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. windu

    Another supposedly liberal person that wants to keep black people in the box. If you're black, you have to talk a certain way, be concerned solely about "black issues," etc. Otherwise, you're not "authentic." A potent combination of idiocy and gall.

    June 25, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. Peggy - Tx

    “The number one thing that a black American politician aspiring to the presidency SHOULD BE… ”

    Nader you are so full of yourself.

    You have zero authority to tell anyone what they should be, let alone to divide politicians by skin color and say what agenda each should have based on skin color.

    June 25, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. saga for Obama

    CNN Please post
    "I mean, first of all, the number one thing that a black American politician aspiring to the presidency should be is to candidly describe the plight of the poor, especially in the inner cities and the rural areas, and have a very detailed platform about how the poor is going to be defended by the law, is going to be protected by the law, and is going to be liberated by the law," Nader.
    is Mr.Nader implying that because Mr. Obama is black his main platform should be the plight of all the poor Blacks livin in da ghetto? that is raciest in its implication, poverty is not just a Black issues especially when over 50% of the people on welfare are whites. Mr. Nader as an African American i am so disappointed in you but too i am hardly surprised. when 65% of whites polled they said race is an issues regarding America, the land of the free...indeed!
    some of you feel justified in your fear, hate and ignorance....well, so did Hitler!!! we see how wrong he was too.
    Mr. Nader, what sickens me the most is YOU ARE A PUBLIC OFFICIAL.

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

    Of all the things Nader could focus on why focus on race. I mean I haven't heard him mention Hillary Clinton's race let alone gender or John McCain's race. Is it that for Ralph race is only relevant if it is a non white candidate? Ralph I had admired some of your efforts and opinions over the years but it is interesting that all of a sudden these race views start emerging. Could it be that they have been there (a focus on race) all along and just now started to surface?

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

    When Obama came out and said "Oh and they are going to say did I mention he was black", and everybody got their underwear tangled up you know where and say Oh he shouldn't have said that. Well this is the very reason he said it. Obama is brillant. He knew the race card would be coming.

    As flava-flav would say wooooooooooooooooooooooow.

    June 25, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. Stephen H

    Why would anyone pay attention to this nutjob? This is absolutely unbelieveable that he would command any media attention whatsoever. What a moron and complete idiot!

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

    The more Nader talks, the more idiotic he sounds. He's already revealed himself to be nothing more than an egomaniac by embarking his futile campaign once again this year when the Democrats have a great chance of actually beating the GOP. Now he's trying to play the race card in the most bumbling, offensive manner. What a moron.

    June 25, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. Jose Lopez

    Mr. Nader talks as if he was rally concerned about the poor in America but every time that he has made a bid for the White House he always goes after the Democrats for not doing enough when it is the Republican party that has never wanted to deal with America's poor. His remarks about Obama being half African-American are in poor taste and I find them to be racial to say the least. I used to think that Naders Raders were really concerned about America's future but all I see is that Ralph Nader is just another candidate that wants to keep America from moving forward.

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


    June 25, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. Alex

    Nadar... A republican-financed decoy perhaps?

    June 25, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. John from LA

    Great comments Ralph-FINALLY someone is telling the truth about what's going on in this country during this political season!!!

    And for Jim-who just posted-Stop comparing BO to JFK-All the young in this country and some of the boomers are sooooo desperate to compare BO to the Kennedy Clan. I thought BO was his own man-not the politics of old!

    June 25, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. Ricardo

    Nader is sucha moron. Do what politicians focus on the poor trailer park residents? The plight of the poor white people in the hills? Obama will be the president of the USA, not just the president of the african american population. I guess that Nader will say anything to get some attention. I hadn't actually seen him in the news for a few weeks.

    June 25, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. cbenji in NYC

    nadar has officially lost his mind.

    June 25, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  14. Tina

    I'm so glad that all the racist HRC and now PUMA folks have found their candidate now. Nader.

    June 25, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. Obama = Overrated

    There goes the Obama clan again..If someone says something bad about your god, then they are racist.

    June 25, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  16. AVR

    Can someone tell Mr. Nader that BEING BLACK DOES NOT EQUAL BEING POOR.

    June 25, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  17. karlie

    Yvette- My thoughts exactly!

    June 25, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Unshrub

    I thought Obama was accused of being too black, or was that too Christian, or not Christian enough, or was he too Muslim? This gets confusing; there are too many groups who want to call him names for attention. Here is one name we can all agree on; Ralph Nadar is an idiot.

    June 25, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. lil

    nader is putting Obama down for speaking good english and being
    a role model for us african american children. I am really upset.
    Cnn dont give him anymore free air time make him pay for it.

    June 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. Dylan

    Well, I understand what Ralph is saying, it's not politically correct so everyone pretends like they don't get it. Our society has losers for a reason – so at least somebody can speak the subconscious truth that is not allowed into mainstream thinking (possibly for good reason as it is not becoming to speak in racial terms in the polite world. However, what Nader is saying is not inaccurate).

    June 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. Ariana

    I can't stand Nader, but I think he has a good point. Obama doesn't want to appear too black or too comfortable with Muslims.

    June 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. Ed, Santa Fe NM

    CNN do you have to print EVERY stupid, moronic thing said about Obama? They crawl out from under their rocks and start yapping abou racist crap and religious crap and ethnic crap and you print every word.

    I don't know who's worse: Nader or CNN.

    June 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. Jeff D, South Bend, IN

    Ralph, you are a sad man desperately grasping for the spotlight again, when you are long past your prime. Just like Clinton did during the primary.

    Come to Chicago and see the work he has done for real people in this community, before you spout off about something for which you haven't a clue.

    Let's put his record of helping this community against yours.

    I rest my case.

    June 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. Janet

    Nader is part of the disgruntled old white past, and he knows it. He gained prominence with the EPA and has failed five times to win the presidency. He is one of the pathetic whites that grew up seeing blacks portrayed as buffoons or household workers and that's what he expects of Barack Obama. His statement about Barack talking white shows his racism. He is probably against miscegenation. God I can't believe there are still people in the United States like this, let alone running for president. Anyone seen David Duke lately?

    June 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. upstate NY woman past 50

    Nader seems to think all African Americans are poor and have to be protected and "educated" by people like him. Nader reveals more of himself than he probably thinks.

    June 25, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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