Bob Barr

Bob Barr

name = Bob Barr

date of birth = Birth date and age|1948|11|5|mf=y
place of birth = Iowa City, Iowa
death_date =
death_place =
state = Georgia
district = 7th
term = January 3, 1995January 3, 2003
preceded = Buddy Darden
succeeded = John Linder
website = []
party = Republican "(while in office)"
Libertarian "(currently)"
religion = Methodist
spouse = (m. ~1970, cite news
first = Melinda
last = Henneberger
title = The Georgia Republican Who Uses the I-Word
url =
publisher = New York Times
date = 1998-05-09
accessdate = 2008-06-06
] div. 1976)
Gail Barr (m. 1976, div. 1986)
Jeri (Dobbin) Barr (m. 1986)
children = 4

Robert Laurence "Bob" Barr, Jr.cite web |title = Mr. Robert Laurence Barr Jr. |work = Member Directory |publisher = State Bar of Georgia |year = 2008 |month = May |url = |accessdate = 2008-05-21] (born November 5, 1948) is the Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 election.cite press release |title = Libertarian Party selects Bob Barr as 2008 presidential nominee |publisher = Libertarian National Committee |date = 2008-05-25 |url = |accessdate = 2008-05-25] He is a former federal prosecutorand a former member of the United States House of Representatives.cite web
title = BARR, Bob - Biographical Information
work = Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
publisher = Congress of the United States
url =
accessdate = 2008-05-21
] He represented Georgia's 7th congressional district as a Republican from 1995 to 2003.cite web |url = |title = Meet Bob |accessdate= 2008-04-20 |work = Barr '08 - Liberty for America |publisher= Barr 2008 Presidential Committee]

Barr attained national prominence as one of the leaders of the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. Barr joined the Libertarian Party in 2006,cite news |first = Ben |last = Evans |title = Ex-Rep. Barr Quits GOP for Libertarians |url = |publisher = CBS News |date = 2006-12-15 |accessdate = 2008-05-01] and until May 2008Fact|date=May 2008 served on its National Committee.cite press release |title = Former Congressman Bob Barr Accepts Leadership Position within the Libertarian Party |publisher = Libertarian National Committee |date = 2006-12-15 |url = |accessdate = 2008-04-15]

Early life

Barr was born on November 5, 1948, in Iowa City, Iowa to Bob and Beatrice Barr.cite news |first = Melinda |last = Henneberger |title = The Georgia Republican Who Uses the I-Word |url = |publisher = New York Times |date = 1998-05-09 |accessdate = 2008-06-06] His father, a West Point soldier, [cite news |first = George F. |last = Will |title = A Libertarian Surge? Bob Barr will be dry-eyed if his candidacy is to John McCain what Ralph Nader's was to Al Gore in 2000. |work = The Last Word |url = |publisher = Newsweek |date = 2008-04-21 |accessdate = 2008-06-06] moved the family to various locations around the world while pursing his career in civil engineering.cite news |first = Jim |last = Auchmutey |title = He's every inch the barrister - U.S. Attorney Barr enjoys `great job' |url = |publisher = The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution |date = 1987-12-18 |accessdate = 2008-06-06] The second of six children, Bob Jr. spent his boyhood in Malaysia, Pakistan, Panama, and finally Tehran, Iran where he graduated from Community High School in 1966.

Barr returned to the United States, attending the University of Southern California and joining the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity in 1967 (where as of|2008|lc=on he holds the position of Grand Histor).cite web |title = Bob L. Barr |work = Grand Council, Grand History |publisher = Tau Kappa Epsilon |url = |accessdate = 2008-05-21] Barr also joined the Young Democrats of America, and rallied against the Vietnam War. His parents disapproved, and threatened to cut off financial support if he continued his "flaming liberal" activities. cite news
first = Gail
last = Barr
title = Affidavit executed January 8, 1999
url =
publisher = Hustler Magazine / American Politics Journal
location = Washington, D.C.
date = 1999-01-13
accessdate = 2008-05-27
Items 8 and 12 of this reference have obvious typos of year -- should read 1983 and 1984 respectively, not 1963 and 1964.] During this time, Barr's mother introduced him to the work of Ayn Rand. This fostered a new-found appreciation for conservatism, and prompted Barr to join the Young Trojan Republican Club. Barr completed his B.A., cum laude,cite paper |title = Member Profile Report Archive. 105th Congress. Representative Robert L. Barr R-GA |publisher = Congressional Information Service / LexisNexis Congressional |date = 1999-01-04 |accessdate = 2008-06-06] from University of Southern California in 1970. Barr married his first wife while still in college. They divorced in 1976.

