Presidential candidate Barr visits

Bob Barr, presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, visited Tech on Thursday to speak about his views on the upcoming election and his position on several of the current major issues. The event was presented by the Debate Team, and saw approximately 180 students and faculty listen to Barr’s 50-minute speech.

He conveyed his party’s support for less government intervention in administering the country and suggested embracing libertarian values to deliver the nation out of the economic crisis.

“The choice between big government and really big government; that’s the choice the [Democrat Party and the Republican Party] give us. We and the Libertarian Party believe that there is another way, a better way, and that is the way of freedom and liberty,” Barr said.

Barr started off by commenting on the past three presidential debates between Obama and McCain. He said that the debates have been ineffective in serving as a stage on which presidential candidates could prove their competency as the future president of the United States. He suggested that some significant references to the Constitution should have been made in the debates.

“Cycle after cycle, what we seem to be getting is a lower and lower quality of debate and a lower and lower level of discussion of issues that really should matter to the people of this country,” Barr said. He described the debate as “an exercise in the candidates throwing sound bites,” and he expressed that the moderators in the debates were also ineffective in trying to “get them to actually do something that is very difficult to get one of these [candidates] to do—to answer a question.”

Barr also commented on the vice-presidential candidates, particularly on McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, who has been popular in the media recently for calling herself a “hockey mom.”

“I’m a soccer dad. That doesn’t make me any more qualified to be president than it does her,” Barr said.

He supports cutting federal spending as much as possible and says that the government cannot continue spending at this rate if the country is to remain competitive in the global marketplace.

He also mentioned that the recent government bailout of $700 billion “is enough funding to almost purchase every single house that is currently for sale in the United States.”

The event was delivered by the Debate Team after the team’s president, Alice Wang, perceived that the organization needed funding and publicity.

“We are a new organization on campus, and we currently have no source of funding. Debate tournaments tend to be far away, and it’s really impractical to pay for the high travel expenses and registration fees out of the pockets of individual team members,” Wang said.

She contacted the organization’s faculty advisor, Hans Klein, associate professor of Public Policy, who had connections with the Barr campaign. Klein was able to have Bob Barr to come speak on campus.

“I got to introduce Bob Barr in an introductory speech as the co-president of Debate Team, which was very interesting to do. We hope that the GT community enjoyed having Bob Barr over as much as we did,” Wang said.

The event enabled students to engage directly with a member of the current presidential election.

“I did not necessarily agree with a lot of what Barr spoke, but he was nonetheless very eloquent. I thought his speech was helpful in broadening my perspectives on the election coming up,” said Patrick Donohue, first-year AE major.