Who Is Bob Barr?

Former Georgia congressman and Clinton impeacher-in-chief Bob Barr announced today that he will be seeking the presidency as a candidate of the Libertarian Party. The first name that pops to mind is Ralph Nader. Republicans fear a repeat of 2000, with Barr siphoning votes from John McCain (although it’s also possible he’d sabotage Obama ). Others wonder how Barr’s candidacy will play with Ron Paul supporters.

The Texas Republican, who has slowed his candidacy to a crawl in recent months—but hasn’t dropped out!—has come under pressure to make a third-party run for the presidency. Barr’s announcement appears to have closed the door on a Paul run, at least on the Libertarian ticket.

So what does Ron Paul think of Barr’s announcement? “Our thoughts are that Bob and Ron are friends and remain friends,” said Paul spokesman Jesse Benton. You can see why. Some of Barr’s words today sounded as if they could have come out of Paul’s mouth: He accused both parties of “running a charity called the United States of America” and slammed Hillary Clinton for saying she’d “obliterate Iran” if they attacked Israel.

But whatever their similarities, Benton says Paul has no plans to endorse anyone—including Barr. “Ron Paul is a Republican and he’s going to be a part of the Republican party,” he says.

Paul is still campaigning in upcoming primaries, including West Virginia and Kentucky. “He’s not going to be the nominee,” Benton says. But the congressman maintains a “strong following” of 6 to 8 percent in most states and plans to continue running, he says.