Ralph Nader suggests ‘slate’ of Obama primary opponents

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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Consumer advocate Ralph Nader has a new model for challenging President Obama from the left in 2012.

Nader proposes to assemble a group of Democratic primary candidates to take Obama to task on a variety of issues.

The press would ignore one lesser-known candidate, Nader told The Daily Caller, but an unorthodox “slate” of candidates would attract more attention.

“So you have to have several people of distinguished backgrounds — different distinguished backgrounds — run as a slate in various primaries so that he can’t ignore someone who has a military-foreign policy background, environmental background, poverty-labor background. See what I mean?” Nader explained.

Nader said he was hesitant to support the candidacy of former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, who told TheDC in early August that he would enter the primary if supporters raised $1 million. 

“I had good things to say about him in ’08, but right now I’m focusing on this slate idea,” Nader said. “He could run against Obama and the press completely ignores him and he doesn’t get any debate with him.” (RELATED: Gravel names his price: $1 million to challenge Obama)

“It doesn’t work because he can be completely marginalized,” Nader said of a possible Gravel candidacy. “We’re not interested in just having someone on the ballot who doesn’t get a paragraph in the press. And he knows what that’s all about. He’s experienced it.”

In July, Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said during a radio interview, “I think it would be a good idea if President Obama faced some primary opposition.” Nader then took up the challenge of finding a candidate.

In an August interview, Nader told TheDC that he would not personally run for president in 2012, but estimated that “the chances of there being a challenge to Obama in the primary are almost 100 percent.”

Sanders’ office has repeatedly declined TheDC’s requests for comment on specific primary candidates, including Gravel, and the senator has publicly acknowledged that he doesn’t know who would run.

Nader, an environmental advocate who ran as a Green Party candidate for president in 2000, offered high praise for protesters holding a daily vigil outside the White House against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from Canada.

“It’s going to become a historic marker in the history of environmental activities,” he proclaimed.

Nader said he’ll be joining the protests soon, but he won’t join the growing list of well-known Americans arrested for a sit-in.

“No. I’m a writer, like you,” he said.

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