Bob Barr White House Run Picking Up Steam

You can listen to our exclusive interview from Thursday with Bob Barr, who was my guest in the Commissioner’s Corner on Attitude! Radio.

It looks like Bob Barr is putting the final touches on turning his exploratory committee into a presidential committee and may soon announce his intention to seek the nomination for president for the Libertarian Party:

“There are several things we want to get in place before we would make an announcement,” Bob Barr says during a recent interview at his consulting firm, Liberty Strategies LLC. “We anticipate having them nailed down in very short order.”

As rhetorical stemwinders go, that’s not quite up there with “Ask not what your country can do for you … .” Still, it’s tantalizingly, if incrementally, more detailed than what Barr, 59, had to say at the Heartland Libertarian Conference in Kansas City two weeks earlier.

There, the former Republican congressman from Georgia’s 7th District declared he was forming an “exploratory committee” and would run for president as a Libertarian — if “sufficient numbers” of people were for it.

The tremors were felt immediately and everywhere. While bloggers debated Barr’s electability and Libertarian cred — he’s been a party member since just 2006 — his “exploratory” Web site (www.bobbarr2008.com) showed about $25,000 in contributions within two days. (By Friday morning, it was nearing $41,000).

Barr responds to the criticism from his former Republican colleagues who question his decision to explore running for president as a third party candidate:

“No, not directly,” replies Barr, who had to give up his weekly op-ed column in the AJC when he launched the exploratory committee. Of the few “more traditional” Republicans he has heard discouraging words from: “They have this sort of idea in their minds, bless their hearts, that nobody should do anything to upset the Republican nominee. This notion that the political world swirls around two galaxies only, Republican and Democrat only, and anybody else who enters that fray is going to affect the other two and that’s bad — that’s a very myopic notion.”

Putting a team in place? … just in case:

While Barr continues to mull his options privately and publicly — Wednesday’s “Barr Blog” entry hinted ominously at “tactics and strategies” that might be used against him, then invoked Bob Marley as a model courageous figure — others prepare for battle. Verney is already pondering how many staff, volunteer coordinators and offices the campaign would need on Day One. Audrey Mullen of political PR firm Advocacy Ink helps set up Barr’s media appearances and collects footage for a commercial that would be ready to run after a formal announcement.

I don’t have a problem with Barr running, or anyone running for an office, within the two party system, or from a third party. Even Ron Paul took a lot of criticism for running and continuing to run, for president within the REPUBLICAN party, so it doesn’t surprise me that Barr is under criticism for doing so.

Anyone who threatens the GOP “establishment” chess game, whether within the party itself or from the outside, will draw some fire.

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