The former Alaska senator ran a relatively low-key campaign for the Democratic nomination, gaining most of his media attention from blunt critiques of his fellow Democratic presidential candidates during debates. In an April 2007 debate, Gravel said the top-tier Democrats’ stances on Iran “frighten” him because of their repeated comments that “nothing is off the table” with respect to dealing with Iran’s nuclear program. In March 2008, Gravel, frustrated at his maginalization in the Democratic race, declared he would seek the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination.
Gravel opposes the war in Iraq, and proposed removing all troops from the region by Christmas 2007. As a Senator in the 1970s, he vehemently opposed the Vietnam War, and helped end the military draft. Gravel joined the army in the early 1950s, serving in communications intelligence and in the Counter Intelligence Corps in Germany and France. Upon returning from abroad, he earned a degree from Columbia University before moving to Alaska to start a real-estate business. He served for three years in the House of Representatives before moving to the Senate in 1969, where he remained until 1981. Since leaving office, Gravel created the Democracy Foundation and National Initiative for Democracy, projects meant to help increase public participation in the process of making laws.
Mike Gravel ended his bid for the Democratic nomination on March 26, 2008. He then ran for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination before announcing the end of his political career on May 25, 2008.