Nader's No. 2

A campaign blog.
Feb. 28 2008 6:12 PM

Nader's No. 2

Slate intern Alex Joseph sends in this dispatch on Ralph Nader's press conference in Washington, D.C.:

Roughly two dozen reporters gathered at the National Press Club today to find out who will be Ralph Nader’s running mate in his fourth consecutive bid for the presidency. Nader has been in the race only a week, but judging from the attitude in the room, he has already overstayed his welcome.

Advertisement

Nader acknowledged his history with the reporters who showed up. When someone pressed him for specifics during a question, Nader laughingly reminded them that they of all people know he can give specifics. He even condemned Washington Post writer Dana Milbank by name for his negative columns (all but guaranteeing another one ), while Milbank sat in the back of the room smiling. It felt like an awkward college reunion, where a group of old classmates gathered grudgingly to reminisce on the good ol’ days.

The most interesting (a relative term) aspect of Nader’s press conference was his new running mate, Matt Gonzalez. Gonzalez is a young, articulate politician who made a name for himself by earning 47 percent of the vote as the Green Party candidate in San Francisco’s 2003 mayoral race. After graduating from Stanford Law in 1990, Gonzalez became a public defender. In 2000, he was elected to San Francisco’s board of supervisors. While Nader harped on how corporations run Washington, Gonzalez laid out three different priorities: election reform, poverty relief, and a quick withdrawal from Iraq.

Nader seemed to recognize Gonzalez’s appeal, at times deferring to him. At one point, Gonzalez tapped Nader on the shoulder while he was speaking, quietly insisting that Nader step aside and allow him to follow up. This may have been Nader’s best decision all afternoon: allowing a fresh face to engage a press corps that’s become increasingly tired of the perennial candidate.

Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

The World

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies

They just aren’t ready to admit it yet.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

How Steven Moffat Made the Best Doctor Who Episode in Years

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 16 2014 2:11 PM Spare the Rod What Charles Barkley gets wrong about corporal punishment and black culture.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 16 2014 1:23 PM Germany Has Asked Google to Reveal Its Search Algorithm, but That's Not Going to Happen
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 1:27 PM The Veronica Mars Spinoff Is Just Amusing Enough to Keep Me Watching
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 1:39 PM The Case of the Missing Cerebellum How did a Chinese woman live 24 years missing part of her brain?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.