May 26th, 2008
08:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Barr: Obama and McCain the real spoilers


Watch Bob Barr's interview with John Roberts

(CNN) - Former Rep. Bob Barr, the newly-selected Libertarian presidential nominee, rejected suggestions Monday that he could spoil his former party's chances of holding onto the White House.

"There are two folks that are out to spoil the race here - it's Senator Obama and Senator McCain. They're setting out, I think, to spoil our chances," he told CNN's "American Morning."

He added, "There are millions of voters out there that are not going to vote for Senator McCain, and we aim to reach those voters with the message of smaller government and more individual liberty."

For years, Barr was a prominent Georgia Republican in the House. He played a leading role in the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton.

His positions on some issues have left some Libertarians unsure about his candidacy. He opposed legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, supported the Patriot Act, and co-sponsored the Defense of Marriage Act.

While the Defense of Marriage Act was backed by opponents of gay marriage, and allowed states not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, Barr told CNN Monday that it was a "very sound individualistic and states' rights policy."

And he said he has been working for five years "to either amend or repeal the Patriot Act because of the way it has been used and abused by the Bush administration to curtail the civil liberties of American citizens in this country. We can defend America without taking away civil liberties and privacy rights of American citizens, and we ought to be doing that."

He also supports U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

Barr, 59, left the Republican Party in 2006, and announced in April that he would form a presidential exploratory committee. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1994 and represented a conservative district in the Atlanta suburbs for four terms.

He worked as an occasional contributor and analyst for CNN after leaving office.

The last two Libertarian presidential candidates, Michael Badnarik in 2004 and Harry Browne in 2000, drew fewer than 400,000 votes each. But Barr is a more prominent political figure, and his selection Sunday at the Libertarian National Convention in Denver is drawing more attention to the party.

He told CNN Monday he hopes to have his name on the ballot in all 50 states, and vowed, "We are going to launch a very vigorous campaign all across America."

Filed under: Bob Barr
soundoff (213 Responses)
  1. scott brookdale ca

    Libertarian? I always took him for another Southern Fascist.

    May 26, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. RB

    Bob Barr: the republican's only chance!

    May 26, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. Clear Picture

    Go Bob Barr!!!

    May 26, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. Lincoln Thurber

    I have voted Liberatarian in the last 3 elections because I could not stand the Dem. or Rep. Now i can't stand the Liberatarian either.
    Oh! woe what am I going to do?

    May 26, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. Ken sifo GA,

    Its quite interesting to see that Americans only believe that the best two candidates to run for presidency are those that represent the Democratic and Republican parties. Has it ever crossed your minds that in much smaller countries there are several presidential candidates on the ballot at the same time? Those voters are still able to decide who they want to vote for. Its a shame that in a seriously shophisticated country such as ours, the people are wrapped up in the "plantation style party ideology ." Why must Americans have to subject themselves to taking sides between two parties? What if we dont like any candidate, should we not have the opportunity to vote for someone else? Have you ever visited another church than yours? Another Mosque? Another Mall? Another grocery store? Did anyone try to sue you for doing what you did? What cant Americans choose to change party affiliations at will? I am not a "registered anything."

    May 26, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. Concerned Canadian

    Barack Hussein Obama refused to debate Hillary Clinton in Puerto Rico – Whats he scared of ?

    Barack Hussein Obama doesn't want the Florida and Michigan votes to count – Whats he scared of ?

    Barack Hussein Obama is really anxious for DNC to end the primary – Whats he scared of ?

    Barack Hussein Obama campaigns again in states that been through the primary already – Whats he scared of ?

    I'll tell you. He knows he's losing to Hillary Clinton. He's trying to run away at the same trying to appear to the voters as the actual nominee.
    Its his way of telling screw you Hillary, screw your supporters and screw you voters in Florida and Michigan. If the DNC and other superdelegates come out in lockstep with Obama this week...the Democratic party can kiss any chance of party unity away !

    Barack Hussein Obama despite what the media says, and despite what the DNC says, there is no respect and grace extended to Hillary Clinton and her supporters. She has the popular vote. Superdelegates should be swaying in droves to her. Florida and Michigan supports Hillary.

    Hillary Clinton and her supporters will not be denied a full count of the votes in all 50 states. Thats the " exit " strategy she wants. If not, it will be settled on the convention floor in Denver.

    I'm betting, based on the behaviour of Obama, the attitude displayed by the DNC and some superdelegates like Edwards(your career is finished) , Kerry, Richardson , Carter etc., this is really fuelling the fires and the only possibility of unity is when hell freezes for three days.

    Barack Hussein Obama is just trying to slip through the cracks now to escape with a nomination. Well chump, it ain't gonna happen.

    May 26, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  7. The Clear Thinking Independent

    This is good for America and I'm glad to see it. Our 2 party system historically has not yield much diffrence in the results delivered to the American people. My hat's off to Perot, Nader, Anderson & now Barr.

    Don't know much about Mr. Barr but I certainly like is fiscal conservatism.

    I did hear something silly about him wanting to change all the road signs directing people to National Airport at some exhorbitant cost. National Airport will always be National Airport ... at least to the residents and workers in the DC area.

    Forget that nonsense and give us a clear conservative choice to contrast with John McCain and Barack Obama.

    May 26, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |

    When Hillary Rodham Clinton made a rare stop in the Senate last week, she spoke from a lonely outpost at the end of the Armed Services Committee dais, eight empty chairs emphasizing the gulf between her and real Senate power at the chairman’s spot.

