May 12th, 2008
11:30 AM ET
14 years ago

Barr announces presidential bid


Watch part of Bob Barr's announcement Monday.

(CNN) - Former Republican Rep. Bob Barr formally jumped into the White House race Monday as a candidate for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination.

Barr, the onetime darling of conservatives who led the impeachment fight against former President Bill Clinton, said he is running because voters want a choice beyond the two political parties.

"They believe that America has more and better to offer than what the current political situation is serving up to us," he said Monday at the National Press Club in Washington. "The reason for that is very simple, they believe in America as I believe in America. We believe in an America that is not and should not be and should never be driven by fear as current policies on behalf of both parties are in this country."

Barr, 59, represented Georgia's 7th congressional district from 1995-2003, and became an increasingly vocal critic of President Bush, especially over the president's support of the Patriot Act. He formally left the Republican Party in 2006.

It remains unclear how much support he will draw, but CNN's Bill Schneider says Barr could be to John McCain what Ralph Nader was to Al Gore in 2000.

"If this is an extremely close election, even if Bob Barr gets a handful of votes, it could make a difference, just as Ralph Nader once did," Schneider said. "He is a conservative who attracts mostly Republican voters. He is critical of the Iraq war. McCain supports the Iraq war. There are many conservatism and Republicans who ware critical of the war in Iraq and some of them may decide to vote for Bob Barr to register their protests.

Related Video: Watch Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider give his take on Barr's entry to the race and the latest superdelegate count.

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soundoff (347 Responses)
  1. tj

    Just saw a pathetic interview on FoxNews with Barr. Get ready for the non stop spoiler crap. Then the guy read a quote implying Barr was bitter and frowns alot. That is we report you decide.

    May 12, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. SWF

    It's time to get a fresh perspective in the White House. He can't do worse than GWB. I am voting for BHO because the country has been going in full steam ahead in the wrong direction for nearly 8 years and we need to do a 180 before we run out of track and go off into a ravine.

    May 12, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. Carol


    May 12, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Josh

    As registered Libertarian I applaud his conversion from the big machine of the Republican party to our cause. America lost its freedom a long time ago when we sold out to the military industrial complex and we will never truly be free again until we crush the big money politics embodied by the Democratic and Republican parties.

    That is why I'm voting Obama!

    May 12, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. GloriafromPA

    This isn't fair, McCain doesn't stand a chance against Obama, and now this Republican is running as a Libertarian? The defeat of the Republicans in Nov will be so severe, it will be historical. Oh well.

    May 12, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. Jayson

    The Libertarian and other minor parties need to stop wasting money on the presidential race and spend the money on building viable parties. Otherwise all they will continue to do is play the part of the spoiler in any given election.

    May 12, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. Chad, Wisco

    Esther- I could not agree with you more. We are quickly become Rome 2.0, and we all know how well Rome 1.0 turned out.

    May 12, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. Suzan

    Since he opposes the Clintons, he can can take Obama's and McCain's votes, but not Mrs. Clinton!!!
    Clinton scored again!

    May 12, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. SAM2008

    Obama Said
    I Have Always Been Against Iraq- LIAR, you weren't in office to vote against it AND you have voted to fund it every single time, unlike Kucinich, who seems to be out gutting you Obama. You also seem to be stepping back from your departure date – AGAIN.

    May 12, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. Mike Birmingham, AL

    What a perfect trade!!!

    Hillary's "sour grapes" supporters will vote for McCain, and the pot-smoking Republicans will vote for Barr.

    President Obama....has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

    May 12, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. SAM2008

    Man he lies way to much Obama
    I Didn't Run Ads In Florida – LIAR, you allowed national ads to run 8-12 times per day for two weeks – and you still lost.

    May 12, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. tony

    The time has come to change the way we elect our president and eliminate the electoral college and require the winner to receive 50% of the popular vote it would open the process to more candidates and more voters who would vote for a 3rd or 4th party candidate giving us all more choices. Should no one get 50% the top 2 vote getters could then run against each other without the Nader factor coming into play.

    May 12, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Between Ron Paul write-ins and Bob Barr, McCain is going to lose a huge number (a million-plus to Paul alone) of former Republicans who have become thoroughly disgusted with neo-con war-mongering and bible-thumping.

    Get with it, McCain, or go home and quit wasting everyone's time–the only you're going to get those million-plus votes back is by running on the real Republican platform, the platform from before the neo-con nuts highjacked the party.

    May 12, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  14. Plan 9

    This is terrific news! Every single vote that Barr takes from McSame will be a vote for the best candidate in the race, Barack Obama. I suspect that this is the REAL reason Barr, a patriotic American, is doing this, to trash the drooling, senile McSame's chances and give an edge to the man who could turn out to be the greatest American president since Abraham Lincoln. Obama 2008!

    May 12, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. Harry Potter, Hogwarts

    Arguing on the internet is alot like competing in the special olympics, even if you win, you're still retarded!

    May 12, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  16. The ATL

    Great news! He will attract the far far righties & the crazy religiosos!

    May 12, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  17. Ian

    Unfortunately for him, people would rather be a part of the "winning" team rather than vote for someone who truly represents their beliefs. It's funny that people are more interested in the word "change" than actual change.

    May 12, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. SAM2008

    Obama Economics Bill
    My Economics Bill Will Help America – LIAR, your 111 economic policies were just combined into a proposal which lost 99-0, and even YOU voted against your own bill.

    May 12, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  19. John l Bagueux-Scottt

    good hor him. lets put the show on the road . lol

    May 12, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  20. Jenny


    May 12, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  21. Arkim

    This is obviously good for Obama. This guy will reduce McCains count even though he won't win, but it will be enough to keep Obama ahead.

    May 12, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  22. Jeffrey

    He might not be the IDEAL candidate (see Ron Paul) and he may not have a chance at winning (see the Libertarian election history), but at least his bid is a real one and his stands on the IMPORTANT issues are closely aligned with my own.

    To think that I was just about ready to not vote this fall due to lack of quality options. Barr IS a quality options and I believe that a good number of people, both Republican and Democrat, who 1) don't like McCain's support of and willingness to carry forward Bush's failed policies; and 2) cannot stand Clinton or Obama will see Barr as a serious viable alternative.

    Now, only if he can overcome the two-party bias in the media and election process in order to get his message out, he will have a pretty decent chance the way things are beginning to shape up.

    May 12, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  23. Alan Boyer

    I needed a good laugh. Thanks, Bob!

    May 12, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  24. Mike Birmingham, AL

    Can anybody say – "Democrat landslide"?

    Lovin' it!

    Obama's the next prez without a doubt!

    May 12, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  25. DD, New York

    Perhaps Hillary will run on an independent ticket, should Obama get the Democratic nomination??????? Let us not forget, that Nader is also running.

    May 12, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
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