Bob Barr Slams McCain's Tough Talk

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This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," August 18, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Russia, as we know, also holds vast energy wealth. And this heavy influence in the oil and gas market has become a potential weapon that Russia is clearly prepared to use.


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, Senator John McCain blasting Russia again today.

? Video: Watch Neil's interview

My next guest says all this blasting and tough talk is not registering.

With us now is Libertarian presidential nominee Bob Barr.

So, you find Senator McCain's approach to this bad. Why?

BOB BARR, LIBERTARIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it's very simplistic. Either that, or he really doesn't have a firm grasp of the geopolitics and the ethnic and demographic problems in that part of the world.

He seems to feel, similar to what George Bush felt a number of years ago, that Putin could be trusted because he had looked into his eyes and saw a man he could trust.

Senator McCain seems to be falling into that same simplistic mode that, if you meet somebody and know them, they're trustworthy, and we're their friend, and we need to support them.

You know, we're not all Georgians. Simply because there is a very serious problem that we ought to be concerned about and we ought to be monitoring very carefully between Russia and Georgia does not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean that we ought to be becoming involved. And that clearly seems to be the direction in which both this administration and Senator McCain are going.

CAVUTO: All right.

So, Congressman, your view, the official Libertarian view — and not official, but sort of the accepted Libertarian view — is just butt out of these kind of foreign conflicts, right?

BARR: Be aware of them. Be concerned. Try and mediate. There certainty are pressures that can be brought. And, you know, it's not that we ought to back away and say we have no interest whatsoever here. But I think it is foolhardy and, again, very simplistic to be jumping into these sorts of disputes. The one in particular here was, at least in the short term, precipitated very clearly by actions by the Georgian president.

CAVUTO: Yes, that might be right, Congressman, but the response of the Russians was like an anvil on your head. They were obviously poised, ready and willing to see what was going to happen.

BARR: But everybody knew that...

CAVUTO: All right. But here's what I want...

BARR: ... including the Georgian president, apparently.

CAVUTO: Understood. And, by the way, he — he mentioned that on Friday.

But let me ask you, is your position that even though you see signs of militaristic activity, as we would have seen with — with Hitler in the '30s, you just ignore it until you can't ignore it anymore? Or do you act preemptively, as essentially McCain seems to be advocating, that you don't ignore this; it's to your own peril if you do?

BARR: I don't — I don't — I don't see that this is another Munich. And that's part of, I think, the...

CAVUTO: How do you know?

BARR: Well, because...

CAVUTO: I mean, they just set up missiles. Now they have — if that's a guest's way of leaving, Congressman...


BARR: Well, they're not — they're not going — they're not going to leave completely. I think anybody would be simplistic if they believed that they're just going to pull out and, you know, everything is hunky-dory again.

The Russians very clearly intend to maintain a great deal of influence in that area.

But the people that ought to be...

CAVUTO: But a President Barr would ignore it?

BARR: No, I said, absolutely, I would not ignore it, being concerned about it, becoming involved through the Europeans to exert pressure on Russia.

And, after all, it's the Europeans that really ought to be more concerned with this. And we ought to be going to the Europeans and saying, look, you know, NATO has outlived its usefulness. That was an organization, an entity that was put together 60 years ago, for heaven's sake, for an entirely different purpose.

You all need to band together. You have a greater GDP than — than the United States of America, after all, the European nations. Yet, they're just sitting back and letting us do their heavy lifting for them.

CAVUTO: President Barr would say no.

By the way, getting to a President Barr involves getting candidate Barr in the debates. And you have a big task to get in the debates. You have to score 15 percent in polls to be there. You're at 6 percent, 7 percent right now. It doesn't look like it's going to happen.

BARR: That's — that's not necessarily true. I mean, it is a tough road, no doubt about it. The cards are really stacked against any third party, even a legitimate one like the Libertarians.

But many people in this country, as you know from studying these things very carefully over the years, don't really start to focus on the election, even on the candidates and what they're going to be doing, until after Labor Day.

CAVUTO: The talk is, you're going to be pushing sort of like a blitzkrieg of ads to get your name out there, to get familiar to people, to build those numbers up. But getting to 15 percent is tough, right?

BARR: It's tough, but it is doable.

And I think there are a lot of people out there, viewers of FOX network, for example, that really also want to see this process opened up, so that they simply don't have, once again, two sides to the same coin.

CAVUTO: Could I ask you this, though, Congressman? The argument is - - and I know you hate it, because you could see yourself a legitimate contender for the White House — but the argument is, you're an also-ran who would take more votes from John McCain, in the end electing Barack Obama.

BARR: Well, I'm not an also-ran. I haven't ran. I mean, this is the first time I have run for the president of the United States.

The problems that the Republican Party and Senator McCain have in this election cycle are very serious, and they go far deeper than simply Bob Barr. There is no vision, no leadership, no agenda for the American people. That's the problem that the Republicans have. And that's why there's a lot of Libertarian-leaning Republicans and true conservative Republicans that aren't going to vote for Senator McCain. Those are the votes that we intend to get.

CAVUTO: So, you want to do what John Anderson claimed in 1980, get people to think that, if you had a serious shot, they would vote for you. What hurts third-party candidates for the most part is most people think it's a wasted vote and they end up not, right?

BARR: That's exactly what happened to Ross Perot back in 1992 as well. There were...


CAVUTO: But he kind of "nutsed" out in the end, though, right?

BARR: He was doing — he was doing very well, notwithstanding that he had removed himself and then come back in.

CAVUTO: Right.

BARR: And the exit polls, I think, established, with a great deal of credibility, that he didn't get a lot more votes than he did simply because people didn't think that he could win. Had they thought he could win, they would have voted for him.

CAVUTO: Well, you raise a good point. Sixteen years ago, you think about it, in August, he was leading in those polls...

BARR: Right.

CAVUTO: ... before he bowed out, and then came back in. Very interesting argument.

Bob Barr, we shall see.

BARR: Thank you, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right.


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