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A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have! - Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Statement from Russ Verney (Bob Barr Campaign)

In a speech at Mercer University yesterday, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was dismissive of Rep. Bob Barr’s efforts to seek the Libertarian nomination. He also mischaracterized the nature of Ross Perot’s 1992 campaign. In response, Russ Verney, the former campaign manager for Ross Perot who is advising the Bob Barr 2008 campaign, issued the following statement:

The attraction of Ross Perot's candidacy in 1992 was that he was not a part of the Washington establishment. Public sentiment was strong for a 'change from politics as usual'. In the 2008 presidential campaign the buzz word from each candidate is 'change'. But, the eventual Republican and Democratic nominees are not credible agents to change the Washington establishment each candidate has benefited from.

The public clearly wants 'change'. According to recent poll data, Congress' approval rating hovers around the miserably low 20 percentile; the President isn't faring much better with the public, his approval rating is around 30%. In the April 3, 2008 CBS/New York Times poll 81% of the public thinks our country is headed in the wrong direction.

Change, meaningful change, from politics as usual can only come from outside the two political party system. Otherwise, a Republican President has to be stymied by the Democrats in Congress and a Democratic President has to be stymied by the Republicans in Congress. A third party President is free to build different coalitions to support each policy proposal from both the Republican and Democratic members of Congress.

In 1992 Ross Perot received almost 20% of the vote when just 34% could have won the election. Additionally, exit polling conducted by the news media asked voters leaving the polls who they voted for. Voters who responded Perot were then asked, "If Perot wasn't in the race who would you have voted for?" The result of that question is that Bill Clinton would have won if Ross Perot was not in the race on election day. Ross Perot was not a spoiler, he was a contestant.

However, the voters who responded to the exit pollster that they voted for Bush (41) and Clinton were asked a follow-up question, "If you thought Perot could win, would you have voted for him?" The analysis of the responses to that question is that Perot would have won the 1992 election if the voters thought he could win: To the voters Perot was the preferred candidate not the spoiler.

In the 2008 election which will focus on the economy, the war in Iraq and runaway government spending, there is presently just a choice of which Washington insider moves to a different chair.

I urge Bob Barr to run for President and give the voters a real choice between 'politics as usual' and real 'change'.

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