13 October 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Know the Candidates: Robert “Bob” Laurence Barr, Jr (LB)


Robert “Bob” Laurence Barr, Jr (LB)

Current Job:

Birth Date:

November 5, 1948




Georgetown University, JD Law
The George Washington University, MA International Affairs
University of Southern California, BA International Relations


Robert “Bob” Laurence Barr Jr. was born in Iowa City. His father was an Army officer and civil engineer, and Barr grew up largely overseas, living in countries such as Malaysia and Pakistan before graduating from high school in Iran.

Returning to the United States to attend the University of Southern California, he joined the Young Democrats and protested against the Vietnam War before having a political change of heart and becoming a Republican. He graduated in 1970, moving to Washington to study international affairs at George Washington University. While there, he was hired as an intern at the CIA and later worked as an intelligence analyst at the agency until 1978. While at the CIA, he earned a law degree from Georgetown University.

After law school, he moved to the Atlanta area, working as a lawyer and becoming active in local politics. In 1984, he ran unsuccessfully for the state House.

Two years later, President Ronald Reagan appointed him as U.S. attorney for the northern district of Georgia, a position he held until 1990.

He lost a bid for U.S. Senate in 1992 before winning his seat in Congress in 1994. He held the seat until 2003.

Barr now works as an attorney and runs a public affairs and lobbying firm, Liberty Strategies LLC, headquartered in Atlanta.

He is married to his third wife, Jeri. Between them, the couple has four children.


Barr’s political career looked to be finished in 2002 when the four-term Georgia congressman lost his seat after a redistricting.

Barr became a lobbyist, taking on a roster of clients unlikely to endear him to his conservative base, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Marijuana Policy Project.

He grew increasingly critical of the Bush administration’s policies on terrorism, eavesdropping, spending and the war in Iraq. He said the president – with assistance from Republicans in Congress – was violating fundamental civil rights and bankrupting the country through excessive spending, including on what he calls a flawed war plan.

Then, in 2006, he quit the Republican Party and became a Libertarian, opening a new world of political possibilities. Less than two years later, the former Republican best known for pushing Bill Clinton’s impeachment is the Libertarian nominee for president.

Barr, a former federal prosecutor and a gifted orator, was swept into Congress with more than 70 other House GOP freshmen in 1994. Republicans loved him for his hard-line conservative positions on gun rights, tax cuts and abortion. He gained attention as the first lawmaker to call for Clinton’s resignation over the Monica Lewinsky scandal and was one of the House prosecutors who pressed the impeachment case in the Senate.

Even after Clinton left office, Barr continued to pursue him. He asked congressional investigators to study the extent of White House damage done by departing Clinton staffers and tried to build a “Counter Clinton Library” in Little Rock, Ark. He filed a $30 million lawsuit against Clinton, adviser James Carville and Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt for causing him “emotional distress” in retaliation for the impeachment proceedings.

Barr’s criticism of Clinton was soon displaced by disillusionment with President Bush and his former GOP colleagues in Congress. “I cannot imagine a more disappointing presidency than this administration,” he said in a recent interview. “This administration clearly has taken, one could say hijacked, the Republican Party to turn completely away from any notion of smaller government. The spending, the trampling of civil liberties, the concept of power at a historic level in the executive branch: None of these were traditionally part and parcel of the Republican Party. This administration has failed utterly.”

Barr says voters are desperate for an alternative to the two-party system.His platform includes positions that both parties would like but is most likely to appeal to fiscal conservatives. That has led some observers to predict that he will take votes from Republican John McCain.

Barr says he would drastically cut or eliminate some federal agencies and push for expanded domestic oil drilling in Alaska and along the nation’s coasts.

At the same time, he has split with McCain and other Republicans on the war, saying he would begin gradually withdrawing troops from Iraq, and supporting the recent Supreme Court ruling that detainees at Guantanamo Bay have rights in court.


Robert “Bob” Laurence Barr Jr. won the Libertarian presidential nomination at the party’s convention in May. After six rounds of balloting, he beat research scientist Mary Ruwart 324-276.He lost his first bid for public office in 1984 when he ran for the Georgia legislature, losing badly to the incumbent.In 1992, after gaining name recognition as a U.S. attorney, he challenged incumbent Republican Sen. Paul Coverdell. He forced Coverdell into a runoff but ultimately lost by about 1,600 votes.Two years later, he upset Democratic Rep. Buddy Darden, a six-term incumbent, to win Georgia’s 7th Congressional District. He held the seat for four terms before losing badly to fellow Republican Rep. John Linder in 2002 after Barr’s congressional district was divided up in a redistricting.