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DENVER — For years, conservative-minded home schooling mom Shana Kluck of Tuscaloosa, Ala., voted Republican. No longer.
Fed up with big government at home and military intervention overseas, she worked for Ron Paul in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination. Now that he's fallen short, she's switching parties, traveling to Denver this weekend to help former Republican Congressman Bob Barr win the Libertarian presidential nomination.
That kind of defection has some Libertarians thinking Barr could turn the fledgling party into a magnet for disaffected conservatives, gain national attention, and, perhaps, even draw votes away from Republican John McCain in close states as Ralph Nader did to Al Gore in Florida in 2000.
Barr, of course, was not leaving. When the 1 p.m. deadline for the LP debate came, the former Republican congressman delivered 94 tokens to win inclusion. Mary Ruwart and Wayne Allyn Root handed in exactly as many tokens. Barr and Ruwart, though, had both passed a few of their tokens to friends they wanted to see make the debates...
What actually transpired at the "C-SPAN debate" surprised most of the delegates I talked to afterward. With a few exceptions, their reaction was four-fold: Root, brash and funny, looked more than ever like an effective cheerleader for the LP. Kubby, against all odds, stole the show again and again. Ruwart, poised but bland, underperformed the expectations many delegates had for her. And Barr, faced for the first time by his fellow candidates and a puckish moderator, thrived under the pressure.
Wayne Allyn Root was selected on Sunday as the 2008 nominee for vice president at the Libertarian National Convention.
Endorsed by Barr following the selection of the presidential candidate, Root was selected as the vice president after two rounds of voting.