Bob Barr Live Blog Thread


Tonight, as a nation watches Barack Obama and John McCain duke it out in Oxford, Mississippi, we here at reason will be breaking new techno-political ground by having a third-party candidate, the Libertarian Party's Bob Barr, participate remotely in a debate whose ground rules are controlled by and for the country's two major (and majorly boring) political parties.

To watch live streaming of Barr's running commentary and a post-debate Q&A session, click here, beginning at 8:55 p.m. EDT (or look now for a revolving loop of reason.tv videos and clips of Bob Barr interviews).

For a quick and dirty running transcription of Barr's remarks, keep hitting the "refresh" button on this here blog post. In addition, we will have various blog commentary about the debate on the page above you as the evening progresses.

Thanks for watching/reading, and donate today to reason's first-ever webathon!

Also: If you have a follow-up question for Barr, please leave it here in the comments, and we'll be sure to ask at least one.

Special thanks to Mike Riggs for transcribing this for us.

8:55- [Bob Barr enters room, crowd goes wild]

8:56- [Matt Welch introduces event, makes unfunny joke: "Welcome to reason, the magazine of free minds and what used to be free markets."

9:01- [Bob Barr makes opening remarks, jokes that neither party can get anything started on time.]

9:03- Bob Barr: The latest problems that we're facing in the economy will come up in some way in the program this evening. Let's take a few minutes to listen in as the candidates start up.

9:04- Bob Barr: [Moderator asks the candidates positions on economy] Who said I was not prescient? Let's take a listen.

9:05- Bob Barr: They're going to protect tax payers by taking a trillion dollars of tax payer money. That's Washington. I'd like to see a show of hands of everyone who thinks they're going to get their money back.

9:06- Bob Barr: Typical class envy. Their solution is that they're going to take more and more from everybody. 

9:07- Bob Barr: [Response to McCain] Danger sign! Republicans and Democrats getting together and deciding how to take another trillion dollars from us in addition to the 3.1 trillion they're taking for the budget, to me, is not a good sign.

9:08- Bob Barr: [Response to McCain's opening remarks] What he's doing, of course, is one of the old debating tricks. You bring in something that is utterly and completely irrelevant, that is the energy crisis, and you throw it on the table as en effort to find something everybody agrees with, even though it's irrelevant. The bailout plan, anyway you slice it, is a bad idea for America. 

9:10- Bob Barr: [Response to Obama's response on would he vote for the plan] The only one of the major party candidates to not vote for the plan is Bob Barr.

9:11- Bob Barr: [Response to McCain's "corruption" remarks.] Where is the DOJ? It is the one branch of government that has a legitimate purpose and a system and a way to protect the peoples' resources and rights.

9:14- Bob Barr: [Response to McCain] Typical Washington. He's saying that the best way to help that worker is to take that worker's money and create more regulation.

9:15- Bob Barr: He speaks out against $17 billion in earmarks, and then votes for a trillion-dollar buyout.

9:16- Bob Barr: You can do away with every one of those earmarks and still have spending problems. They end up in an appropriations bill, where you have no idea where the money is going! McCain likes to be a spending hawk, but it's not true.

9:18- Bob Barr: What Sen. Obama is talking about has nothing to do with shrinking the size of government.

9:19- Bob Barr: [Responding to McCain saying, "I didn't win Ms. Congeniality in the Senate"] He's right about that.

9:20- Bob Barr: [Responding to McCain on spending and business tax cuts] I don't know if it would fix our problem, but cutting the rate of taxation on capital gains back to zero is a damn good idea.

9:23- Bob Barr: [Responding to Obama's criticism about low taxes for rich people/big business] What's the problem?

9:24- Bob Barr: [Responding to Obama criticizing the market] We have taxed ourselves so much, so far from the idea that the market is the forum for these things, that they can now make fun of the idea of an open market.

9:26 Bob Barr: [Responding to McCain's proposal for a dual tax code] Did he almost mention the word cap and trade? He might have caught himself. Sen. McCain is a great proponent of cap & trade, which would leavy another trillion dollars in income for the government.

9:27- Bob Barr: [Responding to Obama and what he'll have to give up to accomplish his agenda] Tax revenues are slowing down, so their solution is to bail out businesses to a trillion dollars, that taxpayers will have to pay for, which wil lead to even slower taxes, to…whatever? But I don't think they'll follow it there.