Early career

Barr earned a master's degree in International Affairs cite book
last = Barr
first = Bob
authorlink = Bob Barr
others = Members of the 1994 Class of the United States Congress
title = Profiles in Character: The Values That Made America
origyear = 1996
publisher = Thomas Nelson
location = Nashville
isbn = 0-7852-7356-5
pages = 1-2
chapter = Congressman Bob Barr
] from George Washington University in 1972, and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1977. From 1971 (1970?) to 1978, Barr was employed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Barr married his second wife, Gail, in 1976. They have two children together, both boys, born in 1980cite web
title = Barr and Flynt on CNN's Larry King Live, January 12 1999
publisher = CNN
url =
accessdate = 2008-09-11
] [Gail Barr's 1999 afffidavit states their eldest son was three years old in March 1983, implying a birthday range of about April 1979 to March 1980. Bob Barr states their eldest son is 18 years old during his January 1999 Larry King Live interview, which implies a birthday range of February 1980 to January 1981. The overlap between these two statements suggests the eldest was born in either February or March of 1980.] and 1981. Gail and Bob Barr divorced in 1986. cite news
first = Howard
last = Kurtz
title = Flynt Calls Rep. Barr a Hypocrite for Divorce Case Answers
url =
publisher = Washington Post
date = 1999-01-12
accessdate = 2008-09-13

After leaving the CIA, Barr moved to Georgia, where he practiced law and became active in the Republican Party. Barr made an unsuccessful bid for the Georgia House of Representatives in 1984. In 1986 Barr married his third wife, Jerilyn Dobbins, who was later known as Jeri Barr. cite web
url =
title = Meet Jeri Barr
accessdate= 2008-05-26
work = Barr '08 - Liberty for America
publisher= Barr 2008 Presidential Committee
] Bob Barr's web site stated in 2008 that Jeri and he have four children and six grandchildren. It's unclear which, if any, of these children are issue from their marriage.

In 1986, Barr was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia—a post Barr held until 1990. Barr's office prosecuted state and local officials, members of the Medellin drug cartel, and got a perjury indictment on then-sitting Republican Congressman Pat Swindall, [ [ Congressman Barr lowers the boom] Insight on the News] who ultimately served a year in prison on the charges. From 1990 to 1991, Barr was president of the [ Southeastern Legal Foundation] , an Atlanta-based law firm and policy center that litigates in support of "limited government, individual economic freedom, and the free enterprise system".cite web |title = About Southeastern Legal Foundation |publisher = Southeastern Legal Foundation |url = |accessdate = 2008-05-28]

Congressional career

Barr sought the Republican Party nomination for U.S. Senate in 1992, but lost the primary election to Paul Coverdell.cite encyclopedia |last = Grant |first = Chris |encyclopedia = The New Georgia Encyclopedia |title = Paul Coverdell (1939-2000) |url = |accessdate = 2008-04-18 |date = 2006-01-24 |publisher = Georgia Humanities Council / University of Georgia Press] The primary was very close, with Barr losing by fewer than 1,600 votes in a runoff election.

Barr was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994 as a Republican, upsetting six-term Democrat Buddy Darden, to represent Georgia's 7th congressional district in the 104th United States Congress. Barr was one of 73 Republican freshmen ushered into Congress by that election.cite journal |last = Amer |first = Mildred |title = Freshmen in the House of Representatives and Senate by Political Party: 1913-2005 |journal = CRS Report for Congress |pages = 1–6 |publisher = The Library of Congress |date = 2005-06-16 |url = |accessdate = 2008-05-08|format=PDF] The election became known as the "Republican Revolution" because it resulted in the first Republican House majority in 40 years—since the 1955 adjournment of the 83rd Congress.cite news |last = Glass |first = Andrew |title = Congress runs into 'Republican Revolution' Nov. 8, 1994 |publisher = Politico |date = 2007-11-08 |url = |accessdate = 2008-05-27] cite news |last = Lacayo |first = Richard |title = After the Revolution |publisher = Time |date = 1994-11-28 |url =,9171,981869-1,00.html |accessdate = 2008-05-27]

Barr was later reelected three times, serving from 1995 to 2003. While in Congress, Barr served as a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, as Vice-Chairman of the Government Reform Committee, and as a member of the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on Veteran's Affairs.

