Bob Barr presidential campaign, 2008

Infobox U.S. federal election campaign, 2008
committee = Bob Barr 2008

campaign = U.S. presidential election, 2008
candidate = Bob Barr
United States House of Representatives (GA) (1995-2003)
cand_id = P80005580
fec_date = 2008-08-31
status = Active
affiliation = Libertarian Party
headquarters = Atlanta, Georgia
key_people = Russ Verney (Campaign Manager)
Wayne Allyn Root (Running mate)
receipts = .859
homepage = [ Bob Barr 2008]
slogan = Liberty for America
Former Republican Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia announced his candidacy for the Libertarian Party's nomination for President of the United States on May 12 2008 after months of grassroot draft efforts. He won the party's nomination after six rounds of voting on May 25 at the 2008 Libertarian Party National Convention. The candidate portrays himself as an alternate for conservatives to the Republican nominee John McCain. He emphasizes his opposition to the Republican Party for its positions on the War in Iraq and the PATRIOT Act but stands as an advocate for border security and fiscal constraint.

Early stages

On March 19, 2008 Barr confirmed his interest in running for president. This came as the media acknowledged a movement on Facebook to encourage the former Congressman to begin a campaign. Barr remarked that there existed a "dissatisfaction with the candidates for the two major parties" but commended presidential candidate and Republican Congressman Ron Paul for "advocat [ing] libertarian and true conservative principles." Pollster John Zogby commented on a possible Barr candidacy as potentially upsetting for Republicans, and described his possible supporters as individuals who see him "as a consistent libertarian who opposed the PATRIOT Act, budget deficits and gun control." [ cite web|url=|title=Libertarians seek Barr candidacy|publisher=Washington Times|work=|date=2008-03-20|author=|accessdate= ] Later in March Barr stated that he was "looking very seriously at" a presidential run. [ cite web|url=|title=Bob Barr thinking ‘very serious’ thoughts about a presidential race, Iraq, and torture|publisher=Atlanta Journal-Constitution|work=|date=2008-03-26|author=|accessdate= ]

Barr launched an exploratory committee and created a campaign website on April 5, 2008. Within two days the committee reported that $25,000 had been contributed from supporters. Later in April the committee found through polling research that Barr had the support of 7% of the electorate despite not being an announced candidate. [ cite web|url=|title=Barr's campaign for White House taking shape|publisher=Atlanta Journal-Constitution|work=|date=2008-04-26|author=Jill Vejnoska|accessdate=] On the lead up to Barr's impending announcement, columnist George Will wrote an article in "Newsweek" chronicling the Libertarian Party and the potential candidate's run. Will stated that Barr could have a similar effect on the election as Ralph Nader did in 2000 yet described the potential effect as a " punishment" to John McCain for his co-sponsorship of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which Barr opposes. [ cite web|url=|title=A Libertarian Surge?|publisher=Newsweek|work=|date=2008-04-21|author=George Will|accessdate= ]

Campaign developments

Libertarian Party nomination campaign

Barr announced that he had officially begun a campaign on May 12, 2008. He stated in his announcement that his run would give the American people a "meaningful choice" to vote for in November so they would not have to "hold their nose and pull a lever...for the lesser of two evils." He cited his belief in the need for a reduction in the size of the government as a primary reason for his run. [ cite web|url=|title=Bob Barr to announce presidential plans|publisher=Fox News|work=|date=2008-05-12|author=|accessdate= ] In response to the run, Republican consultant Christopher R. Barron took a different approach than that of George Will on the effect of the Barr candidacy to John McCain, stating that his run "is unlikely to hurt Sen. McCain in any significant way" because "Barr's candidacy [could] actually help McCain by siphoning off some of the enthusiasm among college voters and antiwar advocates for Obama." [ cite web|url=,0,7350346.story|title=Bob Barr, a former GOP congressman, is running for president as a Libertarian|publisher=Los Angeles Times|work=|date=2008-05-13|author=Johanna Neuman|accessdate=]