9:28- Bob Barr: [Responding to Obama and the Chinese space walk] He's talking about all these things that are going to spend more.

9:29- Bob Barr: [Responding to McCain on cutting spending, post-bailout budget, plus-cost contracts] Actually, the federal entitlement programs far outstrip the defense budget.  

9:32- Bob Barr: [Responding to Obama investing in alt. energy] He has to be careful, or else he'll get all the environmental wackos mad at him. He's coming awfully close. He has to be careful here.   

9:33- Bob Barr: [Responding to moderator saying Obama or McCain will be president come Jan.] WHOA!

9:34- Bob Barr: These people are hardwired for largesse. They cannot bring themselves to talk about really cutting anything. They'll do it general, but when it comes to specifics, they can't do it, either one of them.

9:35- Bob Barr: [Responding to McCain on spending] Somebody should have given the moderator the national taxpayer union figures. The program analyzed statements each of the three of us made. Sen. Obama was the biggest spender, Sen. McCain was right about that, Sen. McCain is not that far behind, I think somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 Billion in new spending.

9:38- Bob Barr: [Responding to McCain] Didn't he oppose then support the president? Isn't that what they accuses [John] Kerry of doing? 

9:40- Bob Barr: [Responding to McCain on staying and learning in Iraq] None of these folks want to address the underlying issue. The underlying issue is not, "Did the surge work or not?" We'd be in real bad shape if it didn't. Neither of them is addressing what we're doing there in the first place, and whether or not its consistent with our notion of defense or our history. Notice Sen. McCain did not say when the troops would be coming home. He's joked about hundred years, but he hasn't spoken to a specific issue.

9:44- Bob Barr: [Responding to Obama vs. McCain on Iraq] Bob Barr!

9:47- Bob Barr: [Responding to time table argument] Is there a rule in the Constitution that once we commit troops, Congress cannot exercise its authority to bring them home? This is one of the false notions we see played over and over and over again.

9:49- Bob Barr: [Responding to Bin Laden] Is Bin Laden in Afghanistan? I don't think so. We had an opportunity years ago, when he was in Afghanistan, to take him out, and we did not. All we're talking about now is withdrawing troops from Iraq with a nebulous time frame and shifting them to Afghanistan. I'm not at all sure that that is an appropriate use of U.S. troops and U.S. resources.

9:52- Bob Barr: [Responding to more troops in Afghanistan] What commander on the ground ever doesn't want more troops? That's the point. They always want more troops, that's the nature of a commander. Both of these people are doing what Bush did, when it's not convenient to answer hard questions, they raise the flag of patriotism and say, "Oh, it's for the commanders on the ground." What goal is not being met by not having more troops on the ground in Afghanistan? If it has to do with shoring up Afghan troops, that's not the U.S.' responsibility.

9:53- Bob Barr: [Responding to pulling the trigger] What is the U.S. national security interest goal that is being met by providing millions of dollars of aid to Pakistan?

9:54- Bob Barr: [Responding to more troops] In other words, a massive influx of troops in Afghanistan. That's what worked in Iraq, McCain is saying that's what we need in Afghanistan. He's wrong.

9:58 Bob Barr: [Responding to Iraq] They haven't talked yet about McCain's bellicose attitude towards Russia. Poking the Russians' eye with missile systems in Poland. What exactly is the foreign policy that McCain would employ? It seems to be one that would make the Bush Doctrine look like a peacenik solution. We're already seeing, for example, that the unnecessary move to put missile systems in Poland, the Russians have countered that by getting more involved with Venezuala and Cuba. I doubt anyone in Washington thought about the way Russia would respond.

10:00- Bob Barr: [Responding to Obama on terrorists still being active] On that point, Obama is absolutely correct.

10:02- Bob Barr: [Responding to McCain being a silly insider] When you get up in Washington Insider stuff, you lose the American people.

10:04- Bob Barr: A league of democracies?!? The collective foreign intelligence assessment was that Iran can't development nuclear weapons. 

10:05- Bob Barr: [Responding to more McCain on Iran] Does that mean that he favors a military action, either direct or through surrogates, against Iran? It seems that's what he's implying, but he's not being pressed on it. That would be extremely dangerous, if not fool-hardy.