Georgia's congressional districts were reorganized by the Democratic-controlled Georgia legislature ahead of the 2002 elections for the 108th Congress.cite news |last = Barone |first = Michael |title = Lessons from Rep. Cynthia McKinney's defeat |publisher = U.S. News & World Report |url = |date = 2002-08-29 |accessdate=2008-04-16] As part of the legislature's effort to get more Democrats elected from the state, Barr's district was dismantled even though Georgia gained two districts. He was drawn into the same district as fellow Republican John Linder. The new district was numerically Barr's district--the 7th--but contained most of the territory from Linder's old 11th District. This move profited Democrats by leading to the inevitable defeat of an incumbent Republican (i.e., either Barr or Linder).cite news |last = Shipp |first = Bill |title = Barr vs. Linder: Great Republican train wreck |publisher = Athens Banner-Herald / Online Athens |url = |date = 2002-06-02 |accessdate=2008-04-20] Recognizing Barr's precarious situation, the Libertarian Party seized on the opportunity to oust one of the federal drug war's most vocal proponents (Barr), and ran [ TV ads] criticizing Barr's opposition to medical marijuana.cite press release |title = Medical Marijuana Ads Play Role in Defeat of Barr |publisher = Libertarian Party |date = 2002-08-21 |url = |accessdate = 2008-04-15] Barr was soundly defeated by a 2-to-1 margin. The extent to which the issue of medical marijuana shaped the election is unclear. Some have argued that Barr's huge loss simply reflected the nature of the new 7th district, which was primarily redrawn from Linder's old 11th district. However, before the medical marijuana ads were aired, the Linder campaign acknowledged the race as being tight;cite journal |last = Jansen |first = J. Bradley |year = 2002 |month = August |title = Targeting Bob Barr |journal = Liberty |volume = 16 |issue = 8 |publisher = Liberty Foundation |url = |accessdate = 2008-04-25 ] and Pat Gartland, southeastern director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, saw the race as "too close to call".

Barr's defeat was applauded by many Democrats and Libertarians. Rob Kampia of the Marijuana Policy Project called it "glorious news". [cite press release |title = Medical Marijuana Patients Celebrate: Georgia Rep. Bob Barr Defeated in GOP Primary |publisher = Marijuana Policy Project |date = 2002-08-20 |url = |accessdate = 2008-06-02] Ron Crickenberger, producer of the TV ads, was quick to warn other supporters of the War on Drugs:

However, some individuals within these groups lamented Barr's defeat as a setback for privacy rights, [cite news |first = Declan |last = McCullagh |title = Net privacy loses a voice |url = |publisher = ZDNet News |location = Washington |date = 2002-08-26] and libertarian causes in general. Libertarian J. Bradley Jansen opined:

As of|2008, Barr has not made any additional bids for a congressional seat.

Political positions in Congress

During his tenure, Barr was regarded as one of the most conservative members of Congress.cite news |first = Walker |last = Jesse |authorlink = Jesse Walker |title = Bob Barr, Civil Libertarian. The right wing of the ACLU |url = |publisher = Reason Magazine |date = December 2003 |accessdate = 2008-04-20] In 2002, he was described as "the idol of the gun-toting, abortion-fighting, IRS-hating hard right wing of American politics". However, Barr's criticism of the Bush administration's policies on privacy and other civil liberties after the 9/11 attacks was unusual among House Republicans (see "Criticism of Bush Administration" below). This criticism earned Barr other labels such as "maverick", "Jekyll-and-Hyde",cite news |title = While Reformers Brood, Politicos Make Drug-Terror Connection |url = |work = Drug War Chronicle |publisher = the Drug Reform Coordination Network |date = 2001-09-28 |accessdate = 2008-04-24] and "libertarian".

War on drugs

Barr was originally a strong supporter of the War on Drugs, reflecting his previous experience as an Anti-Drug Coordinator for the United States Department of Justice. While in Congress, he was a member of the Speaker's Task Force for a Drug-Free America. This task force was established in 1998 by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich to "design a World War II-style victory plan to save America's children from illegal drugs."cite press release |title = Speaker's Task Force Focuses on Supply Side Initiatives During "Drug-Free Borders Week" |publisher = U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) |date = 1998-05-13 |url = |accessdate = 2008-04-24] The task force crafted legislation specifically designed to "win the War on Drugs by 2002".Rquote|right|There might be 'legitimate medical uses of marijuana and we ought not have this knee-jerk reaction against it, and people ought to be allowed to explore,' he said.
Bob Barr|April 30 2007 [cite news |title = Bob Barr to Lobby for Marijuana Policy Project |url = |work = Drug War Chronicle |publisher = the Drug Reform Coordination Network |date = 2007-04-30 |accessdate = 2008-06-11]
Barr advocated complete federal prohibition of medical marijuana. In 1998, He successfully blocked implementation of Initiative 59] — the "Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1998" — which would have legalized medical marijuana in Washington, D.C.cite news |first = Steve |last = Twomey |title = On the Hill, Barring Democracy |url = |publisher = Washington Post |page = B01 |date = 1998-11-23 |accessdate = 2008-04-25] The "Barr Amendment" to the 1999 Omnibus spending bill not only blocked implementation of Initiative 59 but prohibited the vote tally from even being released. [cite news |first = Peter |last = Slevin |coauthors = Caryle Murphy |title = Marijuana Vote Results Kept Secret |url = |publisher = Washington Post |page = A37 |date = 1998-11-04 |accessdate = 2008-04-25] Nearly a year passed before a lawsuit] filed by the American Civil Liberties Union eventually revealed the initiative had received 69 percent of the vote. [cite press release |title = DC Medical Marijuana Initiative 59 - Landslide Win |publisher = ACT UP-DC |date = 1999-09-21 |url = |accessdate = 2008-04-25] In response to the judge's ruling,] Barr simply attached another "Barr Amendment" to the 2000 Omnibus spending bill that overturned Initiative 59 outright. [cite web |authorlink = American Civil Liberties Union |title = Democracy Held Hostage |work = ACLU Drug Law Reform Project |publisher = American Civil Liberties Union |date = 2000-12-31 |url = |accessdate = 2008-04-25] The Barr Amendment also prohibited future laws that would "decrease the penalties for marijuana or other Schedule I drugs" in Washington, D.C.cite press release |title = Battle Over Medical Marijuana in D.C. Moves to Appeals Court |publisher = Marijuana Policy Project |url = |accessdate = 2008-05-20] This preemptively blocked future attempts by Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) to reform marijuana laws in DC via the initiative process. In March 2002, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan struck down this portion of the Barr Amendment as being an unconstitutional restriction on free speech. [cite court |litigants = Marijuana Policy Project v. D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics |court = United States District Court for the District of Columbia |date = 2002-03-22 |url=] Barr's response to the ruling was defiant:

