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Ex-Rep. Bob Barr to seek Libertarian nod, may get Ron Paul O.K.

March 31, 2008 | 10:08 pm

Just when you thought we might be whittling down the number of presidential candidates, there's a new one about to jump in.

According to a politiFormer Georgia Representative Bob Barr is reported about to announce his presidential candidacy for the Libertarian Partycal website, Fitsnews.com, former Republican Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia is about to announce his candidacy with the Libertarian Party.

The same site predicts tonight that GOP Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who has refused to endorse the presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain and continues his own vain campaign, will endorse Barr's bid.

That would indeed make for an unusual sight, an active candidate in one party endorsing a new one in another party.

Paul actually ran as the Libertarian Party's candidate for president in 1988, but has consistently rejected a third-party bid throughout this campaign.

The 72-year-old Paul's campaign -- he's the only survivor beyond McCain of 11 Republicans from last year -- surprised many political observers with its financial potency. Some 800,000 eager and energetic voters, many of them new to politics, have given him in excess of $32 million in the last year, nearly $20 million of it in the last quarter of 2007, to make him the largest GOP fundraiser then. They developed a whole range of creative ideas to arouse political support, including a pinup calendar of nearly naked Hotties4Ron Paul.

Barr, who represented Georgia's 7th District for eight years until 2003, like Paul has made no secret of his dissatisfaction with current Republican Party leadership. He's praised Paul for....

tapping into that same dissatisfaction with his strict constitutionalist approach and desire to drastically reduce the size of the federal government. You may also remember Barr as the activist House floor manager during the impeachment proceedings against former President Bill Clinton.

Paul has said he will continue to slog on as long as his supporters support him with their energy and donations. He reported about $5 million cash in hand at the end of February and zero campaign debt.

As an ardent opponent of the Iraq war, Paul has declined to endorse McCain and don't expect him to change his mind. In a recent interview with Newsweek, he said his supporters would like to work within the GOP but often find themselves unwelcome. He was asked if he would urge them to vote for Republican McCain come November.

"I'm not going to tell them what to do," Paul replied. "But I honestly can't imagine any of them supporting him. That would be a tough sale. The odds of him all of a sudden coming to one of our rallies and being cheered on are not very high."

--Andrew Malcolm

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