Libertarian Barr Says GOP Is Played Out
By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr, a former Georgia congressman, said today that the Republican Party has utterly failed to present a "new program, new leadership or vision."
"What's wrong with John McCain is symptomatic of what's wrong with the Republican Party in these first years of the 21st century," Barr said on "Fox News Sunday." "They talk one thing but do something different, and that's become very obvious to the American people."
Barr said that he tends to agree with Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on issues of civil liberties, while he tends to agree with McCain, a senator from Arizona, on issues of government spending and taxation.
"Neither of these candidates is talking about the deep cuts in government spending and returning power to the people that we are," Barr said.
Asked whether his presidential bid might cost McCain needed votes in the fall, Barr said that McCain has lost his way, in particular through his support of the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program, which Barr said "would provide the authority for the federal government to surveil American citizens in their own country."
"This is a fundamental issue that goes to the very nature and power of our government, but nobody's really talking about it," Barr said.
Barr was asked about his own positions as a congressman, when he voted for many of the measures and policies he now seems to oppose.
He said he regretted voting for the Patriot Act. He saw his vote in favor of codifying marriage as between man and a woman as a proper exercise in returning the question to states.
"That's a very conservative principle reflecting the fundamental notion of states' rights in our country," he said.
More Vice Presidential Demurrals
Also on Fox, a prominent Democrat and a prominent Republican were asked if they would run for vice president if asked.
Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell (D) said, "It's my intention to walk out the door of the [state] capital, the Lord willing, in January of 2011. I know that disappoints some people in the capital, but that's my intention. And if there was a position open that I was interested in, like energy or transportation, I'd be honored to serve in an Obama administration, but not at the beginning, not until my time is finished."
Rob Portman, a former Ohio congressman and Bush administration official, said, "I don't know, and I don't expect to be asked, honestly."
Nader: Detractors Are Political Bigots
On CBS's "Face the Nation," Ralph Nader was asked why prominent liberal magazines such as the Nation oppose him.
"It's political bigotry," he said. "Why are all these people who agree with us on the issues behaving this way? Because they believe that the two parties own the voters in this country, and you go for the least worst party."
A Western Divide on McCain
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said he backs McCain fully even though he does not agree with him on every issue.
"I'm very proud of him, 100 percent behind him," Schwarzenegger said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "That we don't agree with everything -- that's clear. Nor do I agree with my wife. That doesn't mean we should split."
Schwarzenegger defended his record running the nation's largest state, saying that he has succeeded at bringing Republicans and Democrats together and that he had little warning of the economic downturn, which has been especially harsh in California.
"What goes up must come down," Schwarzenegger said.
He chided Washington for failing to pass any meaningful legislation this year. "I'm very disappointed [with] what has happened. ... There's a lack of action in Washington. ... They can't get anything done."
Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal, a conservative Democrat who in the past has offered kind words for McCain, said the Arizona Republican has lost his way in his campaign for president.
"John McCain's not the John McCain of 2000 and 2002," Freudenthal said on "Meet the Press." "At this stage he's really molded into a Bush-Cheney lookalike, and that's not an attractive thing."
Speaking of Vice President Cheney, a former Wyoming congressman, Freudenthal said "his standing here has declined like it has elsewhere." But he added, "He is still the native son. ... He has a good history in this state as a congressman."
Lieberman's Democratic Problem
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.), a longtime Democrat who is now an independent and endorses McCain for president, said his old party continues to drift away from him on national security issues.
"I feel very strongly that the party that I joined when president John F. Kennedy was its leader, a party that believed in progressive government at home and a principled, strong internationalist foreign policy, economic policy, pro-trade -- that party is not represented by the leaders today," he said on CBS's "Face the Nation."
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