The federal government later prevailed on appeal, [cite court |litigants = Marijuana Policy Project v. United States of America |court = United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit |date = 2002-09-19 |url=] reinstating the Barr Amendment just in time to thwart MPP's initiative 63 -- "The Medical Marijuana Initiative of 2002" -- which had already qualified for the November 2002 ballot.cite web |title = D.C. Medical Marijuana Initiative |work = District of Columbia Legislation |publisher = Marijuana Policy Project |url = |accessdate = 2008-05-20] [cite web |title = Timeline of Initiative Events |work = District of Columbia Legislation |publisher = Marijuana Policy Project |url = |accessdate = 2008-05-20] As of|2007, the Barr Amendment remains in effect, and Initiative 63 remains in limbo -- technically ready to appear on the next DC election ballot when and if the Barr Amendment is ever repealed.cite paper |title = State-By-State Medical Marijuana Laws |version = |publisher = Marijuana Policy Project |year = 2007 |url = |format = PDF |accessdate = 2008-05-20]

Barr would later reverse his position on medical marijuana, joining MPP as a lobbyist five years later. In a June 4, 2008 interview with Stephen Colbert on the "Colbert Report", Barr confirmed that he now supports ending marijuana prohibition, as well as the War on Drugs for which he once vehemently fought. [cite web |url = |title = Video:Bob Barr on the Colbert Report |accessdate= 2008-06-05 |work = Barr '08 - Liberty for America |publisher= Barr 2008 Presidential Committee]

ame-sex marriage

Barr took a lead in legislative debate concerning same-sex marriage. He authored and sponsored the Defense of Marriage Act, a law enacted in 1996 which states that only marriages that are between a man and a woman can be federally recognized, and individual states may choose not to recognize a same-sex marriage performed in another state. [ [ The Defense of Marriage Act] PBS] At the 2008 Libertarian National Convention, he apologized for the part of the Defense of Marriage Act which prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. [ [ Bob Barr Nomination Speech] , May 25, 2008, Libertarian National Convention, Denver, Colorado]

He now opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment, contending it is a violation of states' rights. [ [ Testimony of Bob Barr on Senate Judiciary Committee, June 22, 2004] ]


He voted for the first Patriot Act, [ [ Testimony of Bob Barr on Senate Judiciary Committee, September 22, 2004] ] but only after his amendments adding "sunset clauses" were added to the final bill.cite news |last = Vlahos |first = Kelley Beaucar |title = Bob Barr, Unlikely Leader But Possible Third Party Warrior |publisher = |date = 2007-04-18 |url =,2933,266627,00.html |accessdate = 2008-05-20] Barr played a similar role during the debate over Bill Clinton's Comprehensive Anti-terrorism Act of 1995, crafting pro-civil liberties amendments to the original text. [ [ Congressional Record] ] He now publicly regrets his Patriot Act vote. [cite news |url= |title="Bob Barr:Bane of the Right?" |author=Dana Milbank | |date=2006-02-11 |accessdate=2008-04-17]

War in Iraq

In 2002 Barr voted for the Iraq Resolution. [cite web |title = US House Roll Call Vote 455 |work = Thomas |publisher = Library of Congress |date = 2002-10-10 |url = |accessdate = 2008-05-26] He has since called for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, leaving no permanent military bases. A press release from Barr's presidential campaign stated: "The next president should commit to a speedy and complete withdrawal from Iraq, and tell the Iraqi people that the U.S. troops will be going home." [ [ Press Releases: Tell Iraqis No Permanent Bases, Says Bob Barr] , Bob Barr 208 campaign site, June 3, 2008.]

