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Monday, June 30, 2008

Isakson: Bob Barr could play spoiler

Bob Barr's Libertarian bid for the presidency could put Georgia in play for Barack Obama, the New York Times quoted U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson as saying over the weekend.

“If Barr got 8 percent, and you’ve got the higher African-American turnout from Barack Obama, then you’d have a significantly close race in the state," the Georgia Republican told the Times in an article published Saturday.

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That differs from the line of most local Republicans, who've generally pooh-poohed the potential Barr effect. But several polls have shown Obama surprsingly within 10 percent of John McCain in Georgia, and Barr with support as high as 8 percent — presumably drawn from libertarian-leaning conservatives who'd otherwise back McCain.

Barr, a former uber-conservative congressman from the north Atlanta 'burbs (who gained true fame as a Creative Loafing columnist), was dissed by Bush, Rove and the Republican establishment during redistricting earlier this decade when he was lumped into an unfriendly district dominated by a more lockstep party mate. He doesn't seem to bothered by the prospect of harming McCain's chances:

“ ‘Well, gee, you might take votes from Senator McCain,’ ” Mr. Barr said this week, mimicking one of the complainers, as he sat sipping Coca-Cola in his plush corner office, 12 stories above Atlanta. “They all said, ‘Look, we understand why you’re doing this. We agree with why you’re doing it. But please don’t do it.’ ”

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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