WASHINGTON (AFP) — Former US congressman Bob Barr was chosen Sunday to be the Libertarian Party's candidate for November's presidential election, a move that could hurt Republican presumptive nominee John McCain.
"This team, this candidate will not let you down. This will be a historic and positive campaign that will succeed," Barr told supporters at the party's convention in Denver, Colorado, after being elected in six rounds of voting.
The former Republican representative for Georgia, who played a key role in the congressional impeachment of former president Bill Clinton, added: "We have only 163 days to win this election. Do not waste one single day."
The 59-year-old told reporters earlier this month that he was running because no other presidential candidate understood the principles of fiscal conservatism and basic principles on which he said America was founded.
Barr appeared unconcerned about damaging McCain's support among conservative voters.
"If Senator McCain ... does not succeed in winning the presidency ... it will be because Senator McCain did not present, and his party did not present, a vision, an agenda, a platform and a series of programs that actually resonated positively with the American people," he said.
Independent and third parties have faced a tough task in modern US election history of breaking the dominance of the Democratic and Republican parties, though several candidates have played a spoiler role.
Barr said Sunday that he did not intend simply "to make a point" but to win, and party spokesman Andrew Davis said he was "one of the strongest candidates in the party's 37-year history" and would make an "enormous impact."
"Republicans and Democrats have good reason to fear a candidate like Barr, who refuses to accept the 'business-as-usual' attitude of the current political establishment," Davis said.
"Americans want and need another choice, and that choice is Bob Barr."
The Libertarian Party stands for non-interference by the US government in the personal and business lives of Americans, and advocates lower taxes, a smaller government and more individual freedom.
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