Religious freedom

In Congress, he also controversially proposed that the Pentagon ban the practice of Wicca in the military. [ [ The "Burning Times Award" given to U.S. Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia] ]

Economic freedom

Barr advocates the repeal of the 16th Amendment, which gives the U.S. Congress the power to levy an income tax without apportionment. As an alternative, he proposes a form of consumption tax, such as the FairTax.cite web |url = |title = Issues |accessdate= 2008-05-27 |work = Barr '08 - Liberty for America |publisher= Barr 2008 Presidential Committee]

He also favors drastic reductions in government spending and the elimination of corporate welfare.

Waco Hearings

Barr has been described as one of the few people able to "ask effective questions and make clear points" while questioning government witnesses during the 1995 House Waco siege hearings on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Federal Bureau of Investigation actions against the Branch Davidians in 1993, sponsored by subcomittees of the House Judiciary Committee and Government Reform and Oversight Committee. [Ramesh Ponnuru, [ Hearing impaired - hearings on Whitewater and Waco] , National Review, August 28, 1995.] Barr has written: "The hearing, was a farce: a virtual lovefest, during which members of the Clinton Administration responded to softball questions from their colleagues in the House with superficial answers, and Republican queries were ignored or glossed over with disdain, if not outright contempt." [ [ NSA Kabuki Theatre: Though Same-Party Oversight Led to Weak Hearings on NSA Wiretapping, Some Important Facts Did Come Through] , Bob Barr, February 9, 2006.] Barr called for Congress to reopen investigations, but senior House Republicans refused. [James Bovard, [ The Fires of Waco Are Still Burning] , March, 1998.] In 2003 testimony submitted to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Barr wrote: " [T] here remains time to turn back the constitutional clock and roll back excessive post-9/11 powers before we turn the corner into another Japanese internment or, closer to our own experiences, before we witness a legally sanctioned Ruby Ridge or Waco scenario." [ [ Testimony Submitted to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Post-9/11: Freedoms Preserved or Freedoms Lost] by Bob Barr, 21st Century Liberties Chair for Freedom and Privacy at the American Conservative Union, November 18, 2003.]

Role in Clinton impeachment

Barr is best known for his role as one of the House managers during the Clinton impeachment trial. It was Barr who first introduced a resolution directing Judiciary Committee to inquire into impeachment proceedings [ [ House Resolution 304, 105th Congress] ] —months before the Monica Lewinsky scandal came to light. Foremost among the concerns Barr cited at the time was apparent obstruction of Justice Department investigations into Clinton campaign fundraising from foreign sources, chiefly the People's Republic of China. [ [ Congressman Barr lowers the boom] Insight on the News]

After the Lewinsky scandal came to light, Barr was the first lawmaker in either chamber to call for Clinton's resignation.McCaffrey, Shannon. [ Will Bob Barr be the Ralph Nader of '08?] Associated Press (via CBS News), 2008-06-22.] During debate on the impeachment resolution on the House floor, Barr argued that Clinton's attempt to interfere with Lewinsky's testimony in the Paula Jones case endangered the Constitution. In doing so, Barr said, Clinton violated what Barr called a "fundamental right" of any American citizen--"the unshakable right each one of us has to walk into a courtroom and demand the righting of a wrong." [ [ Congressional Record of Clinton impeachment debate] ]

Controversies over Barr's personal conduct

In 1999, during Clinton's impeachment trial, "Hustler" publisher Larry Flynt offered money to anyone who could provide evidence that a prominent Republican had engaged in an extramarital affair. According to the "American Journalism Review" ["Gatekeepers Without Gates" by Alicia C. Shepard, AJR, March 1999.] investigators for Flynt found that Barr was "guilty of king-size hypocrisy;" the outspoken abortion foe had acquiesced in his then-wife having an abortion in 1983. Investigators also found that Barr invoked a legal privilege during his 1985 divorce proceeding, so he could refuse to answer questions on whether he'd cheated on his second wife with the woman who is now his third." [ "Gail Barr Affidavit">cite web |url= |title=Gatekeepers Without Gates | American Journalism Review]

In the early 1990s, Barr was photographed at a fundraising event licking whipped cream off of a woman. [ [ "Raising the Barr"] "The Economist" 2008-05-29). Retrieved on 2008-06-13.] According to the Washington Post "Two people who observed the act say it wasn't exactly a bosom lick but more like a neckline lick, at the sort of event where business and civic leaders perform dares to raise money. 'Not exactly Mr. Effusive', says Matt Towery, the former chairman of Newt Gingrich's political organization, who observed the brief and awkward licking. 'You can hardly get the guy to smile'". [ [ Bob Barr, the Master of a Curious Universe] , Monday, August 18, 2008; Page C01]