10:07- Bob Barr: [Responding to Obama on Iran] Are we not already funding an arms race in the Middle East, and have we not been doing that for years with funded military assistance?

10:09- Bob Barr: [Responding to McCain on Obama not hating Iran enough] I don't that he ever took a course in philosophy, but that does not all logically follow. All of those things do not follow simply from the premise that maybe we should communicate directly with this government. That is a gross fallacy.

10:11- Bob Barr: What is a "rogue regime"? A regime we don't agree with?

10:12- Bob Barr: [Responding to McCain on the Bush administration] This is ridiculously naive. Pres. Nixon met with Mao Tse-tung. If you look back at the rhetoric against the United States, I guess you would be left in the very same situation, which is that we should not have dealt with China, we should not deal with any nation that says anything nasty about us or anyone else–if the senator believes that. Perhaps he's saying it for political purposes.

10:20- Bob Barr: [Responding to NATO] I'm not sure any of these folks have any idea what this organization is. Its mission is what any particular nation wants it to be at any particular time. It ought to be disbanded not expanded. We should replace it–if we need to–with an organization that reflects 2000 Europe and not 1940s Europe. 

10:22- Bob Barr: [Responding to Obama on Georgia] We have to rebuild the Georgian economy? We're already rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure, they want to rebuild Afghanistan's, and we have to rebuild Georgia's economy? What world are these guys operating in? No one quesions their nonsense.

10:25- Bob Barr: Sen. McCain is trying to play it both ways. He was opposed to offshore drilling, and now he's for it. But he's really not. He's opposed to it in certain other areas, such as the Eastern Seaboard and the western coast of Florida.

10:28- Bob Barr: [Responding to post-9/11 safety] What he really means using the word "reorganization" is growth in government. They added more bureaucracy to the foreign service apparatus of our government. So what they're doing is not streamlining, but growth.  

10:30- Bob Barr: [Responding to McCain on nuclear proliferation] We're spending a few hundred million on nuclear proliferation? Does he mean "anti" nuclear proliferation? I'm not sure what he's talking about….McCain is playing both sides of the issue.

10:30- Bob Barr: [Responding to McCain's devotion to blood & treasure] McCain oughta withdraw and have Gen. Petreus run. He should just step aside and let the man who he thinks is the very best person run for president instead.  

10:32- Bob Barr: [Responding to Obama] It never enters his mind that if we stop spending that money in Iraq, we should return it the American people. The only thing he's interested in is spending that money.

10:34- Bob Barr: [Responding to Obama's name] Highly relevant, I suppose. 

10:36- [Round of applause for Bob Barr, none for Obama or McCain.]

10:38- Bob Barr: [Responding to questions from reason audience] I don not  believe that it is at all inappropriate for militaries to take action against those people who imminently posed to take action against us.

10:41- Bob Barr: In many respects, our relationships with so many countries around the world have cooled as a result of the manifestations of the Bush doctrine. 

10:43- Bob Barr: [Responding to, "What is the Bob Barr doctrine?"] The Bob Barr doctrine would be a constitutianal doctrine. It would put the "defense" in "defense policy." Which means we should continute to employ our military to protect our sovereignty, insofar as we never know from day to day where the next crisis, the next attack will occur on U.S. facilitues. It is important to maintain overflight agreements with as many coutnries possible, and port-docking agreements so that we can exert our force when and where necessary. it means demanding and relying on goood foreign intelligence, that we do have the capability of developing, but that we have politicized in recent years.

10:48- Bob Barr: [Responding to question, "What should we do about the bailout?"] Start prosecuting. The fact that we have hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars of bad paper out, floating in the U.S. economy as the result of bad-use policies to push home ownehership. That clearly says to me that there was fraud involved. The fact of the matter is that there have been no overt investigations, much less prosections. What we ought to be doing is creating more transparency in the law we have, not creating more regulation, more control. And we should use bankruptcy to get some liquidity to boost the us dollar.

10:48- Bob Barr: [Responding to, "Final question: You had a very public falling out with Ron Paul. What went wrong? And what would you say to Paul supporters?"] They out to be disappointed in Ron Paul. Endorsing a theocratic candidate 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.