During an interview with "Newsweek" following his entrance into the race, Barr responded to a question on why he decided to announce his candidacy two weeks before the Libertarian convention by remarking that hadn't "seriously consider [running] until about five or six weeks" prior to announcing. When asked if he believed he was a "spoiler" in the race to John McCain, Barr stated that "the votes [he would receive] are not going to come from people that are committed to voting for McCain." Also during the interview Barr commented that his campaign would make use of the internet like Ron Paul and Barack Obama to mobilize young voters. [ cite web|url=|title=Belly Up to the Barr |publisher=Newsweek|work=|date=2008-05-13|author=Daniel Stone|accessdate= ]

Barr's campaign manager Russ Verney sent a fundraising memorandum on May 19 that included his predictions for the campaign's prospects. He compared the candidate to Ross Perot, for whom Verney served as advisor in 1992 and 1996. He set a future timeline where Barr participates in the nationally televised debates in October 2008, and captures 19% of the vote on Election Day. The manager commented that Barr's campaign is "no ordinary presidential campaign" and that he has a chance to do well in the election because "America is swamped in Libertarian information." [ cite web|url=|title=Update From The Barr Campaign |publisher=The Atlantic|work=|date=2008-05-19|author=Mark Ambinder|accessdate= ]

Barr participated in the Libertarian Party presidential debate on May 20, 2008 at Dupont Circle sponsored by "Reason Magazine", and attended by fellow contenders Mike Gravel and Wayne Allyn Root. Barr remarked during the debate that "inside the heart of every American beats the heart of a libertarian" and that the nation was entering on a "Libertarian era." He also stated that as president he would eliminate the Department of Education. [ cite web|url=|title=Playing the Spoiler Role?|publisher=Newsweek|work=|date=2008-05-21|author=Sarah Elkins|accessdate= ] Later in the debate, Barr's opponent Root criticized the "Washington media" for its portrayal of Barr as the "only candidate", which he described as "absurd." [ cite web|url=|title=Bob Barr takes on the ‘king of infomercials’ |publisher=The Examiner|work=|date=2008-05-21|author=|accessdate= ]

Libertarian presidential nomination

As the 2008 Libertarian National Convention held in Denver, Colorado approached, the "radical" members of the Libertarian caucus criticized the "mainstream" Barr by distributing fliers that declared that the "Libertarian Party [is] not for sale." The criticism is in response to allegations that Barr's campaign is an attempt by conservatives to take over the party. Libertarian delegates disagreed with the media's reporting on the race, stating that Barr is "not a shoo-in" for the nomination. [ cite web|url=|title=Fear and Loathing in Denver|publisher=The American Spectator|work=|date=2008-05-23|author=Robert McCain|accessdate= ] At the convention Barr was attacked by fellow candidates Steve Kubby and Mary Ruwart for his vote in support of the PATRIOT Act in 2001 following the September 11 attacks. Barr responded by stating that he regretted that vote and has spent the past five years "working to take the USA PATRIOT Act, drive a stake through its heart, burn it, shoot it, [and] burn it again..." [ cite web|url=|title=That didn't take long|publisher=Atlanta Journal-Constitution|work=|date=2008-05-24|author=Aaron Sheinin|accessdate= ] Barr was named the Libertarian Party's nominee after six rounds of balloting on May 25, 2008. [ cite web|url= |title=Libertarian Party picks Barr as presidential candidate|publisher=Associated Press|work=|date=2008-05-26|author=|accessdate= ] Las Vegas businessman Wayne Allyn Root was named his running mate.

General election campaign

On June 4, 2008, as the nominee of the Libertarian Party, Barr invited the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee, John McCain, and the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee, Barack Obama to weekly presidential debates through an official press release. [ [|Bob Barr Welcomes Election Contest With Barack Obama and John McCain - Urges Weekly Debates] Yahoo News] To participate in official presidential debates the Barr campaign must surpass the 15% threshold put in place by the Commission on Presidential Debates. [ cite web|url=|title=Barr Set to Make Debate Push |publisher=Campaigns and Elections' Politics Magazine|work=|date=2008-07-13|author=Doug Daniels|accessdate=2008-07-24 ]

Media coverage

Barr received some media exposure a few days following his nomination by visiting New York City to appear on the "Colbert Report" and for an hour long interview on Glenn Beck's Headline News program. The former appearance was part of the campaign's strategy aimed at young voters and former Ron Paul supporters to inform them about his campaign. Young people make up a large portion of the show's viewing audience. During the interview with Colbert, Barr was asked if since he was a "big advocate of personal privacy" why he "voted for the PATRIOT Act." He responded by stating that the Bush Administration "went back on everything they told us they would do with the PATRIOT Act." [ cite web|url=|title='Colbert' booking gives Barr exposure|publisher=Atlanta Journal-Constitution|work=|date=2008-06-08|author=Aaron Sheinn|accessdate= ]