Criticism of Bush Administration

Since leaving Congress in 2003, Barr has become a vocal opponent of the Patriot Act and has stated that he regrets voting for it, claiming that the Bush Administration has used it to further erode due process of law even in matters unrelated to terrorism. He claims that the Clinton administration did much of the same thing.cite news |first = Jesse |last = Walker |authorlink = Jesse Walker |title = Bob Barr, Civil Libertarian. The right wing of the ACLU |url = |publisher = Reason Magazine |date = December 2003 |accessdate = 2008-04-20] In 2005 —the year the Patriot Act was due for renewal — Barr helped found an organization called Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances, a bipartisan group dedicated to eliminating aspects of the Patriot Act that could potentially affect law-abiding citizens rather than terrorists, and to "restore traditional checks and balances on government power so the country can effectively fight terror without sacrificing the rights of innocent Americans, rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution." [ [] ] Barr still serves as the group's chairman.

Barr has been a vocal opponent of President George W. Bush's claim of authorization to wiretap transnational phone calls without individual judicial license. He has said, "What's wrong with it is several-fold. One, it's bad policy for our government to be spying on American citizens through the National Security Agency. Secondly, it's bad to be spying on Americans without court oversight. And thirdly, it's bad to be spying on Americans apparently in violation of federal laws against doing it without court order."Cite web |url= |title=Transcript of Wolf Blitzer's "The Situation Room" from December 16, 2005 |publisher=CNN |date=2005-12-16 |accessdate=2008-09-12]

In 2006, he debated the architect of the Patriot Act, Viet Dinh, on terrorism and privacy issues. [ cite news | last = Milbank |first = Dana |title = Bob Barr, Bane of the Right? |pages = A02 |publisher = Washington Post |date = 2006-02-11 |url = |accessdate = 2007-05-26 ]

Departure from Republican Party

In the 2004 presidential election, Barr abandoned the Republican Party and publicly endorsedcite web
title=Across the Divide; Bob Barr supports Badnarik for President. October 28 2004
] the Libertarian Party presidential nominee Michael Badnarik.cite web |url=
title=An agonizing choice, October 10 2004 |publisher="Creative Loafing Atlanta" |accessdate=2008-05-01

Political associations

Barr sat on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association from 2001 to 2007. [NRA 2007 Official Ballot, up for re-election of a three year term]

More recently, Barr has become a prominent member of the American Civil Liberties Union, sometimes doing paid consulting on privacy issues. [ [ ACLU Announces Collaboration With Rep. Bob Barr; Says Conservative Congressman Will Consult on Privacy Issues] ]

Barr is a commentator on political and social issues and is chairman of the American Conservative Union Foundation's '21st Century Center for Privacy and Freedom'. [ [ Future of Freedom Foundation:Restoring the Republic:Foreign Policy & Civil Liberties/Speakers:Bob Barr] , Accessed 05 - 13 - 2008]

In January 2006, to emphasize the bipartisan nature of the event, Barr planned on introducing Al Gore at a speech co-sponsored by the Liberty Coalition and the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy to address what they called the "NSA Spying Scandal", in which Gore compared warrantless wiretapping to the FBI's surveillance of Martin Luther King, Jr. [cite web |url = |title = In Martin Luther King Day address, Gore compares wiretapping of Americans to surveillance of King |accessdate = 2008-06-17 |date = 2006-01-16 |publisher =]

Libertarian Party

On December 12, 2006, Barr became a regional representative on the Libertarian National Committee, representing the Party's Southeast Region. Barr said: "I'm happy to announce that I am now a proud, card-carrying Libertarian who is committed to helping elect leaders who will strive for smaller government, lower taxes and abundant individual freedom."

Marijuana Policy Project

In Congress, Barr's strong stance against medical marijuana put him at odds with marijuana policy reformers such as the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). Despite this historic antagonism, in March 2007, Barr reversed his stance on medical marijuanacite news |last = Frates |first = Chris |title = Bob Barr Flip-Flops on Pot |publisher = Politico |date = 2007-03-28 |url = |accessdate = 2008-05-19] and began lobbying on behalf of MPP.cite news |last = Evans |first = Ben |title = Former Georgia Rep. Lobbies for Marijuana Group |publisher = Associated Press |date = 2007-03-30 |url = |accessdate = 2008-05-19] cite news |last = Newmyer |first = Tory |coauthors = Kate Ackley, Roll Call Staff |title = Up in Smoke |publisher = Roll Call |date = 2007-03-28 |url = |accessdate = 2008-05-19] This new partnership saw Barr working to repeal his very own "Barr Amendment"cite news |first = Valerie |last = Richardson |title = Marijuana project parties with Barr |url = |publisher = The Washington Times |date = 2008-05-23 |accessdate = 2008-05-26] — the amendment that overturned a voter-approved medical marijuana initiative in Washington, D.C. and prohibits consideration of similar initiatives.cite paper |title = State-By-State Medical Marijuana Laws |version = |publisher = Marijuana Policy Project |year = 2007 |url = |format = PDF |accessdate = 2008-05-20]

Barr has been careful to note that he isn't pro-drug, but rather against government intrusion. In interviews he has expressed the nuanced position of simultaneously opposing legalization, yet advocating the federalist ideals of State legislation and enforcement over Federal control.cite episode |title = Bob Barr |series = Hannity & Colmes |serieslink = Hannity & Colmes |airdate = 2008-04-10 |transcripturl=] [For example, see Federalist No. 45.]

