Friday, October 24th, 2014

Nader on the attack

SUMMARY: Trying to generate some attention for his longshot presidential bid, consumer advocate Ralph Nader shoots at the leaders.

As much as Democrats might like to pretend otherwise, consumer advocate Ralph Nader is running for president again this year, padding his resume with a third third-party campaign.

Though he complains of a media "blackout," Nader is snatching attention wherever he can by railing against corporate power in Washington, advocating for the impeachment of the president and lashing out at Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain.

Nader's core message remains much the same as it was in 2000 and 2004: Corporations have captured both parties.

"My critique of John McCain, as it was of George W. Bush, will be far more detailed and more excoriating and more grounded than the Democrats are willing to advance themselves," he promised in a recent interview on the radio program Democracy Now! "The corporations are pulling Obama every day, every day, 24/7, in their direction."

On another recent occasion he went so far as to speculate that Obama "wants to talk white."

Provocative accusations aside, this lawyer-activist's critiques are full of factual assertions, and we decided to check a few. We selected three claims from the Democracy Now! interview that speak to his standing among the electorate, his campaign record and his concerns about post-9/11 infringements on civil liberties.

Nader said that:

• The latest Associated Press poll had him at 6 percent. We found a poll that did have him in that range, though it wasn't by the Associated Press, so we said Mostly True. We also found that Nader's standing in the polls this year is about what it was at this point in previous elections, but dropped by election day.

• In 2000, he never said that it didn't matter whether Al Gore or George W. Bush won. In our research, we couldn't find a direct quote from Nader saying that exactly, but he came close a couple of times. We also found many examples of friends and foes attributing that sentiment to Nader without apparent objection from Nader. We found his denial to be Barley True.

• Obama does not support censuring Bush for warrantless wiretapping. Indeed, a motion was made in the Senate to formally condemn Bush for the use of wiretaps in the fight on terrorism, and Obama hasn't expressed support for the measure. We find Nader's claim to be True.