The presidential field just grew by one.
Former US Representative Bob Barr of Georgia announced that he will run as a Libertarian this year. He first must win that party's nomination at its national convention that begins May 22. Mike Gravel, the former Alaska senator and Democratic presidential hopeful, is also seeking the Libertarian nomination.
A conservative former Republican, Barr could end up hurting presumptive GOP nominee John McCain -- just as some Democrats fear that Ralph Nader's independent candidacy could bleed votes from the Democratic nominee.
Barr, 59, who served in Congress from 1995 to 2003, helped lead Bill Clinton's impeachment. He quit the Republican Party two years ago, saying he had grown disillusioned with its failure to shrink government and its willingness to scale back civil liberties in fighting terrorism.
In a news conference, Barr said "only a fool" would specify a date and timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. But he said it's "extremely important" and in the best interest of national defense to draw down dramatically the US troop presence in Iraq and decrease the military and political footprint in Iraq.
In the razor-thin 2000 and 2004 elections, the Libertarian Party's nominee was not much of a factor, winning less than 400,000 votes each time.
In 2000, Harry Browne received nearly 383,000 votes, compared to more than 2.8 million for Nader, who ran as the Green Party candidate.
In 2004, Michael Badnarik got about 397,000 votes, compared to about 465,000 for Nader, who ran as an independent.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.