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February 12, 2008

Bob Barr For President ?

by Doug Mataconis

There’s talk in the blogosphere of former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, who left the Republican Party for the Libertarian Party in 2006, being the Libertarian Party’s candidate for President:

Bob Barr, who helped lead the 1998 impeachment of President Clinton, is the object of an alliance of conservative and libertarians seeking to recruit the former Georgia Republican congressman as a third-party presidential candidate.

Now an Atlanta-based activist with the Libertarian Party, Barr has repeatedly disavowed any intention of seeking the LP’s 2008 presidential nomination. He reiterated that stance Monday during an appearance on Neal Boortz’s Atlanta-based syndicated talk radio program.

“Right now, he’s concentrating on establishing the Libertarian Party as a viable third party,” said Derek Barr, the former congressman’s son, who now serves as his father’s communication and research director.

However, efforts to push a Barr candidacy were given new impetus last week when Rep. Ron Paul sent a letter to his supporters announcing plans to scale back his Republican presidential campaign and concentrate on his congressional re-election fight in Texas.

Several organizers behind the draft-Barr movement were supporters of the Paul presidential campaign. Last week, Barr introduced Paul at of the 35th annual Conservative Political Action Conference, calling the Texas congressman “the Constitution’s best friend” and “the gold standard of conservatism” in the GOP presidential campaign.

Barr’s backers have also solicited support among conservative Republicans who were disappointed by last week’s announcement — made on the opening day of CPAC — that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was suspending his Republican presidential campaign.

Former Romney backers were “very excited” by proposals to recruit Barr for a White House run on the Libertarian ticket, a source said.

And it appears that at least some of the people that have been involved in Ron Paul’s now all-but-officially-over campaign are interested in jumping ship:

One supporter said Barr could become the “heir apparent” to Paul, whose campaign raised more than $30 million. In a Friday message to supporters, Paul — who was the 1988 LP candidate — definitively ruled out a third-party White House run this year.

Another pro-Barr activist who is familiar with details of the record-setting online fundraising operation for Paul’s campaign said the Texan’s donors are primed to shift their contributions to a Libertarian candidate “who’s got a real chance” to win in November.

“They’re ready to go,” said the Internet activist, who said he’d been trying to persuade Barr to seek the LP nomination since last fall. “It’s very logical — that’s what’s next.”

At the very least, a Presidential run by Bob Barr under the LP banner would draw at least some media attention, which is more than the Libertarian Party is used to getting. What’s more interesting is the idea that such a candidacy could capitalize on conservative discontent with John McCain.

Barr wouldn’t win the election, but he could make a mark.

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  • http://www.jasonpye.com Jason

    I e-mailed Bob about it last night. He denies it.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    I’d vote for him based on his appearance in “Borat” alone. :) But it doesn’t seem very likely that he’d jump in at this point.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    It’s probably just another pie-in-the-sky story.

    Which is usually how things are with the LP

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Which is usually how things are with the LP

    If my personal experience with the LP is pretty typical, I’d say that Bob Barr’s going to have plenty on his plate trying to restructure the party without considering a presidential run.

  • RegularRon

    That’s funny. I was just talking to a friend about Rep.Barr over the weekend.My friend had asked me who I was voting for in general election, and my answer was “Depends on my mood. I will write in either Paul, Pat Buchanan, or Bob Barr”.

    I like Rep. Barr alot.I think he would make a great Libertarian canidate. But we will see.

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