    May 26, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  9. Dave

    "More individual liberty..." unless you happen to be gay, prefer self medicating, or value the 4th amendment. Then, of course, you're out of luck.

    Bob Barr is a social conservative and no amount of backpedaling will change that.

    May 26, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  10. Clear Picture

    Go Bob Barr and Ron Paul!!!

    May 26, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  11. Obama the Politician

    Obama campaign's aggressive handling of the RFK reference was outrageous. First they took the comment out of context, twisted the words, and intentionally misinterpret it and personalized it Then they make a huge stink about it with the media (which of course listens to Obama's campaign and blows the story into absurd proportions). Then the Obama camp followed up with reporters by forwarding an absurd commentary about the RFK reference to the media for purposes of inflaming the matter. Then (after they have created the fire) Obama himself comes out and acts as if he doesn't care about the comment (so he can appear fair and non-political). What a SHAM.
    Clinton merely referenced the memorable June event in discussing primary timelines (not reasons for staying in the race). What the Obama camp did was play dirty politics. He had his staff make outrageous and indignant remarks and then he himself stepped in to play the part of the hero. I'm not falling for it. I won't vote for Obama in November.
    You may be some fooling people now, but they will see that you're just another politician (hopefully it won't be too late before they realize it).

    Obama is a SHAM!

    May 26, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. "Baaa Baaa" Obama


    You are right on the $.

    If this comment section is a true reflection of a reasonable slice of the American public then, these are some sad times....

    Let me think "critically" for a second (something most American lemmings are apparently incapable of)...

    Yes, these are sad times indeed.

    May 26, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  13. Timber

    If Hillary is not the nominee then I would vote for McCain, but NOT this guy! He is super super conservative, he would have us all live like the Amish (no offense). He will steal votes from McCain, but then Nader will steal votes from NOBAMA and Hillary supporters will send a lot of votes McCains way so McCain is still ahead I think. NOBAMA would be the worst thing to hit this country since GW Bush. I am a democrat, but will NEVER vote for that phony.

    May 26, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. Allen Friedman--- Henderson, Nevada

    Bob Barr will give conservitives a candidate that thinks like they do. John McCain could find it difficult in the south and other religious areas of the country that would find it difficult to vote for McCain in November with Mr. Barr being on the ballot. The fallout from the Rev. Hagge split is another problem for McCain among Evangelicals and could back Barr who is considered a true conservitive.

    May 26, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  15. 2012

    Michael, an independent Canadian........I agree with you completely. Your suggestion sounds very much like the country our founding fathers envisioned. Unfortunately, it distilled down to two parties and ever since we've had stonewalling and backroom wheeling and dealing, resulting in very little of value ever being accomplished.

    That's the very reason I'm a lifelong independent, myself. Thanks for you're very well thought out post. That's refreshing!

    May 26, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  16. Stefan

    Bob Barr is a very strange choice for the Libertarians.

    May 26, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. Sam.

    Every time Hillary appear on the campaign trail she kept on saying I.m ready to fight, I,m not a quitter, can we have one of her adviser let her know that the Presidency of the United States is not exclusively for one family? Why do you want to keep on fighting a war that is unwinnable based on all available statistics. Is time for you to go with your dignity intact, or remain in the race and damaged the party for your own selfish believe.

    May 26, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  18. Attorney in Florida

    You Obama folks are so rude and hateful. Go figure...not a big surprise.

    May 26, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  19. Truth

    I've voted Libertarian all my adult life, but I'm not voting for Bob Barr. I'm not convinced he's a real Libertarian, but beyond that we have to end the war in Iraq. Too many lives have been lost needlessly. Too many young people have been maimed for nothing. And we are throwing money down a rat hole. We are becoming more and more in debt to other nations. And what has happened to our civil liberties? So, I'm voting for Obama, but I wish Bob Barr well!

    May 26, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  20. Dave

    As long as he pulls more McCain votes away...

    May 26, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  21. John Wilson

    How can you run an article on Bob Barr without mentioning the single most salient factor in his so-called "campaign" - How many states' ballots is he likely to be listed on? His potential impact in November simply cannot be judged without this info, yet your item completely ignores the subject...

    May 26, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  22. 1948

    Mr. Barr. Please go away! You have nothing good to offer by stepping in at this last minute. All you're going to do is possibly take away votes from the TRUE nominees in this crucial presidential race. You need to butt out and leave it to the people who can do the job better. I've not heard one thing that you can do for us that any of the three current candidates can't do better. Leave the race to the ones who didn't change parties because they couldn't get anywhere in them. CEASE AND DESIST this activity NOW !!!!

    May 26, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  23. Chris, Bethesda, Maryland

    Excellent. If Ron Paul decides to run in addition to this imbecile, there just might be enough defectors on the right to counteract Nader's third attempt... maybe this time we can actually get a balanced race.

    May 26, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  24. Gene

    It's nice when former Republicans, upset over their Congressional re-election trouncing, can still get in the game and play with the big boys. It's also nice when a "party" can nominate someone so completely opposed to the "party's" stated platform. Keep up the good work, guys.

    May 26, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  25. Will

    Hello Bob (Nadar) Barr! Thank you so much for saving our country from McCain! I appreciate the help with this problem. GOD I love you Bob Barr. Go Obama........

    Barr can be vp. lol

    May 26, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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