Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate and perennial third-party presidential candidate, announced last month that he would work to find a Democrat to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012.
Nader now says that a primary challenge is a near certainty.
“What [Obama] did this week is just going to energize that effort,” Nader promised in an interview with The Daily Caller. “I would guess that the chances of there being a challenge to Obama in the primary are almost 100 percent.”
The only question, he said, is the stature of that opponent and whether it will be either “an ex-senator or an ex-governor” or “an intellectual leader or an environmental leader.”
In approximately a week and a half there will be “another chapter of this effort,” Nader predicted.
The Public Citizen founder said he disapproved of how Obama handled recent debt ceiling negotiations, and claimed the deal’s failings prompted this week’s dramatic stock market drop.
“He made a deal that did not provide for a public works project to create jobs all over the country. All he did was he agreed to cut spending,” Nader said. “And that’s what the market is reacting to.” (RELATED: Obama won debt ceiling fight, says DNC)
President Obama “shouldn’t have even had that problem,” Nader said. “When he surrendered the continuation of tax cuts for the rich last December, the least he could have gotten was the debt ceiling increased. He didn’t even do that. So he set himself up for this hostage situation by the Republicans and it’s his own fault. And the country and the workers are paying the price.”
Asked whether the Tea Party movement was responsible for an unsavory resolution to debt ceiling negotiations, Nader responded: “It’s not really a movement. It’s the conservative non-libertarian wing of the Republican Party.”
Nader continued: “Ron Paul is a conservative libertarian. These are the conservative corporatists that have decided they like the brand name ‘Tea Party’ because the press reports on every movement of the Tea Party. So they’ve jumped on the bandwagon and hijacked it.
“There are a lot of Tea Party people, for example, who wanted more revenues. I think the polls showed that half of them wanted more revenues. And a lot of the Tea Party people want to get out of the wars. But it has been hijacked by the corporatists.”
Nader said he doesn’t plan to launch another campaign for president, either as an independent candidate or as a primary challenger to President Obama. (RELATED: Ron Paul: Debt limit ‘super committee’ is unconstitutional)
In 2000, Nader received nearly three million votes as the Green Party’s presidential candidate. Some disillusioned Democrats blamed him for handing Florida, and with it the election, to George W. Bush.
Nader ran for president in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 as a left-wing alternative to the Democratic nominee, but has decided another campaign is “very unlikely.”
“I’ve done my rounds,” he said.