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)

    I guess Obama has to start talking like how 50 cent raps so he can be considered as "talking black".

    June 25, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. OBAMA 08!!!

    Mike stay focused gosh. This post was about Nader not McCain and his age.

    Naders comments are racist. To say an African American person be it presidential candidate or whomever "talks white" when they don't sound like what stereotype people portray African Americans is insulting. Barack is not running to be President of all the black people in the country. He is reaching out to all Americans.

    Both you and Nader need a reality check.

    OBAMA 08!!!

    June 25, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. Silvia Hall

    I used to have respect for Nader (and I still believe this country needs at least another political party), but he just lost my respect by making that stupid comment. Any citizen born in this country has the right to be part of the political process regardless of race, gender and sex, so why are we still paying attention to this? Can the media concentrate on the the presidential candidates programs to inform the people instead of playing this "race" game? I am getting tired of this. We should just ignore these comments.

    Obama 08

    June 25, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. amt, Fresno,CA

    Nader I used to think you were borderline ok, now I am convinced you are a COMPLETE FOOL!! These remarks are off base, & have no place in modern day American progress, you need to retire & stay out of politics. Obama will be a Pres. for ALL the people. Obama for Pres 08.

    June 25, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. Jose Lopez

    Choosing an Hispanic from California born in Texas clearly shows that Mr Nader wants to split the Hispanic vote of two of our largest states. As an Hispanic myself, I do not see where this ticket has anything to offer the Hispanic population except that it will bring us back to the Bush Era by trying to take votes away from Obama. Nader is just another candidate trying to keep America from moving forward. We need change in America and he offers solutions of the 60's and 70's. He is just another candidate that clings to old ideas and solutions.

    June 25, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. Brian

    Ralph who?

    June 25, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. rick

    YES WE CAN!!!!

    OBAMA 08

    June 25, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Sean

    So then Nader believes that if you're a black politician, then clearly, you need to focus your energy on ghettos? Why is that, Nader? Because you think that if you're black, then you must have come from a ghetto? I won't accuse Nader of being racist because I reserve that label for those who truly deserve it....but these comments are certainly ignorant at best.

    On the up side, Nader will probably take less votes away from Obama in November based on these idiotic comments.

    June 25, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. Michael

    Ethnocentric idiot.

    June 25, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  10. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    Anyone that makes a truthful statement that reflects negatively on Mr. Obama – they are a racist. This is the gist of the Obama campaign. It's a shame the Democratic party has been taken over by the left-wing this time.

    Proud to be a middle-of-the-road Independent (just changed from Democratic) that will vote for the most qualified Commander in Chief in November. McCain wins in this regard.

    This is not a popularity contest. Obama supporters ought to stop being so vindictive and insulting on these blogs. You are turning people like me far away from your saviour.

    June 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. Edgar, Texas

    Nader has always been an ignorant quack, and his Green Party has always been an alternative to SANITY!

    June 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. Patrick

    Obama is the most typical politician I've ever seen. I'd like someone to tell me what bi-partisan piece of legislation he has worked on with the Republicans that wasn't popular with his own party? Because I can name you about 20 pieces of legislation that McCain defied his own party to work with the democrats on. Nader (someone I could vote for if McCain wasn't running) speaks the truth, Obama is courageous only in the fact that his supporters claim him to be so.

    June 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  13. Just typical Obama hypocrisy

    It is called using race as both a shield from criticism and as a sword to do damage to your opposition.

    Look at how he managed to get the racist label to stick to Bill and Hillary Clinton.

    They have both been working for Civil rights and women's rights since BEFORE Obama was born.

    June 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. landi

    nader should be tried for the ills of the US, the war in iraque and the list goes on. How does this prick sleep at nights? Nada can u honestly be at peace with yourself after what u did in 2000 and the consequences are being felt now.

    June 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. carolflowery

    now, this is silly season, im not an obama supporter, but this is silly season LOLOLOLOLO good grief, but im starting to think i could say something about Obama and cnn would post it, jees, it's Obama season all the time on cnn

    June 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. Sam

    Poor guy...is that all he can come up with?

    June 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. LET IT GO


    June 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. E for Obama

    Why waste your ink on this FOOL CNN?

    June 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  19. BJE

    Well, at the very least, he did change his name back from Barry

    -Barry Obama, '08

    June 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  20. Rob indetroit

    ralph nader is a idiot.

    June 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  21. CNN = Clinton News Network

    Atta boy Ralphy. You were already seen as a joke for trying to run again, so now why don't you make yourself look like a racist on top of that.

    The good news is that this should be the last election in which we have to put up with this clown.

    June 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  22. Franky

    "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!"

    And don't you feel ashame??? I know I would, LOL!!!

    June 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. Brad, IA

    Hey, look at that! I just lost any respect I had for Ralph Nader.

    June 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. Glenn

    Ralph who? Who gives a rip for what this has "been has" to say about anything?

    June 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. Jerry in Boston

    Oh dear Ralph. Do you think that maybe, just maybe, Obama wants to be President of the United States and EVERYONE in it, not just Presedent of the NAACP?

    One issue candidates like you don't win Ralph. You'd think you'd have learned that by now.

    June 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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