Now Playing at Reason.tv: Bob Barr's Closing Statement from the First Presidential Debate; Plus Q&A!


On Friday, September 26 at Reason Magazine's Washington DC Headquarters, Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr participated in the presidential debates with a live studio audience. Here, he makes his closing statement and fields questions from the audience; the moderator is reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch.

The whole video will be posted soon here, YouTube, and reason.tv.

For a slideshow of the scene at Reason's DC HQ, go to St. John Photographics. Sample image below.


Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Mike||

    Now I have seen into Bob Barr's nose. And my opinion of the man has changed not one bit.

  • ||

    Oh, I should be disappointed in Ron Paul for endorsing Baldwin? Fuck you, Bob. You're the one who leaned on him to endorse someone, and you assumed you were the only choice. Sometimes, being a pushy SOB isn't a winning strategy.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Disappointed in Dr.Paul? Dr.Paul didn't go back on his word, Dr.Paul is actually working to change the focus from the Access Hollywood version of the Presidential campaigns we have now, Dr. Paul didn't change his party affiliation at the last minute.

    If Libertarians are buying into you, I say, let the buyer beware, Mr.Barr.

    A CIA man running as a Libertarian? Something smells.

  • ||

    Barr didn't "change his party at the last minute", he endorsed Badnarik in 2004 and officially switched parties in 2006.

    There are plenty of legitimate complaints to be made about Barr and the way he's run his campaign, and I agree with a lot of them, but the fact that he used to work for the CIA isn't really one of them.

  • ||

    While I think Bob Barr erred in the unfortunate little dustup with RP, I do think that Paul seriously called his own libertarian credentials into question by endorsing Baldwin the theocrat. I voted for Paul for President in the 1980s and supported his run for the GOP nod this year, because he has shown on many occasions his commitment to a healthy separation of church and State, even while being honest about his own religious convictions. I don't care about an officeholder's religion if he or she is principled enough to abide by Church/State separation. But Baldwin and the Constitution Party are formally pledged to bringing our government back to its "biblical foundations":

    "The Constitution Party gratefully acknowledges the blessing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as Creator, Preserver and Ruler of the Universe and of these United States. We hereby appeal to Him for mercy, aid, comfort, guidance and the protection of His Providence as we work to restore and preserve these United States.

    "This great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been and are afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.

    "The goal of the Constitution Party is to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries."

    -excerpt from Constitution Party Official Platform (http://www.constitutionparty.com/party_platform.php)

    If anyone openly advocated for reforming our system to conform to the foundations provided by any other religion, people would be outraged. What if, for example, RP had endorsed a candidate who were dedicated to establishing Sharia law here? How long would it be before he would be denounced as a "traitor" -- to the libertarian movement if not the entire United States -- by the very people who now applaud his endorsement of Baldwin? But by the same token, how can Paul, who has publicly avoided showing undue favor to Christianity or any other religion in his official acts, endorse someone who is not nearly as restrained in that area? Appearing on a podium with Chuck Baldwin (and Ralph Nader, and Cynthia McKinney, and in a more sensible parallel universe, Bob Barr) doesn't impugn Paul's credibility as a Libertarian. But actually endorsing an avowed theocrat does. As much as I admire and thank Dr. Paul for his work to promote American liberty, I, too, am disappointed in him for this endorsement.

  • ||

    You are incorrect about Chuck Baldwin. Just because he has religious overtones in his speaches doesn't mean he doesn't support the separtation of church and state. He has actually addressed this and reassured libertarians that he would support freedom of religion.

  • ||

    James-

    More or less my view exactly.

    Barr has been woefully incompetent, and at times I think him or at least his campaign staff has been downright malicious, but at the end of the day he is still the only candidate talking a (albeit moderate-right) libertarian message. And while it's been shown that Barr either doesn't want or can't deliver it, the promise that secured him the nomination is still fundamentally sound- the LP should be the vehicle for a broad libertarian coalition, not just the radical fringe of the movement.

    Sadly, at this point I'd be shocked if the radical faction doesn't regain control of the party at the 2010 convention. Barr/Root/Redpath/Verney/Cory, etc. have seriously shot themselves in the foot so many times there's no way they will (or should) keep de facto control over the national LP.

