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Libertarian Barr says McCain can't win presidency

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

By SHANNON McCAFFREY, Associated Press Writer

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ATLANTA — 

Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr appealed Wednesday for the support of Republican-leaning conservatives by declaring his Republican rival John McCain is going to lose the election.

"Sen. McCain will be spending the last two weeks before the election on his 'farewell tour' across America," Barr wrote in an e-mail message. "Sen. McCain's mixed and angry message, as well as his support of big-spending policies, have killed any chance McCain may have had to win this election."

The former Republican congressman from Georgia wrote that conservatives who want their vote to count should throw their support behind his longshot candidacy.

"A vote for John McCain is a wasted vote," Barr said, but a vote for him would be viewed as a protest of big spending policies of McCain and President Bush, particularly their support for the $700 billion bailout of the financial industry.

"Now, principled conservatives can vote their conscience instead of voting for a faux-conservative just because he carries the Republican label," Barr wrote.

Some Republicans have long worried that Barr could play spoiler in a close election if he draws disaffected conservatives from McCain.

Barr has latched onto the bailout as evidence that both major parties are addicted to spending.

Still, he hasn't seen movement in the polls. A new Associated Press-GfK poll out Wednesday had Barr winning about 1 percent of likely voters _ the same amount he pulled three weeks ago.

A former federal prosecutor, Barr built a national following in the 1990s for doggedly pursuing President Clinton's impeachment. He won the Libertarian Party nomination in May after becoming disillusioned with what he saw as unchecked growth of government and federal intrusions into personal privacy under Bush.

The McCain camp did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

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Bob Barr: http://www.bobbarr.com

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