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. Kat, Huntington, West Virginia

    wow–who are the obama supporters going to blame for "playing the race card" now that Bill and Hillary aren't available, or is this their fault too? Barack...pick hillary for your VP or wave goodbye to the white house. Over 50 % of Democrats voted for HER...and this one will not support you unless she is on the ticket. For the first time ever I will vote for the Green Party.

    June 25, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. Felice Judkins

    What a stupid guy! I'm African-American and it has always boggled my mind when people accuse an African American of "talking white" Please tell me what does that ignorant statement mean. Give me a break! It's sad and amusing at the same time to hear so-called educated people say dumb stuff. What a sad commentary is that the cover is being lifted off of the vile and insedious poison of racism in this country. Simply because of the color of Obama's skin should not be why you vote or not vote for him. This country is in crisis and I want to know what are the policies of the candidates and how is it going to affect change in my life , my daughter's life and us as a nation. I will say this, at least the Klan says how they feel and stands up for what they believe in, but it is the low life cowards who are wearing a mask and have a racist heart and tries to pretend that they are tolerant of others. Nadar is simply an idiot!!!!!!

    June 25, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Fair Play

    "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?" — When Obama decides to change his race to White then he can talk about what a White American politician should be concerned about.

    June 25, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. Will, NJ

    Why can't this man just crumble to dust already and leave us alone?

    June 25, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. Olander

    Done if you do and done if you don't. Nader just go away. You blew if for Al Gore and now you are trying to continue being a spoiler. What is the point? You can't win?

    June 25, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. Andy J, NY

    First of all, Im not voting for McCain or Obama. These guys are both jokes.

    Second, You can't make a comment about Obama, certainly not about Obama's race, without being a racist. It has been proven time and time again. It doesn't matter if you point out a fact, if that fact contains something about Obama's race, you are a racist.

    You politically correct a holes are so annoying. This article is exactly what Nader was talking about- you can't point out a fact, let alone refuse to vote or support Obama, without being a racist. He's a got a good personality, so what's wrong with him? How could you not vote for him? You must be racist.

    June 25, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. Ian

    This guy is trying to hard to stay relevant.

    June 25, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. Willy

    Obama will be anything you pay him to be for that moment. He's Mr. Change!

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



    June 25, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. MD in Oklahoma

    Ralph, remember he worked as a community organizer on the south side of Chicago; do you even know what it's like there? What have you done lately to help out in these types of comminities?

    Nader, you are talking nonsense!!! I hate to hear people critcize others when they have done nothing themselves. Oh, ye hypocrit.

    June 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. Former Republican supporting Obama

    I am absolutely baffled and stunned by Nader’s comments, comments that I believe are dead wrong and shamefully racists at their core!

    Nader is utterly irrelevant this election cycle, and perhaps this is why he feels the need to unnecessarily inject race into this election. I don’t have a problem discussing racial issues in a Presidential Election; however, I do have a problem with unfounded and spurious racial arguments. Nader ought to be ashamed and should apologize to the Obama campaign and the American people for these ridiculous comments!

    There are many things different about Obama than simply his racial/ethnic heritage and skin color. He represents exactly the sort of change that needs to take place not only in the ballistic mind of Nader, but in the minds of so many other Americans who insist on maintaining blind racial ignorance. The fact that Nader has made these comments provides stronger evidence for me that Obama is exactly the kind of President that we need.

    June 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. sanger, tx /Hillary supprter

    Sounds like all these obama maniacs fans are in denial. The truth hurts. GO AHEAD AND LICKITY LICK.

    June 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  13. Nader is an idiot

    Nader you're a total jerk. Obama has spoke about predatory lenders. Do your homework first before you start throwing out desperate, slanderous insults like that.

    June 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. Not being fooled

    Obama is talking white because the words he uses are not his own. The majority of his campaign people are white so thats why he is talking white. The words are not his own as he is a black man being used as a puppet and the strings are being pulled by the white man. Obama is a fake and should not be taken seriously and that is why McCain, who seems to be a more genuine person, will win the presidency and the dmocrats will have nobody else to blame but themselves. They selected their nominee rather than take the choice of the voters who clearly voted for Clinton and who had the majority votes. Clinton should have been the nominee but I suppose because she is a woman and the male ego among the DNC and the superdelegates were too much to get the right candidate as the nominee.

    June 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. Puh-lease!

    For the three Ralph Nader supporters out there, including my brother-in-law, this should be enough to snap you back to reality and vote for a candiate with all his marbles.

    June 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. Ryan

    I am dissapointed that Ralph Nader said this. Obama will help the plight of the African American by getting them healthcare, better education, and creating new green jobs. THIS HELPS ALL AMERICANS! Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, White, etc....

    We are all Americans, that is why we need Obama.


    June 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Mike

    Nader got this one right!

    June 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. Denise

    Its amazing how folk comes into a Presidential race at the last minute with the audacity to "say something". Nader is a non-issue and so is his sham of a campaign. Keep your insults coming.

    Obama 08 in spite of...........

    June 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. Venus


    I guess this is the only way for this poor soul to get in the news!

    Where has he been regarding Obama platform?

    Go Bam!

    June 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. keep it simple

    Nader, I used to think highly of your efforts for the 'good'. I still do. But it would be the higher road if you proclaimed those isssues for your self rather than bringing them up by claiming to know if they are important or not for another. Our lives will be better if poloticians would stop complaining about other poloticians and just let us know what they stand for.... then we can choose who to support instead of who to hate.

    June 25, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    " the number one thing that a black American politician aspiring to the presidency should"

    If I may finish dear Ralph's quote in a way I would hope someone of his standing might consider:

    "act irrespective of colour".

    Ralph, out of context or not, you sound beyond racist – you sound ignorant.

    The greatest enemy is not red or blue, democratic or republican, it is ignorance.

    June 25, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. TESAP


    BARACK THE VOTE PEOPLE................... 🙂

    June 25, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. Loretta from California

    How about talking about the poverty that exist in the suburbs too. The inner cities may be worse off than other communities but poverty exist in other communities too. It is longer restricted to an Area, Mr. Nader.

    These days, I see people of different races, in different communities struggling to feed their families, struggling to keep a roof over their heads, struggling to buy the essentials. So let's discuss ways in which we might eliminate poverty altogether.


    June 25, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. Enlightened Voter

    Nadar, is this the reason you've never run? I didn't understand a thing you said but thanks for taking votes from mcwar, we appreciate that.

    June 25, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. norb

    All Keating aside. Nader and McCain should hook up. What a jerk! Mr. Corvair/Looser.

    June 25, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
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