  • ||

    All of the above being said, however, I think Barr-the-politician blew it last night. The "Paul question" gave him an opportunity to be gracious and offer an olive branch to the many who view a diss of Paul as a personal diss of THEM! Instead, he kicked Paul AND them in the teeth, fairly begging for the rebuke that he got from John C. Randolph, above.

    I don't think we have to worry overmuch about Barr being ex-CIA. He can't have been among their top guys with as little grasp of political finesse as he seems to be showing in his handling of the Paul press-conference & endorsement issue. I can see that he is intelligent and scrappy, and even on occasion mischevious. I further think that -- after his post-Congress conversion to libertarianism, anyway -- he is mostly correct on the issues. So I can vote for him in good conscience in November. But he doesn't seem to be the smooth schemer that we would expect of an ex-CIA guy, unless he is a better actor than Ronald Reagan ever dreamed of being. Frankly, I am comforted by that. At least with President Barr, David Letterman would have a lot less raw material for his "Great Moments in Presidential Speeches" segment. I used to laugh at those things; now, they just depress me. It's all fun and games until somebody loses a country.

  • Darby||

    James Anderson Merritt wrote:

    ...I do think that Paul seriously called his own libertarian credentials into question by endorsing Baldwin the theocrat.

    Amen! Maybe it would have been more "political" to kowtow to Paul, maybe more classy, maybe smarter....but there is no excuse for endorsing Baldwin.

    NO to Baldwin and his supporters!

    Paul's not a player for liberty anymore. Now he's merely an historical footnote.

  • james_joyce||

    Darby, although I'm disappointed in Paul's endorsement, I think you're way overstating the case.

    Paul just barely endorsed Baldwin. He mentioned it in an offhand way as the very last sentence of his letter. No gushing prose about how great his positions are, no justification as to why he did it. It was clearly done simply to let people know who he's voting for with no suggestions for others, and he clearly wouldn't have done it at all if not pushed.

    I frankly think they both need to get over themselves. They're really acting like children.

    Barr should have attended the press conference, shouldn't be so narrow minded that he can't see the benefit of a coalition of 3rd parties regardless of their priniples, and should apologize now and cooperate with that coalition and with Paul. He should recognize that it's not politically wise for Paul to endorse someone, and that the press conference wasn't about endorsement at all.

    Paul should've stayed neutral and never should've written that letter to be as caustic toward Barr as it was. Take Lew Rockwell's economics and policy advice, but don't fall into his trap of belittling and mocking everyone who disagrees with you on any issue, and don't let the pig-headed actions of a politician ruin a potentially important movement.

    I think this calls for a Parent-Trap-like intervention, who's up for it?

  • ||

    I'm alarmed that Barr asserted the need to have the most advanced and strongest military, and that he would maintain facilities and personnel overseas.

  • ||

    "I'm alarmed that Barr asserted the need to have the most advanced and strongest military, and that he would maintain facilities and personnel overseas."

    errr? how can one defend the country effectively without those things?

  • ||

    Why do we need overseas military personnel and facilities (permanent bases) to defend our continent-spanning country effectively?

    Why should our navy be patrolling the Seven Seas to defend our country effectively?

    I understand the need for war games and drills, and certainly we would need temporary overseas bases in wartime if taking the war to a particular enemy that attacked us -- "bases" including carriers and other ships on the oceans. But unless we are actually at war, why maintain the overseas bases and permanently assigned carriers, etc.? I'm not asking for the usual smoke-and-mirrors handwaving explanation, or the mother, god and country handwaving explanation, but the actual, defensible reason to project imperial power around the globe, at tremendous cost to the people and with the tremendous, often-confirmed potential for blowback?

  • ||

    ":Paul should've stayed neutral and never should've written that letter to be as caustic toward Barr as it was. "

    Are you kidding? Paul had the kid gloves on, and he should have bitch-slapped Barr back to wherever the hell he came from.

    The LP got a very hard lesson this time, and the lesson is "don't pick a Name Brand Politician instead of a man of principle as your candidate". If the LP had picked Steve Kubby, they'd be getting my vote, and probably most of the Campaign For Liberty members, too.

