WASHINGTON--Ralph Nader just told NBC "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert he will make this third run for president. Nader demonstrated off the bat on Sunday that he can whip up controversy for front-runner Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), saying he flip-flopped on support for the Palestinian cause. This will touch a nerve because the Obama campaign has been working to lock-in Jewish voters by stressing his strong backing for Israel.
Nader was seen as a spoiler in 2000 when he siphoned votes from Al Gore, with the most critical and protracted battle taking place in Florida. Nader won some 97,000 votes in Florida and Gore lost to Bush in Florida by 543 votes.
Obama, on a trajectory to win the Democratic presidential nomination, on Saturday said Nader has "a pretty high opinion of his own work" at the same press conference in Ohio where he called him a "heroic figure."
Nader said it was "political bigotry" to assume that only two candidates should run for the White House. Calling him a spoiler is "astonishing," Nader said. He said was a Obama a "liberal evangelist." Nader hit Obama right off on what for Obama is a very sensitive, hot button issue. Nader said Obama " was pro-Palestinian" when he ran for the state senate in Illinois.
Obama on Saturday, asked about Nader's anticipated entry, portrayed Nader as being in the race to satisfy his own ego, thus diminishing him, while at the same time praising Nader for his work on behalf of consumers.
Obama revealed that Nader had called him and "reached out" to his campaign.
"My sense is is that Mr. Nader is somebody who, if you don't listen and adopt all of his policies, thinks you're not substantive. He seems to have a pretty high opinion of, of his own work. Now -- and by the way, I have to say that, historically, he is a singular figure in American politics and has done as much as just about anybody on behalf of consumers," Obama said.