Barr's reversal on drug policy surprised many, particularly MPP. His new-found appreciation for harm reduction was heartily welcomed:

American Freedom Agenda

Barr is one of the four founders of the American Freedom Agenda, which is described as "a coalition established to restore checks and balances and civil liberties protections under assault by the executive branch." The American Freedom Agenda has established a 10-point Freedom Pledge for presidential candidates to confirm their commitment to civil liberties.Charlie Savage: [ Disaffected conservatives set a litmus test for '08] . In Boston Globe, June 12, 2007.] He is also a member of the Constitution Project's bipartisan Liberty and Security Committee. [ [ Liberty And Security Initiative:Members] ,]

Other activities

In early 2008, Barr became an adjunct professor at Kennesaw State University and was scheduled to teach a course on privacy rights titled "Privacy and Public Policy in 21st Century Business and Society." [ [ "Former Congressman Bob Barr joins KSU as adjunct professor"] , January 10, 2008]

Barr appeared in the mock documentary "Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan". He met with "Borat" (portrayed by Sacha Baron Cohen) in the United States Capitol where he was given cheese that Borat described as being made from his wife's breast milk. [Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan Sequence 0:23:30 to 0:24:00]

Barr endorsed the Free State Project on July 22, 2008 saying, "I think it's tremendous!" [cite web |url= |title=Bob Barr on the Free State Project |accessdate=2008-09-01 |work= |publisher=YouTube |date=July 22, 2008 ] [cite web |url= |title=Bob Barr's endorsement of the Free State Project |accessdate=2008-09-01 |work= |publisher= |date=July 22, 2008 ]

Publications and commentary

Barr authored the 2004 book "The Meaning of Is: The Squandered Impeachment and Wasted Legacy of William Jefferson Clinton" (ISBN 978-0974537627).

He briefly wrote a regular column for "Creative Loafing Atlanta", an alternative weekly newspaper serving the Atlanta, Georgia, metropolitan area.cite web |url= |title=Creative Loafing Atlanta Archives, Bob Barr
] In 2008, in his column "The Barr Code", he lambasted the new policy of Boston police of allowing warrantless search for firearms in teenagers' homes. [ Barr, Bob. [ Boston police jump gun with ‘Safe Homes’] . February 27, 2008.]

Barr hosted a political talk radio show on Radio America called "Bob Barr's Laws of the Universe". [ [ Bob Barr Biography] ,] He has stated that he plans to write a book with that title. [Copeland, Libby (2008-08-18) [ "Bob Barr, the Master of a Curious Universe"] , Washington Retrieved on 2008-09-11]

In August 2008, Barr criticized the United States' response to the conflict between Russia and Georgia as being too emotional and not based on legitimate American national security concerns. He wrote: "The most important American interest is defending America; and intervening on behalf of Georgia against Russia has nothing to do with defending America." [ [ BARR: No war for Georgia] Washington Times August 21, 2008]

2008 presidential campaign

In early 2008, rumors circulated that Barr was considering a presidential run under the Libertarian Party banner. Activists began a Facebook group dedicated to drafting Barr into the nomination contest,cite news |last = Hallow |first = Ralph |title = Libertarians seek Barr candidacy |publisher = The Washington Times |date = 2008-03-20 |url = |accessdate = 2008-05-18] and Barr later confirmed his interest.cite news |url= |title=Bob Barr thinking ‘very serious’ thoughts about a presidential race, Iraq, and torture |publisher=Atlanta Journal Constitution |date=2008-03-26] He launched a presidential exploratory committee and campaign websiteCite web |url= |title=Bob Barr 2008 campaign site |publisher=Bob Barr] on April 5,cite news |url= |title=The Weekend Political Thread: Bob Barr Edition |publisher=Reason Magazine |date=2008-04-05] and formally announced his candidacycite news |url= |title=Former Republican announces plans to run as Libertarian candidate |publisher=Fox News |date=2008-05-12] for the Libertarian nomination on May 12. [cite news |url= |title=Barr announces Libertarian White House bid |publisher=MSNBC |date=2008-05-12] His announcement came a mere ten days before the start of the Libertarian Party Convention, where delegates select the presidential candidate.cite web |url= |title=2008 Libertarian National Convention Guide |accessdate=2008-05-18]

Following his announcement, Rasmussen Reports had Barr polling at 6% nationwide against Barack Obama (42%), John McCain (38%), and Ralph Nader (4%).cite web |url= |title= Will Third Party Candidates Tip the Presidential Race? |accessdate= 2008-05-23 |date= 2008-05-18 |publisher= Rasmussen Reports] The study identified Barr as the Libertarian candidate, but most voters said they didn't know enough about him to have an opinion of him personally. Barr's support in the poll was a net drain on Republicans; he picked up 7% of the Republican vote, 5% of the Democratic vote, and 5% of the unaffiliated vote.

