Nader: Obama won’t face strong primary challenge from his left

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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Despite predicting earlier this year that a strong primary challenge from President Obama’s political left was certain to materialize, consumer advocate Ralph Nader now says it won’t happen because New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner “pulled the rug from under us.”

Nader was working to draft several candidates to run against Obama as a “slate.” The idea was to mount a challenge by individuals specializing in a variety of issues — including the labor, anti-war and environmental movements.

In an interview with The Daily Caller, Nader explained why idea won’t come to fruition. “The reason is that the Secretary of State of New Hampshire, a very good person who has been there for 30 years, suddenly backed up the date for candidates registering for the New Hampshire primary from the third week in November to October,” he said. “It caught everyone by surprise, so much so that Huntsman had to take a red-eye from the Southwest to New Hampshire to get in under the wire.”

According to Nader, since primary opponents now cannot be fielded in New Hampshire, the slate idea is effectively dead.

“That was always the real window of opportunity for a slate, because you know Iowa is just not suited for it because it has 1,600 caucuses and it takes a huge amount of manpower,” he said. “But there is a couple-week window when everybody is in New Hampshire, and he pulled the rug from under us — not just us, but everybody.”

Despite his work to find a primary challenger for the president, Nader has ruled himself out, saying earlier this year that “I’ve done my rounds.” Asked if he would reconsider and enter his name in states where Democratic candidate registration remains open, he said, “No, because you have to register as a Democrat and I don’t do that.”

“There may be a single-state challenge from some of the people who were interested in the slate. But until that gels, it’s not going to be made public,” he added.

Nader also offered his thoughts on the Republican presidential primary field.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul is a good candidate because of his policy positions on foreign affairs, the military and his opposition to the Federal Reserve, Nader said. “But I don’t think he’s very good on health and safety regulation, environmental issues, and issues like Social Security and Medicare.”

If Paul were the GOP nominee, Nader wouldn’t support him — or President Obama, for that matter. “I don’t support major party candidates,” he said. “They come with too much baggage, too much entrenched collaborative corporate [influence].”

Nader, an Arab-American, also brushed aside controversial comments by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich that Palestinians are an “invented” people.

“No more invented than Newt Gingrich,” he quipped.

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