Robert Stacy McCain reports from a Bob Barr press conference on Iran.

There was something of a left-right convergence on Capitol Hill today. Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr and former Reagan administration official Doug Bandow were among the featured speakers today at a press conference urging U.S. diplomatic engagement with Iran.

The three-hour long event sponsored by the Campaign for a New American Policy on Iran also featured two California Democrats, Rep. Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey, as well as an appearance by a gaggle of Code Pink peace activists. [ed - has no one invented a spray to keep them away?]

"Instead of talking about war, the U.S. government should talk to Iran," Barr said. "At the same time, Congress must reassert its constitutional authority and not give the president another blank check to wage another costly war."

From Barr's campaign:

“Neither Sen. McCain nor Sen. Obama can be trusted to keep the peace,” says Barr.

The potential consequences of war, Barr explains, “include attacks on our troops stationed in Iraq, threats to the Gulf oil trade, terrorist attacks around the world, subversion of friendly Arab and Muslim governments, destruction of the democracy movement within Iran, and enduring hostility towards America throughout much of the world.” To risk paying such a price without attempting to deal directly with the Iranian regime “would be counterproductive, costly, and dangerous. Even as our hand-picked and supported Prime Minister Maliki in Iraq talks with Iranian leaders, and even as the Olmert government in Israel talks with the Assad regime in Syria, the Bush Administration refuses to engage one of the largest and most important countries in that part of the world – Iran. This makes no sense.”

Moreover, notes Barr, a former House member, “the power to declare war on Iran lies with the Congress, not the president.” Unfortunately, presidents have routinely abused their role as commander-in-chief of the military. “The president is to direct any war, but the Constitution vests the power to decide if there will be a war in the legislative branch,” emphasizes Barr.

Meanwhile, Independent Political Report asks where Wayne Allyn Root is. Not on the campaign site, at any rate.