Ralph Nader Backs Edwards, Slams Clinton

Ralph Nader, a four-time presidential candidate whom many Democrats blame for costing Al Gore the 2000 election, has endorsed John Edwards’ candidacy.

Ralph Nader Endorses John Edwards Photo Former presidential candidate calls Clinton Ralph Nader unleashed on Hillary Rodham Clinton Monday – criticizing her for being soft on defense spending and a chum of big business – and expressed his strong support for John Edwards.

In an 11th hour effort to encourage liberal Iowans to “recognize” Edwards by “giving him a victory,” the activist and former presidential contender said in an interview that Clinton will “pander to corporate interest groups” if elected.

Nader specifically accused Clinton of failing to challenge military spending because “she is a woman who doesn’t want to be labeled as soft on defense and she doesn’t want to be shown as taking on big business.” As Clinton campaigned through a snowstorm in southeast Iowa, pledging to “bring about the changes we need,” Nader accused the Democratic senator from New York of using empty rhetoric. “[Clinton] has not led the way against the avalanche of military contracting, corporate crime, fraud and abuse,” he said. “We want to inform the people of Iowa about Hillary Clinton because all the focus is on, do they have the experience and do they have the personal charisma, and can they cross the aisle” Nader said.

“The issue is corporate power and who controls our political system and it’s not who has experience for six years or two years,” he said, alluding to an ongoing debate over experience between Clinton and freshman Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). “She has experience in the Senate, and what that experience has meant is going soft on cracking down on corporate crime, fraud, and abuse, soft on cutting tens of millions in corporate subsidies,” he continued.

While one would think Nader would be anathema to most Democrats, has still has some fans, apparently. And he sees Edwards as a kindred spirit.

Nader said he has watched Edwards from afar and sees his more pugilistic brand of populism as an encouraging sign. “It’s the only time I’ve heard a Democrat talk that way in a long time,” Nader said, acknowledging what was, for him, a rare moment of praise for a Democratic leader. “Iowa should decide which candidate stands for us,” he added. “Edwards is at least highlighting day after day that the issue is who controls our country, big business or the people.”

Because, of course, big business isn’t run by people.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Patrick T McGuire says:

    Sounds to me that this should help Obama.

  2. grampagravy says:

    You’re right, big business isn’t run by people–it’s run by profit and profit doesn’t need a conscience.

  3. legion says:

    Is there anybody left who actually gives a cold rat’s turd what Nader’s opinion is on anything?

  4. Tlaloc says:

    While one would think Nader would be anathema to most Democrats,


    Because, of course, big business isn’t run by people.

    Big Business isn’t run be *the* people. It is run by a tiny, often incestuous, elite. Or in other words, what grampagravy said.


    Is there anybody left who actually gives a cold rat’s turd what Nader’s opinion is on anything?

    Certainly. I have a fair amount of respect for the man. While I don’t particularly like Edwards this does make me rethink that a bit.

  5. Jurgen Vsych says:

    For people who only know of Nader via the corporate media, and interested in learning more about this incredible advocate, my new book, “What Was Ralph Nader Thinking?” (Wroughten Books) is available at TheWomanDirector.com

  6. legion says:

    He was an incredible advocate. But somewhere along the line he lost sight of anything other than his own ego – the sheer unwarranted hubris he showed both during and after the campaign have forever marked him as a man who cares far more about how he’s viewed than what he’s accomplished.

  7. Nicholas Icks says:

    If you truly think that Mr. Nader was motivated by his ego in his political campaigns, you either haven’t read any of his essays or you haven’t the understanding of nuance to grasp his reasoning. He was trying to give the country an actual choice other than an illusory one between two superficially different but corporate-controlled candidates from the existing parties. The possibility that votes for Nader might otherwise have been votes for Gore is insulting to those of us who would not have voted at all had he not been an option. If, however, you are comfortable being pandered to by phony and corrupt candidates and having your personal rights and tax dollars controlled by the corporations that back them, by all means continue to show disrespect for the man who is willing to do more for your freedoms than you are.