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Bob Barr campaigning in VA

From contributors Jenny Anzelmo and Kyle Fortman
LYNCHBURG, Va. -- McCain and Obama aren't the only two presidential candidates who are vying for swing state votes.
 
Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee and former Georgia congressman, visited Lynchburg College here yesterday afternoon. In fact, he will spend the next 10 days in Virginia and Ohio stumping around colleges, which he calls them the "bread and butter" of his campaign.
 
In true libertarian fashion, Barr's first remark in his speech to students was that "you guys must be from the government" -- in response to his microphone not working.
 
He blamed the current economic situation on the "benevolent hand of government," calling the government a "vacuum of leadership." He said, "These [economic] problems were not only foreseeable but foreseen," and stressed that the economic situation is "not a failure of economic policy but of leadership."
 
Barr focused on the need to understand the role of government and policy rather than the "clouds of rhetoric coming out of Washington." And he said that he believes the role of the president is to "protect and demand and expand our freedom," and he expressed his frustration with the rhetoric of the 2008 presidential campaign.
 
Later in an interview, Barr said Palin is not qualified to be vice president or to handle the demands of the presidency. "No, I don't [believe she is qualified]... You have to have more experience than she does," Barr said.
 
"Overall, both Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama want more and see government as the solution to our problems. I and the Libertarian Party see the people as the solution," Barr said.
 
"Whether they are a hockey mom or a soccer dad or how many houses they have or whether they like lapel pins ... or who they might have had coffee with or had lunch with 20 years ago that might have been a strange person... And just get that out of the way, and then get down to the real business of deciding whether or not these men and women are qualified to sit across the table from the leader of an adversarial nation that clearly does not have our interests at heart or in mind, whether or not they are equipped, at least philosophically, to understand the complex issues involving the 21st century economy that we are in."
 
Barr stressed the necessity of the media to ask the tough questions, calling the media "terribly irresponsible" for focusing on what he believes are the wrong issues. But untimely blames the candidates and parties for "trivializing the important issues and raising unimportant issues to the level of presidential concern," Barr said in the interview.