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Bob Barr to speak at Notre Dame

Kaitlynn Riely | Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Former Congressman Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party’s candidate for president, will speak at the University Friday, per the request of the Notre Dame College Libertarians.

The subject of his speech will be “America’s failure of leadership in the 20th century,” Barr said in an e-mail to The Observer through his campaign’s deputy press secretary.

Sophomore Ben Linskey, the co-president of the Notre Dame College Libertarians, said the club decided last week to contact Barr to see if he would speak at Notre Dame. The Barr campaign told them the candidate would be in Illinois next Saturday, so on Monday the College Libertarians contacted the Notre Dame administration to obtain approval for the event. University President Fr. John Jenkins’ office and the Student Activities Office (SAO) approved the speaking engagement.

“Everyone from the Office of the President and SAO was really helpful and friendly and did a lot to make it happen, so we are really grateful for that,” Linskey said.

Following the Democratic and Republican conventions, the University sent letters inviting the Democratic and Republican tickets to speak at Notre Dame on a substantive issue, Assistant Vice President for News and Information Dennis Brown said, but no such letters were sent to any third party candidates. However, all political candidates must adhere to the same rule that the speaking engagement address a substantive issue rather than function as a campaign rally.

Barr said this will be his first visit to Notre Dame.

“I received a gracious invitation from the College Libertarians of Notre Dame who were very enthusiastic and persuasive,” Barr said in an e-mail.

Barr will speak at 3 p.m. Friday in Washington Hall in what Linskey described as an “educationally-oriented event.” Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend.

The doors to the hall will open at 2:30 p.m. Friday, and free tickets will be distributed at the door. The venue can seat over 500 people, Linskey said.

“I’m extremely excited,” Linskey said. “I think it’s going to be great. It’s really exciting to have a presidential candidate come to our campus.”

Linskey said he is planning to vote for Barr in the 2008 presidential election. He said he’s been “disillusioned” by the two major American political parties, and he pointed to Barr’s desire to end the Iraq war in a responsible way, his support of civil liberties and his opposition to the proposed bailout of Wall Street as reasons why Linskey supports Barr for president.

“I think Barr is the best choice in the race,” Linskey said.

Through his deputy press secretary, Barr said he thinks his platform has a “wide appeal.”

“I believe my platform of smaller government, less government spending, lower taxes, greater civil liberties and support for our free market system will have a wide appeal on Election Day,” Barr said. “If voters want a true change from politics as usual their only choice will be me on Nov. 4.”

Barr will speak at Valparaiso University in Indiana Friday evening following his appearance at Notre Dame.

Barr, 59, was nominated at the Libertarian National Convention in May.

Barr represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican from 1995 to 2003. In 2006, Barr announced he had joined the Libertarian Party.

During his tenure in Congress, Barr served as a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, as vice-chairman of the Government Reform Committee and as a member of the Committee on Financial Services.

Barr was one of the managers appointed by the House of Representatives in 1998 to conduct the impeachment proceedings for President Bill Clinton.

Prior to his election to the U.S. House, Barr worked in several positions including as an officer in the Central Intelligence Agency, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, anti-drug coordinator for the Department of Justice, Southeastern United States, the head of the Public Corruption Subcommittee for United States Attorney General and the president of the Southeastern Legal Foundation.

Since leaving Congress, Barr has practiced law and run a consulting firm.

Barr received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California in 1970.

In an e-mail, Barr said he will not be able to attend the Nov. 29 Notre Dame – USC game.

“But I predict it will be a great game,” he said.