    -jcr

  • ||

    "how can one defend the country effectively without those things?"

    Seems like you're a bit unclear on the definition of "defense".

    -jcr

  • ||

    he doesn't seem to be the smooth schemer that we would expect of an ex-CIA guy,

    Any Department of State, Defense Intelligence Agency, FBI, or NSA employee would probably tell you that CIA isn't noted for being smooth-talking diplomats.

    -jcr

  • Michael||

    The more I hear Barr the more I like Baldwin better - though they'd both be better than either main candidates.

  • ||

    # John C. Randolph | September 28, 2008, 3:39am | #

    ## he doesn't seem to be the smooth schemer
    ## that we would expect of an ex-CIA guy,

    # Any Department of State, Defense
    # Intelligence Agency, FBI, or NSA employee
    # would probably tell you that CIA isn't
    # noted for being smooth-talking diplomats.

    Now did I say he was (or might have been expected to be) a smooth-talking DIPLOMAT? No, I said "smooth schemer," which is a different thing entirely. Schemers are smooth when they keep their eyes on the prize and orient all actions, statements, and even facial tics toward that end: consummate actors, con-men, or poker players for example. Not to say that diplomats cannot be one or all of those things, but there's a substantial difference in nuance connoted by "diplomat," which I did not intend.

  • nonPaulogist||

    Barr seems to be a little late to the Libertarian game to be giving advice to Dr. Paul. Barr's voting record does not give him near the credibility that Paul has.

    Paul IS the godfather of the movement and Bobby damn well better kiss the ring or he's going to find himself leading nobody but cosmotards.

  • zoltan||

    Bob Barr--hated by cosmotarians for his drug warrioring, war mongering, and gay hating--will "find himself leading nobody but cosmotards." Excellent conclusion.

  • ||

    Barr the Libertarian, supporter of the drug war, capital punishment, abortion laws, and numerous other such measures. Oh, I forgot, he changed his mind a couple months ago and now is a true Libertarian. Sorry, he is every bit as dishonest and self serving as the others. What a pity that we have no choice this time.

  • Temujin||

    I think it's quite clear that Barr has changed his mind. Is this a bad thing? Do people like Ed plan on rejecting and belittling every person who becomes libertarian? Great way to grow the movement!

    They've both been stupid about this. Paul should have endorsed Barr, and certainly shouldn't have endorsed Baldwin. But Barr shouldn't have pushed Paul, and when Paul endorsed Baldwin, Barr should have been gracious. Bad form and bad politics all around, and both of these fine men need to get past themselves and remember the ideas are bigger than them.

  • ||

    Bob Barr was in the CIA out of college and then suprise surprise was hired by Bush, also ex CIA, as an Assistant Attny General for Georgia.

    He worked as the Assist AG for Bush from 1985 until 1990 and then ran for congress with Bush's support and won, where he voted for the Patriot act and for the IRaq war.

    So, he has always been a neocon with the Bush's mafia cabal. I still gave him the benefit of a doubt until he slandered Ron Paul rather than deal with him privately if he had an issue. AT the same time his campaign manager said that "Bush exhibited great leadership at ground zero of the 9-11 attack".... that is when I knew this puppy was owned. I wanted to vote libertarian, but with that I couldn't... so now I am voting for Baldwin.

    I think he did what he did to Ron Paul because he couldn't pressure Ron into endorsing him at the press conference. He is slime.

  • ||

    Paul should have endorsed Barr. When Paul asked Barr to vote for the Patriot Act he did and Barr has been catching hell ever since.

  • Hacha Cha||

    "They ought to be disappointed in Ron Paul. Endorsing a theocratic candidate ["constitution" party candidate Chucky Baldwin] makes little sense whatsoever. What we're trying to do is what we hoped Ron Paul would have done, which is to provide true focused leadership.
    " -Bob Barr, 2008 Libertarian Party candidate

    Ron Paul has basically given a defacto endorsement to the theocratic "constitution" party candidate Chuck Baldwin. I think for anyone who actually believed in Paul's platform or in libertarian ideas in general should vote for the libertarian party, if only to give the party more numbers.
    The "constitution" party reads like the libertarian party, EXCEPT, they are still drug warriors, they say there can be no debate on abortion, and their charter names the lord, even actually states Jesus Christ, jesus christ!

