ABC News’ Teddy Davis Reports: Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader ripped Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., on Wednesday, saying that the presumptive Democratic nominee would not make the kind of African-American president that he and other members of the civil rights movement worked to make possible.
"People who have fought the civil rights battle — politically, economically, legally — as we have since the 50′s would often talk about, ‘Look what would happen if we had an African-American president or chairpersons of major congressional committees,’" said Nader. "It doesn’t look like it’s going to be what we all thought it would be."
"I lost respect for him," Nader said of Obama "when I saw him over a year ago on C-SPAN vigorously opposed to the impeachment of Bush and Cheney — vigorously opposed. He said it would be ‘divisive’. That is a cop out word. We have the most multiply impeachable presidency in American history."
Nader made his comments at a breakfast with reporters in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. It was not the first time that the perennial presidential candidate has been critical of the Democrat who would be the nation’s first African-American president. Back in June, in an interview with the Rocky Mountain News, Nader accused Obama of downplaying poverty issues, trying to "talk white" and appealing to "white guilt" during his run for the White House.
The liberal consumer rights activist has become a pariah among many in the Democratic Party who blame him for tipping the closely contested 2000 election from then-Vice President Al Gore to then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush by winning 97,421 votes in the State of Florida.
Nader portrayed Obama’s recent softening of his opposition to off-shore drilling as part of a broader effort to blur his differences with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Nader charged that the "blurring" that Obama is engaged in would prove to be a "fatal mistake."
"That’s part of his blurring," said Nader, referring to Obama’s new stance on drilling. "His handlers said, ‘McCain is scoring here.’ So he blurs, he blurs."
Obama told a Florida newspaper last week that he would be willing to compromise his opposition to off-shore drilling if it were necessary to win congressional approval of a broader overhaul focused on renewable sources of energy.
Nader said that he is making his third run for president in order to challenge a two-party system that he thinks has become "homogenized" by corporate power.
Nader identified seven areas as core differences with Obama and McCain: (1) a willingness to investigate corporate crime, fraud and abuse; (2) a commitment to a universal health-care system in which the government, not private companies, acts as the insurer; (3) a commitment to cutting a "bloated" military budget; (4) support for the impeachment and possible prosecution of President Bush and Vice President Cheney; (5) a living wage of $10/ hour; (6) a tax overhaul which would target Wall Street speculation; and (7) a commitment to making ballot access easier for candidates who do not belong to the two major parties.