Links - Official Sites: Bob Barr 2008,, Liberty Strategies, LLC
Organization, Finances

In Brief -  Region 4 representative of the Libertarian National Committee starting Dec. 15, 2006.  President and CEO of Liberty Strategies, LLC, a public policy consulting firm headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and Of Counsel with the Law Offices of Edwin Marger.  Represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican for four terms, 1995 to 2003Unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate in 1992.  President of Southeastern Legal Foundation, 1990-91.  U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, 1986-90.  Official with the Central Intelligence Agency, 1970-78.  B.A. from the University of Southern California, 1970; M.A. from The George Washington University, 1972; J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, 1977.
"Dramatically cut the size, the scope, the power of the federal government"

Former Congressman Bob Barr announced formation of an exploratory committee at the Heartland Libertarian Conference in  Kansas City, MO on April 5, 2008 and announced his candidacy for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination a bit more than a month later on May 12 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  Barr's immediate challenge was to secure the nomination; some of the other candidates had been campaigning for months.  Libertarians gathered for their national convention at the Sheraton Hotel in Denver from May 22-26.  Voting took place on May 25.  Barr secured the nomination on the sixth ballot, and delegates selected Wayne Allyn Root as their vice presidential nominee.

Deputy campaign manager Shane Cory stated (full interview) that, "The strategy of the campaign initially was to run a credible campaign for the Libertarian Party while making a valid attempt to secure a place in the national debates."  A credible campaign required obtaining ballot access, an onerous task as for all third party presidential campaigns.  The Barr-Root ticket qualified for the ballot in 45 States (Barr did not appear on the ballot in CT, LA, ME, OK, WV and DC).  (In an interesting footnote, the Barr campaign tried to turn the tables on the major candidates' by challenging their ballot access in TX, although the effort proved unsuccessful).  The campaign also faced the hurdle of media coverage.  Cory stated, "In the end, the coverage was very good for a third-party run but rather pathetic compared to a major-party presidential run."

In terms of the debates, the odds of Barr facing off against the major party candidates were long, but campaign manager Russ Verney, who had
helped to get Ross Perot into the debates in 1992, worked to see if he could make it happen.  Early on, Barr had some leverage as there was thinking that he could pull enough votes from McCain in his home state of Georgia to tip the balance to Obama.  Verney even made a secret visit to Chicago for in-person talks with the Obama campaign, but after Obama faded in Georgia and pulled out of the state, the Democratic campaign cut off communications.  When Obama and McCain met at the University of Mississippi on Sept. 26 for their first debate, Barr went to the Reason Foundation headquarters in Washington, DC where he provided running commentary.  Barr did participate in a debate with Ralph Nader (Indep.) and Chuck Baldwin (Const.) at the City Club of Cleveland on Oct. 30.

Barr's failure to win the endorsement of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), the 1988 Libertarian nominee, cost him some support.  Paul organized an event for third party and independent candidates at the National Press Club on Sept. 10 and had understood that Barr would participate.  However Barr opted to skip the event and hold his own press conference.  Paul endorsed Baldwin on Sept. 22.

In total the Barr campaign spent just $1.4 million.  Barr finished fourth with 523,686 votes (0.40 percent); by comparision Nader
tallied 738,475 votes (0.56 percent) and spent three times as much.  Barr's best showings were in Indiana, where he received 1.06 percent of the vote (although only three candidates were on the ballot); his home state of Georgia, 0.73 percent, Utah 0.73 percent, Texas 0.69 percent (three candidates on ballot), Wyoming 0.63 percent, and North Carolina 0.60 percent (three candidates on ballot).  An argument can be made that Barr tipped the balance to Obama in Indiana and North Carolina.

See also:
Raffi Khatchadourian.  "The Third Man."  The New Yorker.  Oct. 27, 2008.
Brian Doherty.  "Where Did the Libertarian Party Go Wrong?"  reason.  Nov. 17, 2008.

Sept. 26, 2008 - Providing commentary on the first presidential debate.
Sept. 10, 2008 - Press conference
following the third party and Independent candidates event at the National Press Club.
May 12, 2008 - Announcing his candidacy at the National Press Club.

Copyright © 2008, 2009  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action