It was determined in a study by the "Independent Political Report" that Bob Barr led all other third party candidates in media reports from an evaluation of Google News. The coverage was attributed by IndyTruth to the campaign's use of daily press releases described as "provocative." Highlighted in the evaluation were reports from Barr that called for the need to remove troops from South Korea and commentary on other presidential candidates. The report stated that the press releases "trigger [ed] widespread chatter in the blogosphere" that was a catalyst for the campaign. [ cite web|url=|title=Bob Barr Saturates the Internet Media |publisher=IndyTruth Blog|work=|date=2008-06-11|author=|accessdate= ]

On June 30 Barr appeared on "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace. He described his qualms with John McCain stating that "what's wrong with John McCain is symptomatic of what's wrong with the Republican Party in these first years of the 21st century. They talk one thing but do something different." When asked if he agreed that John McCain would be a better choice than Barack Obama he responded that it was "a mixed bag" and that "Senator Obama clearly is much better" on "civil liberties and privacy issues" but that he "would favor a more expansive federal spending policy." Barr opined that "neither of these candidates is talking about the deep cuts in government spending and returning power to the people." Barr identified the Republican Party's position on FISA legislation as his biggest aversion to the party. When confronted with opinion polls that showed Barr with 3% in the presidential race Barr, explained that the numbers would increase in the following weeks announcing that on July 4 his campaign would be launched "full-time." [ cite web|url=,2933,373450,00.html|title= Transcript: Bob Barr on 'FOX News Sunday'|publisher=Fox News|work=|date=2008-06-30|author=|accessdate=2008-07-23 ]

During an interview with Fox News on July 14, Barr criticized the Treasury Department's plan to help Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. His opposition was formed because of the government's use of taxpayer money to credit the enterprises, explaining that "the taxpayers of this country are being put at further risk" because "this is all taxpayer dollars that we're talking about here." But Barr did state that "doing nothing would not be advisable" and that the government "has to do something." He explained that there "has to be a very firm commitment to restructure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac." [ cite web|url=,2933,382881,00.html|title= Barr: Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Bailout Unfair to Taxpayers|publisher=Fox News|work=|date=2008-07-15|author=|accessdate=2008-07-23 ] Barr was criticized by some Libertarians for his remarks. Boston Tea Party presidential nominee Charles Jay stated that he disagreed with Barr and that there should be no bailout for the lenders but that the government should instead "bail out of the mortgage business and let free markets flow." [ cite web|url=|title=Charles Jay concurs with LP, disagrees with Barr: ‘Let Fannie/Freddie fail’ |publisher=Independent Political Report|work=|date=2008-07-16|author=|accessdate=2008-07-23 ] Jay described Barr as a "dixiecrat." [ cite web|url=|title= Boston Tea Party’s Charles Jay slams Bob Barr over Jesse Helms press release|publisher=Independent Political Report|work=|date=2008-07-13|author=|accessdate=2008-07-23 ]

Campaign activities

Barr was invited by former Vice President Al Gore to attend a "We Campaign" event to raise awareness for global warming. Barr met with Gore privately and attended the event on July 17, further stating that "global warming is a reality." He affirmed his belief that the government should "remain firmly committed to free market solutions and innovations to address this issue; not tax-driven policies." He praised Gore stating that he was "pleased that Mr. Gore agrees that the public debate of this issue should include me." He criticized his fellow candidates John McCain and Barack Obama for not attending the event stating that their absence showed "their unwillingness to address this important issue." He called on his fellow candidates to appear at other "we campaign" events to debate solutions to the problem. [ cite web|url=|title=Statement of Bob Barr After Vice President Al Gore's 'We' Campaign |publisher=Fox Business|work=|date=2008-07-17|author=|accessdate=2008-07-24 ]