On May 25, 2008 Barr became the 2008 Libertarian presidential nominee after six rounds of voting at the 2008 Libertarian convention. He beat Mary Ruwart in the final round of voting, with 324 delegates to Ruwart's 276, with 26 none of the above votes. [cite web |url= |title=Presidential and VP Vote Totals - Updated Live! | |date=2008-05-25 |accessdate=2008-05-25] Barr had received the endorsement of Wayne Allyn Root, one of his rivals for the nomination, after Root was eliminated following the fifth round of balloting. Barr, in turn, endorsed Root for the party's vice presidential nomination, which he received.

On June 4, 2008, Barr invited the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee, John McCain, and the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to weekly presidential debates through an official press release. [ [ Bob Barr Welcomes Election Contest With Barack Obama and John McCain - Urges Weekly Debates] Yahoo News]

Many opinion leaders are predicting that Barr could siphon off conservative votes that would otherwise go to McCain. John Linder, who defeated Barr for the Republican nomination in a 2002 congressional race, said that Barr could cause serious problems for McCain in some states. [cite web |url = |title = Won't You Be My Nader? |accessdate = 2008-07-18 |last = Weigel |first = David |date = 2008-06-23 |publisher =] Barr has repeatedly rejected this assertion as scapegoating, responding that small-government Republicans would not vote for McCain anyway, nor would civil libertarians vote for Obama. [ [ CBN News] Bob Barr to Brody File: McCain is a "Big Government Republican" July 8, 2008]

Barr is expected to be on the ballot in at least 47 states. In July, he filed a lawsuit against
Oklahoma for its unusually restrictive ballot access laws, [cite web |url = |title = Barr Files Ballot Access Lawsuit Against Oklahoma |accessdate = 2008-07-18 |last = Winger |first = Richard |date = 2008-07-17 |publisher = Ballot Access News] which he contends are contrary to the First Amendment right to petition one's government for a redress of grievances. [cite news |title = Libertarian Presidential Candidate Will File Lawsuit Against Oklahoma |url = |publisher = |date = 2008-07-15 |accessdate = 2008-07-18 ] In July, a Zogby poll had Barr receiving 6% of the vote nationwide, as well as double digits in several states. [ [ Zogby International Poll] ]

A Zogby poll released on August 15, 2008 indicated that most Republican and Democratic voters want Barr to be included in the presidential debates. The poll also indicated that almost 70% of independent voters would like to see him included. [ [ Zogby Poll: Majority Want Libertarian Bob Barr Included in Presidential Debates] ,]

On September 17, 2008 Barr filed suit in Texas to remove both McCain and Obama from the ballot. Both political parties failed to file their nominees by the deadline. [ [] , Bob Barr Files Suit in Texas to Remove McCain, Obama from Ballot] On September, 23, 2008 the Texas Supreme Court rejected the request without giving a reason for its decision. [(2008-09-23) [ "Texas Supreme Court rejects Barr request"] , Dallas]

Among his campaign positions, Barr has distinguished himself strongly from Obama and McCain by opposing the financial bailout bill. [Barr, Bob (2008-10-02) [ No more government guarantees: "Solutions to the bailout's lessons learned"] , Washington Retrieved on 2008-10-02]


External links

* [ Liberty Strategies] Barr's consulting firm

;Presidential campaign
* [ Official 2008 Presidential Campaign website]
* [ Campaign page at YouTube]
* [ Candidate profile] at Project Vote Smart
* [ Issue positions and quotes] at
* [ Campaign contributions] of The Bob Barr Leadership Fund from the FEC
* [ Bob Barr, "Why I Want to be President"] at
* [ Presidential campaign FEC disclosure report]

* [ Barr interviewed on Fox News]
* [ Video interview/discussion] with Jane Hamsher on


* [ The Barr Code] archives of his columns from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (2008)
* [ Bob Barr] column archives at the American Conservative Union (2003-2007)
* [ Bob Barr's blog] at The Huffington Post (2005-2006)
* [ The FBI's Pre-Emptive Interrogations Of "Possible" Demonstrators] — Article by Barr on FindLaw, August 25, 2004

NAME= Barr, Bob
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Barr, Robert Laurence, Jr.
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Republican and Libertarian politician
DATE OF BIRTH= 1948-11-5
PLACE OF BIRTH= Washington, D.C.

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