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. Brandon

    Obama is not a different politician.

    June 25, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. Cindy

    Nader unfortunately his color is an issue for many in this country. The fact that he hasn't completely focused on the issues that plague the poor doesn't mean that he doesn't understand their plight and that he doesn't intend to address their specific problems but the reality is that there are still many whotes in america that are waiting for him to speak the "black talk" to give them a reason to not vote for him- it's the reality in America and he does need to be careful on how and when he approaches these topics!!

    The man (Obama) is in a very tough spot- he can't appear to be too black and he can't appear to be too white- there's no other candidate is in this position!

    June 25, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Brian

    I say Ralph Nader is single handedly responsible for the war in Iraq!!

    June 25, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. mol

    It's not CNN's fault that the Ticker has been about Obama lately Catty. They tell it like it is and the American people have spoken- We Want Obama!! No educated, reasonable person would want to waste any time talking about McCain and all the whining he does.

    June 25, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. Blue California

    Wow..Nader just reached up from the grave and hammered more nails in his own coffin. Impressive.

    Thats exactly the problem with people seeing others as their gender, race, sexual orientation, first. As if every black persons number one problem is payday loans. Disgusting.

    June 25, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. andrew s

    go take a hike and drop out of the race, no one care's about no. go back to mar

    June 25, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. That dude.

    WOW. I DIDN'T KNOW "WHITE" WAS A LANGUAGE...AND ALL THIS TIME I THOUGHT IT WAS CALLED "PROPER ENGLISH"....LOL...AS IF TALKING "BLACK" ISN'T...NADER ISN'T SMART ENOUGH TO EVEN RUN FOR PRES...HE'S CONCERNED ABOUT THE WRONG ISSUES..IT'S SAD HE'S SO LAME.

    June 25, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. Lynn

    Jim – People like you need to crawl in a hole and stay. Where do you live. trash is trash no matter where you live. Thank goodness I am no longer a part of this new Democratic party. People like you just reminds me why I changed to an Independent. . CNN why do you print such racist and sexist remarks from idiots?

    June 25, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. diziz31

    Nader and Geraldine should run on the ticket. Both out of touch with the people who care about what is happening.

    June 25, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. JER FROM VT

    Some people are just over their 15 minute allocation.

    June 25, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  11. Rob, NY

    Does anyone else have a problem with the declining copy editing standards of this and other media sources? To wit: "...it's seemingly racial overtones." Since when do we use the apostrophe after it for the possessive case? CNN shan't be "the most trusted name in news" if it keeps this up.

    June 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. Helene

    Nader, you are an idiot.

    June 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  13. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Ralph,

    After what you did to the country in 2000, please crawl back under your rock and go to sleep forever...The world is not a better place because of you.

    June 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  14. WE ARE ONE

    NADER IS JEALOUS OF OBAMA ? IT4S SO TRANSPARENT.

    June 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. Bob Stephens

    Hey Ralph,

    Do us all a favor and crawl under a rock somewhere. It's because of you, that we have had to watch George W destroy out country, for the last 7 years.

    June 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. KMAN

    How sad and pathetic ... Ralphy still seems to think he is relevant in the 21st century! He should stick to subjects he knows something about ... may I suggest he concentrate on Corvairs?

    June 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  17. Jen

    What is wrong with how someone talks? I have known alot of Colored people talk more like a white person without all the color slang alot of times. ITs nothing new. It has alot to do with upbringing and surroundings... taken of the fact Obama was raised by his white grandparents it shouldnt suprise anyone that he doesnt have the common color slang. WHO CARES!!!???? What else can CNN come up with for NEWS?

    June 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  18. Democrat NOT for Obama

    The more I see of Obama, the less I like.

    I will have to vote for the Green Party; my vote will not go for him.

    June 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. Nice job, Nader

    So, Nader, buddy, what exactly SHOULD a half-black man sound like and who should he appeal to so that he fits properly within your acute ignorance?

    June 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  20. MJC

    The more some people talk, the more ignorant they sound.

    June 25, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. CB from PA

    shut up nader, you commie bush helper

    June 25, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. James

    It just goes to show you that no matter what their political leanings are (Republicans, Independents, Reagan Democrats 'whatever that is' and evangelicals) these OLD white guys (55 and over) by and large are uncomfortable with a black man being in the White House...simple as that...

    They can't seem to wrap the idea around their minds that someone from some another community besides WASP would be able to be the front runner for the president for The United States of America...

    June 25, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  23. Fed up!

    Nader, you're so stupid!!!
    Words can't explain what I'm feeling about you right now.
    Obama is just being Obama and apparently there's something about him you like and it's very disturbing. Get over it, the man is a very smart, intelligent, man wheather he be black/white. It does not matter, it's about the issues for all races. Get over it!!!!!!!

    President Obama 08 – name sounds real good!

    June 25, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  24. David

    Nader is a moron, time to hang up the skates idiot boy

    June 25, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  25. John

    Ralph nader really shoots straight from the hip.
    I would never vote for the guy but it's hard to deny that he is pretty much always right on the money with his comments.

    These are the kinds of things that americans are thinking about but would never say.

    We all know Ralph won't win but he will keep them honest (at least as close to honest as a politician can ever be)

    June 25, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
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