Will Russert offer Libertarian candidate Barr the same Meet the Press platform he gave Nader?

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

Now that former Republican congressman Bob Barr has announced his candidacy for the Libertarian Party nomination for president, will NBC host Tim Russert invite Barr to be interviewed on Meet the Press, giving Barr the same platform to discuss his candidacy that Russert gave Ralph Nader?

On the February 24 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, host Tim Russert interviewed activist Ralph Nader, who announced his 2008 run for the presidency on the program. On May 12, former Republican congressman Bob Barr (GA) announced his candidacy for the Libertarian Party nomination for president. In a May 13 article on Barr's announcement, the Los Angeles Times reported: "Political commentators debated the effect of Barr's entry into the campaign. Some argued that -- as with Ralph Nader, who in 2000 pulled votes away from Democrat Al Gore -- Barr could take enough votes from McCain in 2008 to give the Democratic nominee the election." In the 2004 presidential election, Nader received 465,650 votes, or .38 percent of the popular vote, while Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik received 397,265 votes, or .32 percent. This raises the question: Will Russert invite Barr to be interviewed on Meet the Press, giving Barr the same platform to discuss his candidacy that Russert gave Nader?

According to a Media Matters for America search of the Nexis database*, Russert has previously hosted Barr on Meet the Press five times, most recently on May 14, 2000, to discuss gun control.

From the May 13 Times article:

Bob Barr, a onetime Republican congressman from Georgia, on Monday announced his plan to run for president as a Libertarian, promising to rein in federal spending and limit military involvement abroad.

"The government has run amok fiscally," Barr said at a news conference. During the first quarter of this year, he said, the private sector lost millions of jobs while the federal government was "hiring with enthusiasm."

Barr, who left the Republican Party two years ago, is expected to win the Libertarian Party's nomination during its convention this month in Denver.

On Monday, he said presumed Republican nominee John McCain was not a true conservative.

"There's not a great deal of substance there in terms of a commitment to cutting the size of government," said Barr, 59.

[...]

Political commentators debated the effect of Barr's entry into the campaign.

Some argued that -- as with Ralph Nader, who in 2000 pulled votes away from Democrat Al Gore -- Barr could take enough votes from McCain in 2008 to give the Democratic nominee the election.

Barr confirmed that he was asked by McCain supporters not to run, but he defended his decision, saying that "American voters deserve better than simply the lesser of two evils."

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
NBC
Person
Tim Russert, Bob Barr, Ralph Nader
Show/Publication
Meet the Press
Stories/Interests
2008 Elections
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