(CNN) - Former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr said Saturday it’s hard to “overestimate the damage” that’s been inflicted on the Republican Party - not only with this week's defection of Sen. Arlen Specter, but also the “lack of any coherent philosophy, vision or leadership.”
“The Republican Party is in very deep trouble right now,” Barr said in an interview with CNN.
Barr, who was once a loyal soldier in the GOP, joined the Libertarian Party in 2006 and was the party’s presidential candidate in 2008.
The ex-Republican said he doesn’t feel like he relates to Specter's reasons for switching to the Democratic Party. “Where I came from there really was a philosophical basis for leaving the Republican Party,” Barr said.
Specter, who announced Tuesday he’s switching from a Republican to a Democrat, is making the move for political reasons, Barr said.
Specter said he had found himself increasingly "at odds with the Republican philosophy," but he also admitted the decision was driven partly by a desire to keep his seat.
The senator, who has represented Pennsylvania in the upper chamber since 1980, said he was "anxious" to stay in the Senate - and he did not want to face a Republican primary in order to keep his seat next year.
But Barr said he doesn’t think switching parties will give Specter an automatic win. “I don’t think that the people in Pennsylvania will really appreciate what he did,” he said.
(CNN) - The head of the Missouri Department of Public Safety has apologized to U.S. Rep. Ron Paul and two other former presidential candidates for a state law enforcement report linking militia groups to the candidates. State officials killed the report late Wednesday.
The report connected the three to often-armed militia groups by saying militia members are "usually supporters of former presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr."
Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas, unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination for president then announced his support for other third-party presidential candidates. Baldwin ran for president on the Constitution Party ticket, and Barr was the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate.
The report, prepared by the state's Information Analysis Center, was sent to police departments around the state. Public Safety Director John Britt said the intelligence report, was intended to "identify certain traits that are sometimes shared by members of militia groups."
But it generated controversy when a copy of the report was leaked publicly.
(CNN) – Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr Tuesday said he’s lost his faith in government since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
“The government has taken tremendous liberties with our liberty, taking away our liberty in the name of fighting terrorism, using fear to take away people's rights and their privacy in this country,” Barr said during an interview with CNN American Morning’s Kiran Chetry. “And that's caused me and a lot of Americans to lose a great deal of faith in the government, which ought to be protecting our liberties, not taking them away.”
Barr, a former Republican representative from Georgia, is fighting to be included in the national dialogue. He unsuccessfully sued to be included in last weekend’s forum hosted by Rev. Rick Warren that included Sen. Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, and Sen. John McCain, the presumed Republican presidential nominee.
The former Republican said the two major parties were excluding him from the national debates because they want to maintain their lock on national politics.
“They simply don't want the competition from an outsider, so to speak, somebody that might make them feel uncomfortable by raising some issues, some new perspectives, some new choices for the American people,” Barr said. “They like playing the game within the confines of their very closed system that they can control.”
The libertarian nominee, who is currently polling at 3 percent nationally according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll conducted last month, said his goal was raise his support to 15 percent nationally so that he can participate in the official presidential debates this fall.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Bob Barr was once a loyal soldier in the Republican Party - a lawmaker GOP leaders could count on to return home each weekend and echo their talking points at local political events, town hall meetings and civic lunches.
As a young political reporter in Marietta, Georgia, I often heard Barr serve up generous helpings of Republican doctrine over buffet lunches and chicken dinners.
For Republican leaders such as House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who represented a neighboring district, Barr was a dedicated warrior. And he remained so even after he lost a primary fight in 1992 to colleague John Linder, a battle set up by redistricting.
But a few years later, Barr went AWOL from the Republican Party - or, as he tells it, the GOP abandoned him.
He is now the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee and is crisscrossing the country promoting its principles and hunting for votes.
So why did Barr abandon the Republican Party in 2006?
"It probably wasn't any one thing," he said during our conversation last week outside the White House.
(CNN) - There are two intriguing third party candidates running for president his year: Ralph Nader and Bob Barr. Both are well known here in Washington. But will they have an impact around the country if the election between Barack Obama and John McCain is close?
Nader, a long time populist and liberal consumer advocate, has been here before. He won more than 90,000 votes in the Florida election in 2000 and was widely accused of helping George W. Bush beat Al Gore by just more than 500 votes in the state. Gore’s supporters believe that he would have won the state and the election if Nader had stayed out. Nader denies that, insisting he took votes from both Democrats and Republicans.
Barr is a former Republican Congressman from Georgia and is now running on the Libertarian Party ticket. In the House of Representatives, he was always an outspoken conservative. He took the lead in initiating impeachment charges against President Bill Clinton.
Given that conservative track record, he is likely to take votes away from McCain, especially in Georgia where he is relatively well-known.
Obama’s supporters are hoping he does. They believe Georgia is fertile ground for the Democratic candidate, especially if the Democrats can register hundreds of thousands of new young and African American voters in the state.
So let’s see how Nader and Barr do this time around.
(CNN)— Rep. Ron Paul had some words of praise for recently declared Libertarian presidential nominee Bob Barr Thursday, calling him a ‘very positive’ influence on the presidential race.
Paul, who never officially ended his own Republican presidential bid, told American Morning Anchor John Roberts, “[Barr] talks our language, so I do really believe that he can have a very positive effect in this campaign and let the people know that limited government is a very, very important message.”
Echoing the principals he based his own presidential run on, the Texas congressman said Americans’ voices will be heard with Barr, and he “gives everybody a choice in the matter.”
Barr, who was a former four-term Republican congressman from Georgia, left the GOP to join the Libertarian Party in 2006 and officially won the its presidential nomination late last month.
Asked of speculation surrounding the creation of his own convention in September, Paul said he and his supporters won’t be there to cause problems for the Republican Party.
“We’re not going to disrupt them,” he said. “We’re not going to demonstrate as much as present a positive case for values that we believe should be the Republican values.”
(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."
(CNN) - Former Republican Rep. Bob Barr is now the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee - and a potential headache for John McCain, as he reaches out to conservative voters who might otherwise vote for the GOP nominee in November.
The former Georgia congressman - who left the Republican Party two years ago, citing differences over fiscal policy and concerns over civil liberties - was nominated on the sixth ballot at the party’s convention in Denver. The vote on the sixth ballot was 324 for Barr, and 276 for Mary Ruwart, the last remaining candidate out of 14 originally seeking the Libertarian nomination.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Republican Rep. Bob Barr will announce Monday that he will run for president as a Libertarian, a source close to the Georgian told CNN.
Barr will officially declare his candidacy at a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington. The four-term congressman left the GOP in 2006, saying that Republicans had "lost their core principles."
Barr made a name for himself in Congress for his ardent conservative philosophy and his role in President Clinton's impeachment. He lost a primary election in 2002.
Last month, Barr formed a presidential exploratory committee as he weighed a run for the White House. The source said that Barr had been considering a presidential bid "for several months. He currently runs Liberty Strategies, a consulting firm in Atlanta and Washington.
Barr joins a handful of other candidates seeking the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination including former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination this year. Libertarians meet in Denver on May 22 for a four day convention where members will choose the party's presidential nominee.