More Presidential Items

--$35 million? Not worth recuperating, when you're the Mittster. "Governor Romney has no plans either now or in the future to raise money so that he can retire his debt," says spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom.

--The fulfillment today of the hotly anticipated (well, if you listened to me, anyway) announcement that former congressman Bob Barr is running for the Libertarian Party Presidential nomination is potentially a big deal -- especially if Ron Paul ultimately endorses him, which seems likely if Barr gets the nod at the party convention. (Barr is up against a bunch of lesser-known candidates, including Massachusetts's own George Phillies.) Barr has credibility and gravitas, and if that's coupled with the Paul fundraising machine it could have a big impact. Not to win, but to affect the outcome in individual states. He should be able to gain enough early support to force his way into the national media coverage. He should steal votes from Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents who are disgusted with the GOP, the War, and/or McCain. Barr's big issues are A) privacy and individual liberty, B) elimination of the income tax, C) securing the border against illegal immigration. As a Georgian he should have particular appeal to Southerners -- and if he takes a chunk of the white vote in southern states, you could easily see Obama win in Mississippi and elsewhere. It could at least force McCain to expend precious time and resources in states he should be able to take for granted. (Another question this raises: if Ron Paul supporters turn out to vote for Barr, instead of staying home as expected, how does that impact down-ticket races -- like the Senate contests in New Hampshire and Maine?)

--Possible indication of how the tide has turned in the Democratic nomination fight? In a weekend drive around Providence -- in a state that went heavily for Hillary Clinton -- Obama lawn signs were a fairly common sight, while Clinton signage was notably absent.

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