During a visit to Austin, Texas for a fundraiser, Barr made a surprise appearance at the Netroots Nation convention on July 19. The candidate remarked at the meeting of progressive bloggers that "there are a lot of libertarians here, [and] a lot of supporters" of his campaign. Barr's presence at the conference was acknowledged by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi who observed that "Bob Barr - even Bob Barr - opposed" the domestic spying bill she was discussing. [ cite web|url=|title=Surprise Visit by Bob Barr at Netroots Conference |publisher=Wall Street Journal|work=|date=2008-07-19|author=Susan Davis|accessdate=2008-07-26 ]

Comments from observers

Former Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul made favorable comments about Barr's campaign, saying: "I think (Barr is) running a very important race and I'm encouraging him. I haven't endorsed him but he's saying the kind of things I like to be heard and said. I hope he does real well."(2008-06-16) [ Interview on CNN with Wolf Blitzer, on Situation Room] ,] Later Paul stated that because Chuck Baldwin, who is running for President under the Constitution Party, worked hard for Paul's campaign, it is "going to be real hard to say I'm for Barr." [Sauls, Hunter (2008-06-22) [ "Paul unfolds new campaign"] , ] He says, "for me to pick one over the other is not easy. I hope they both together get a lot of votes."

It was announced at a press conference on September 10, 2008 that Paul would give his open endorsement for three third party candidates -- Baldwin, Green Party nominee Cynthia McKinney, and independent Ralph Nader, as well as Barr -- in opposition to the Republican Party and Democratic Party's nominees.(2008-09-10) [ paul-to-announce-presidential-endorsement-plans/] ,] Barr, however, chose not to attend the event, and his name was not included in the final statement released by the other candidates. [(2008-09-10) [ "We Agree"]]

Later that day, it was revealed that Barr had earlier offered the Libertarian vice-presidential candidacy to Paul, via a letter. The letter stated that Barr's current running mate, Wayne Allyn Root, would willingly step down should Paul accept the offer. A spokesman for the Paul campaign called Barr's offer "terribly interesting", but added that Paul had no intentions of running on a third party ticket. [Sheinin, Aaron Gould (2008-09-10) [ "Barr asks Ron Paul to be his running mate"] , Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved on 2008-09-11.]

Ron Paul dropped his endorsement of Barr on September 22, citing the candidate's criticism of his earlier endorsements. Paul opted to instead support Chuck Baldwin's candidacy. [ cite web|url=|title=Dismissing Bob Barr, Ron Paul Endorses Constitution Party Candidate|publisher=Wall Street Journal|work=|date=2008-09-24|author=Brad Haynes|accessdate= ]


May 18, 2008 Rasmussen polling reports showed that in a four-way race between Barack Obama, John McCain, Ralph Nader and Bob Barr, Barr would finish in third place with 6% of the vote leading Nader by 2%. A breakdown of Barr's support showed that he would receive 7% support of Republicans, 5% of Democrats and 5% of unaffiliated voters. The report also showed that most Americans don't have enough information about Barr to form an opinion about him. [ cite web|url= |title=Will Third Party Candidates Tip the Presidential Race?|publisher=Rasmussen Reports|work=|date=2008-05-18|author=|accessdate= ]
May 20 polls from the InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Survey of 652 individuals showed that in his home state of Georgia, Barr would receive 8% of the popular vote, placing him in third place, and 27% behind Barack Obama for second. [ cite web|url=|title=InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Survey: Barr Could Create Presidential Toss-Up in his Home State|publisher=Southern Political Report|work=|date=2008-05-20|author=|accessdate= ] Zogby polling showed on May 21 that Barr captured 3% nationally in a four-way race. CNN polling on June 7 placed Barr at 2%. cite web|url=|title= Barrwatch -- Barr hits 6% in a national poll|publisher=Nolan Chart|work=|date=2008-07-09|author=George Dance|accessdate=2008-07-23 ]

In July 2008 CNN polling placed Barr at 3% in a four-way race butZogby polling placed Barr at 6% nationally. He polled at 8% in four states including Georgia, Colorado, Iowa and Minnesota. He polled at 9% in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Nevada and surveys in New Hampshire put Barr in double-figures at 10%. [ cite web|url=|title= The Zogby Electoral College Map

A Zogby poll released on August 15th, 2008 indicated that most Republicans and Democrats want Barr included in the presidential debates. The poll also indicated that nearly 70% of independent voters would like to see him included. [(2008-08-15) [ Zogby Poll: Majority Want Libertarian Bob Barr Included in Presidential Debates] ,]

