  4. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    Hey Nader!

    You can say anything you please because you HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE!

    If you had a snowball's chance in Hell you would be watching your mouth more.


    June 25, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  5. Obama-Junkie, IL

    YAWN! I hope Obama realizes it is not worth it to engage Nader. If Obama is represented by the donkey and McCain is represented by the elephant, that means Nader is that darn pesky FLY!

    June 25, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  6. James Alder

    nader is a RNC operative. Give it up already, fade away gracefully.

    June 25, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. Pat Va

    Talking "white?" What does that mean? I'm an African-American baby boomer and have been accused of this all of my life. If in fact you're meaning using proper English ( nouns, verbs, adverbs, etc.) in a sequential and meaningful order, then perhaps Senator Obama is guilty of that. I happen to believe it is the essence of the man.

    Nader...you need to sit down and perhaps, at your leisure, peruse "The Audacity of Hope" and "Dreams Of My Father" in order to make a more informed (less biased) statement.

    June 25, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. Samuel

    Yep......It's Nader? And who the heck is this man? Oh yes, he is that forgotten politician. Got it.

    I see a bright light at the end of the turnel. You cannot fool me and my family this time. And, please, go away quitely and no one will notice your absence anyway. You do not matter anymore. I repeat, you do not matter anymore. Period.

    Go Obama 08

    June 25, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Nader is funny

    Nader reminds me of that little brother who is kicking and crying because he can't play with the big boys.

    June 25, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. susie

    How come Obama changed his mind about debating McCain anytime, anywhere?

    June 25, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. Brownsville, Oregon

    I can see the family resemblance. Can anyone tell me the exactly how Imus and Nader are related?

    June 25, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  12. Van

    I didn't know or care much about Ralph Nader... but now I know I don't like him.

    June 25, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. Ex Democrat

    Thank you Ralph for saying what other mealy mouth politicians and political commentors are not willing to say. Are they scared? You bet.
    This no nothing Radical Democrat has everyone Black and White included groveling at his feet.

    Any candidate Black or White would have been forced to give up the quest for the presidency with half the stuff that has come out about Obama.
    This is Scary.

    June 25, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Dave, denver co

    Obama is not "half african american". His father is an African born in Kenya. His mother was born in the U.S. Making him one hundred percent African american, the very definition of. Nader should shut his trap. If it wasn't for him, W never would have been within striking distance of stealing the 2000 election. He is a disgrace.

    June 25, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. JeffRob

    Inconsequential is right. Who are we talking about again?

    June 25, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. Jim in Atlanta

    Thanks Ralph for telling it like it is. You speak the truth; however, since you dared to breach the topic of race as a white man, you will immediately be labeled a “racist” by the Obama camp. It is clear that Obama is willing to throw the race card at both friend and foe alike. He did it to the Clintons, Gov. Rendell, and Geraldine Ferraro for stating the obvious, and now you are next in line.

    People, please stop this insanity and join the millions of former Hillary supporters by voting for John McCain for president. This problem will only get worse if Obama is actually elected.

    Still for Hill 12’

    June 25, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. Linden

    Nader, you used to be relevant. This just proves you are no longer relevant to anyone. It's time to step aside.

    June 25, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. obamacrat

    I guess the lesson we've all learned during the campaign season is that if you want to go from being irrelevant to being relevant, even if for just a single news cycle, then say something about Obama regarding race (ala Nadar) or religion ( ala Dobson).

    June 25, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. Joe

    CNN: Why don't you write something in your "ticker" that talks about policy, or– for a change– McCain's recent and frequent gaffes?

    Or how about do some due diligence and cover the Iraq War better?

    Bring it up a notch, CNN.

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

    Good for Nadar. He's the only one so far who has the guts to say it like it really is!! Everyone else thinks it, but are cowards. Barack has never called any blacks out for their racism towards whites, Hispanics, American Indian. Makes you think what he really feels.

    June 25, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. Oh, Obama needs to speak ebonics??

    Nader is another loon like McCain. Get off the bus sir, you missed your stop years ago.

    June 25, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  22. NYC


    June 25, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  23. Vote Nader

    Why has his presidential campaign received little media attention? It's not like he isn't campaigning. So the media could report on his rallies. He's getting on ballots, at least until the Democrtic Party starts blocking and filing lawsuits again. He consistently polls around 5-7% (when he is part of the poll).


    ** Nader/Gonzalez 2008 **

    June 25, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. senior white female

    Nader is wrong. Obviously he knows nothing about Barack Obama. Does he even try to inform himself? Again, I say if you have not taken the time to inform yourself about someone's message and platform you have no right to criticize. Read his books, watch his interviews, go to his web site. Everything he has worked for his whole life is for those who have no voice, the inner cities, the rural areas, the poor (black or white). White guilt? Sounds like Nader is showing his own inner feelings.

    June 25, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  25. Frank

    When is Nader going to shut up? His endless mantra – "there's no difference between Republicans and Democrats" – is idiotic, yet it continues to form the only plank of his platform.

    He made great waves with that mantra in 2000, and many Americans were fooled into believing him. And now, 8 years later, does anyone actually think it's true? Does anyone think that if Gore had won in 2000, we would have withdrawn from Kyoto, denied science about global warming for 7 years, invaded Iraq, tortured prisoners, turned the Justice Department (and just about every other gov't agency) into a tool of the permanent Republican campaign, put Alito and Robertson the US Supreme Court, etc.........?

    I am ashamed that Nader's running mate is a fellow San Franciscan for whom I once had some respect.

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