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Bob Barr on "Hannity & Colmes"

Hannity & Colmes

COLMES: Republican-turned-libertarian former congressman, Bob Barr, has launched a presidential exploratory committee for a possible run for president on the Libertarian Party ticket, running on a message of less government and protection of civil liberties.

Barr concedes it is unlikely he would win but this would be an opportunity where he could preach the libertarian philosophy and expose how the two-party system just isn't working anymore. So will he or won't he?

Joining us now, former Georgia congressman himself -- here is he -- Bob Barr.

Congressman, are you -- you're seeking the Libertarian Party nomination, as I understand it. Is that correct? You don't have that yet, but that's your immediate goal?

BOB BARR, FORMER GEORGIA CONGRESSMAN: Well, the immediate goal is to work through our exploratory committee, talk with an awful lot of folks, listen to an awful lot of folks. Gauge whether there really is enough enthusiasm, which I think there is, for the launch of a real, viable, credible third-party effort this year. I think that will be the case.

COLMES: I understand your desire to runs as a third-party candidate. But I -- as a libertarian, aren't you going to have some problems, given the fact that you're one of the leading warriors in the war on drugs? Libertarians want to make drugs -- or keep drugs legal.

In terms of marijuana I understand you're now for marijuana reform laws, but you've been outspoken in the past against even medical marijuana.

You were one of the co-sponsors of the Defense of Marriage Act. And that certainly is not libertarian. You have many views and a record which is not very libertarian.

BARR: Well, what's really changed is a number of things. Alan, what's -- one thing that's changed is that, since 9/11 the government, particularly this administration under George W. Bush, largely with a compliant Congress under the hands of both parties, has so decimated our civil liberties in this country that one really has to go back and take a look at all these different areas in which government has been involved and take a hard look at them.

Plus, the fact that my views with regard to medicinal marijuana, for example, the marriage issue, are in accord with fundamental principles of federalism. Get the federal government out of these issues, these decisions and return the power to the people.

COLMES: You don't believe, then, the federal government should be fighting the war on drugs? Have you reversed your position on that?

BARR: This should be an issue based on the -- the continued failure of our drug laws to really stem the tide or change societal behavior that would probably be much better handled at the state level, Alan.

COLMES: Well, in fact, a libertarian on the state level wouldn't want government involved on any level if you're truly a libertarian. What about a woman's right to choose? Are you antiabortion, because libertarians believes a woman should have a right to choose.

BARR: Well, it's a mistake to say "libertarians believe this. Libertarians believe that." There is a great diversity of views within the Libertarian Party, the same as in the other parties.

But what unites libertarians -- and this is a sign of the maturity of the Libertarian Party in this day and age -- is a fundamental belief in the basic principle that we ought to maximize individual liberty and minimize government power and work to that end. We might have disagreements on particular tactics.

HANNITY: Bob, welcome back to the program. Sean here.

BARR: Thank you.

HANNITY: Let me see if I'm clear here. So if a state wants to legalize heroin and crack, you're OK with that?

BARR: What I'm saying, Sean, and you keep coming back to heroin and crack and so forth. What I'm saying...

HANNITY: We have an epidemic. Yes.

BARR: And what I would think is -- would be in accord with your views of federalism.

HANNITY: I didn't ask you that.

BARR: You don't believe that these issues ought to be decided by the people in their states through their representatives?

HANNITY: What would your vote be? Would you vote to legalize heroin and crack?

BARR: No, I would not vote to legalize heroin and crack, Sean. We've talked about this. You keep coming back to it.

HANNITY: But you don't answer the question. You're against legalizing drugs if you had to vote?

BARR: I answered it -- Sean, I answered it when we were on the radio recently. I've just answered it for you here.

But do we not agree? Would you not agree? Do you not see merit in returning these powers to the people of the state and get the federal government back to its constitutional authorities? You disagree with that?

HANNITY: I don't agree with your premise, but I don't want to get lost here. Do you really think, if you get the libertarian nomination, that you could win the presidency?

BARR: I think it is unlikely. I've said that before also. But there is much more at stake here than simply one man winning one election.

HANNITY: OK. But this...

BARR: What's at stake here is opening up our political system, Sean.

HANNITY: All right. But -- so then if you take 3 percent of the vote away from Senator McCain in a close election, and then Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama get elected. And that means that you're going to get Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the court, you're going to get higher taxes, you're going to get nationalized health care, you're going to get open borders. You're not going to feel guilty the morning after election night?

BARR: I don't feel guilty because Senator McCain or anybody else has failed to convince the American people of the -- of the efficacy of their message, their vision, or their agenda.


BARR: I think John McCain and the Republican Party ought to be man enough and strong enough to stand on their own record and not go around whining that somebody else might take a few percentage points from them.

HANNITY: No, it's not that. But I'm going to tell you something. If you help contribute to that, I think a lot of people would be angry at you and should be angry at you.

Now I have my disagreements with Senator McCain. But he's right on the war. He's right on taxes. He's right on eliminating earmarks. He's right on not wanting to nationalize health care. He's made a promise to me twice that he's going to appoint originalist justices to the United States Supreme Court. And he's going to close the borders first, and he's not going to pursue McCain-Kennedy again. So that's...

BARR: And you take -- you take all -- you take all of those promises to the bank, Sean.

HANNITY: OK. Well, you know something? Are you calling him a liar? Is that what you're saying?

BARR: No. What I'm saying is that, first of all, anybody that supported McCain-Feingold certainly does not, in my book, fall into the category of even approaching being a conservative.

HANNITY: I've been one of his fiercest critics on that. I've been his fiercest critic when he opposed the Bush tax cuts. I was his fiercest critic on McCain-Kennedy. And if he goes on any of those positions, I promise you I'll be a fierce critic.

But Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have dramatically left-wing views that you may help get them elected if you grab 3 percent of the vote.

COLMES: Welcome aboard.

BARR: You -- well, you give me a lot more power. But, Sean, I -- I believe that we ought to open up our political system and give people a choice.

HANNITY: Well, then, I believe what Ronald Reagan said: no pale pastels; bold colors. Work within the Republican Party to make it more conservative. I want it to be conservative.

BARR: You know who tried to work against Ronald Reagan and convince him not to run? It was the Republican Party, Sean.

HANNITY: I've got to run.

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