Ballot access

As of September 2008, Barr has achieved ballot access in 45 states according to the [ Libertarian Party website] . Barr was denied access in Oklahoma, failing to reach the minimum petition signatures. In July, the campaign filed a lawsuit against the state to try to get the candidate on the ballot despite not meeting the guidelines. [ cite web|url=|title=Barr Submits Oklahoma Petition in Person, Announces Lawsuit |publisher=Ballot Access News|work=|date=2008-07-15|author=|accessdate= ] Barr also filed lawsuits in Massachusetts, West Virginia and Maine to appear on the ballot under similar circumstances. [ cite web|url= |title=Bob Barr fails to make ballot in Maine |publisher=Independent Political Report|work=|date=2008-08-18|author=|accessdate= ]

Barr's plea in West Virginia failed on September 7 after U.S. District Court Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. dismissed the lawsuit. The judge proclaimed that "it was their (the campaign's) lack of reasonable diligence that ultimately thwarted their effort to gain ballot access here" in West Virginia. [ cite web|url=|title=Judge tosses Barr's W.Va. ballot access lawsuit |publisher=USA Today|work=|date=2008-09-07|author=|accessdate= ]

Lawsuits were filed against Barr by GOP members in Pennsylvania, to prevent the candidate from appearing on the state's ballot on charges that the Libertarian Party "tricked" individuals into signing the state's ballot access petition. Commonwealth Court Judge Johnny Butler dismissed these allegations on September 16, allowing Barr to remain on the state's ballot. [ cite web|url=,0,6903294.story|title=Barr can stay on Pa. ballot, judge rules |publisher=The Morning Call|work=|date=2008-09-16|author=|accessdate= ]

The campaign also filed a lawsuit to prevent John McCain and Barack Obama from appearing on the ballot in Texas, charging that the candidates' parties did not reach the state's August 26 deadline to report their nominations to the Secretary of State. The current Texas Secretary of State Esperanza Andrade reported that all the correct paperwork was filed but neither the Democratic nor Republican parties formally nominated their candidates (at their respective conventions) until after the deadline. [ cite web|url=|title=Bob Barr Busts Ballot |publisher=Dallas Morning News|work=|date=2008-09-17|author=Christy Hoppe|accessdate= ] On September 23, 2008 the Texas Supreme Court rejected the request without giving a reason for its decision. []

On September 26, 2008 the Louisiana Supreme Court reversed an earlier decision to keep Barr and Root on the ballot, and ordered that they both be removed. The Barr-Root Campaign promptly announced that it plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. []


Rejected endorsement

James Buchanan, of the white supremacist group White Civil Rights, posted a Barr endorsement on, urging whites to vote for the "best man" rather John McCain, who he described as a "liberal". [ cite web|url=|title=Bob Barr Does What Ron Paul Should Have |publisher=The Liberty Papers|work=|date=2008-06-02|author=|accessdate= ] The Barr campaign repudiated this endorsement, with campaign manager Russ Verney stating, "We do not want and will not accept the support of haters. Tell the haters I said don't let the door hit you in the backside on the way out." Verney also emphasized, "anyone with love in their heart for our country and for every resident of our country regardless of race, religion, nationality, or sexual orientation is welcome with open arms." [ cite web|url=|title= Bob Barr to Stormfront: Drop Dead||work=|date=2008-06-02|author=David Weigel|accessdate= ]

ee also

*Electoral history of Bob Barr
*Political positions of Bob Barr
*Comparison of United States presidential candidates, 2008
*List of candidates in the United States presidential election, 2008
*Third party (United States) presidential candidates, 2008


External links

* [ Barr for President]
* [ BobBarr2008 YouTube Channel]
* [ Official MySpace]
* [ Official Facebook Group]

;Documentaries, topic pages and databases
* [ Candidate profile] at Project Vote Smart
* [ Issue positions and quotes] at
* [ Campaign contributions] of The Bob Barr Leadership Fund from the FEC
* [ Bob Barr, "Why I Want to be President"] at
* [ Presidential campaign FEC disclosure report]

* [ Congressional Biography]

* [ Liberty Strategies Website]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.