    The Constitution Party gratefully acknowledges the blessing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as Creator, Preserver and Ruler of the Universe and of these United States.

    So unless you are fortunate enough to live in Louisiana where there will be the option to vote for a Ron Paul / Barry Goldwater Jr under the party the Louisiana Taxpayers Party, or if he should appear on any other ballot as a pre-approved choice, you should vote for BOB BARR THE LIBERTARIAN CANDIDATE, NOT RON PAUL'S BUDDY CHUCK "THEOCRACY" BALDWIN.

    REMEMBER: The libertarian party has for over a year been trying to GIVE Ron Paul the nomination. Even after the republican primaries he had ample time to accept the presidential (and as recent as a few weeks ago) the vice presidential candidacy of the libertarian party which has the third largest base and should have ballot access in 47-49 states.

    RON PAUL BLEW IT.
    HE CLAIMED TO BE GIVING US CHOICE AND SPREADING "HIS" MESSAGE but now Ron Paul is saying,
    "It is not against the law to participate in more then one political party. Chuck Baldwin has been a friend and was an active supporter in the presidential campaign….


    I've thought about the unsolicited advice from the Libertarian Party candidate, and he has convinced me to reject my neutral stance in the November election. I'm supporting Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate.
    "

    Even though I personally do not trust Bob Barr and have zero faith in him, he had the potential to bring the votes and funds in IF the Paul had pushed his influence in the right direction. Instead Paul wasted his time pulling a bullshit press conference that was 50% Ralph Nader mental masturbation and in the end, ended up endorsing a candidate and party whose platform is THEOCRATIC just because Bob Barr wasn't into the whole, "any 3rd party vote is a vote for change" BS. I still totally believe in what he TRIED to do, but in the end it seems this revolution may have accomplished NOTHING for giving America a real choice on the ballot in a year we absolutely need more than McBama and O'Cain.

  • Hacha Cha||

    any typos, grammatical mishaps, and rants may be excused on the fact I haven't slept in like 80 hours and I'm still pushing on.
    -The Hacha Cha

  • ||

    Ron Paul is endorsing a person, Chuck Baldwin, that on his campaign website has the Baldwin/Castle doctrine which states that their will be no foreign ownership of anything in the US. Additionally, he is proposing raising the tariff levels on imports so that the cost of imports will be equal to the cost of manufacturing a product in the US. Both of these ideas are not free market and are not libertarian.

    That is why in no shape or form could I ever vote for Chuck Baldwin.

  • ||

    Yeah, I can't seriously consider voting for Baldwin, RP's endorsement notwithstanding. Although I could write-in Ron Paul in my state (NJ) even Paul doesn't think it a worthwhile thing to do.

    I can not bring myself to vote for McCain or Obama given their statist ideologies, willingness to preemptively bomb other nations, and economic no-nothingism.

    So that leaves Barr. I agree with him about RP's lack of leadership in having that press conference with Nader and McKinney and the implication that voting for one of them was as good as a vote for Baldwin or Barr. Because it simply isn't. Sure, I want to see the stranglehold the Dems and Repubs have on our system broken. But we have to be FOR something. Not just "change". But change in the right direction, which we all understand.

    Yeah, I have some doubts about Barr. But when compared to all the other alternatives....

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  • ||

    Bob Barr is not ideal Libertarian candidate. At best he's moderately libertarian but at least is not running for Pastor-in-Chief like Chuck Baldwin. The Constitution Party's platform reeks of social intolerance. I will hold my nose and cast my vote for Barr. I just hope next time around the LP will choose a principled Libertarian nominee for president.

  • Mark Bahner||

    "We should attack people who attack us. Al Qaeda clearly attacked us."

    Oy vey. Nobody seems to understand the fundamental difference between a private terrorist group and a government.

    Al Qaeda arguably had "bases" in Germany. (And in the U.S., for that matter!) Does that mean that the military should attack their "bases"?

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