Saturday, May 24, 2008

LP afternoon thread

UPDATE 5:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. MT -- A new update at AmSpec blog with official token counts and video. Looks like Russ Verney's assessment of Barr as the "underdog" wasn't just campaign spin.

Now it's nap time for me, as I'll need to be rested for the C-SPAN debate tonight at 9 p.m. ET/7 p.m. MT.

My post about the token race is at AmSpec blog. Just went to lunch with Bob Barr and some of his campaign staff. My suggestion was Johnny Rocket's, but one of the staffers said the candidate had to be back to the convention at 1:30 pm, so they wanted to go to Starbucks.

"But we can eat at Johnny Rocket's in 30 minutes," I said.

"Stop whining," said Barr, reprising a line he uses often with Republicans who complain of his potential as a "spoiler" in November.

"You're spoiling my lunch," I replied.

What kind of serious caffeine hound is Barr? He's been in Denver three days, and already the barristas at Starbucks know his order: "The usual?" That's a latte with five espresso shots and foam.

Overall, Team Barr is feeling good about their candidate's chances, but the wild-and-woolly nature of an LP convention makes it impossible to say what the odds are at this point. David Weigel makes this clear in his latest excellent article at Reason:
As the convention fills up -- almost 600 delegates have registered now, more than 250 of them on Friday -- it's becoming clearer that this is not a Bob Barr coronation. Delegates are tolerant people who can sit through a pointless convention floor vote or a ramble from longshot Daniel Imperato, but they prefer to hear from candidates who say what they really think. Kubby and Ruwart do that. . . .
Kubby's alliance with Ruwart is the single most direct threat to a Barr nomination -- the outcome that most outside media still think is assured. A motion to make it harder to participate in Saturday's "C-SPAN debate" failed, making it easier for the two radical candidates to share support and propel each other into the fray.
It appears that seven candidates have qualified for tonight's debate. I'm going to need a nap, but here are some more photos:
David Weigel of Reason works from the convention floor. When it comes to reporting this convention, I can easily run circles around the MSM reporters, but it's almost impossible to scoop Weigel, who knows LP politics like the back of his hand. Also, he bears an uncanny resemblance to Charlie Sheen.

Wayne Allyn Root hears a report from one of his supporters. Root and Barr, the two pragmatic ex-Republican candidates, turned in a combined 187 tokens. Root had 94 and Barr 93, but the Barr staff noted that they shared tokens with ex-Democrat Mike Gravel, to ensure his inclusion in the C-SPAN debate. So if Gravel turned in 57 tokens, that would put the Root/Barr/Gravel block at 244 initial votes. I should point out that while Root and Barr are ideological allies, they are political rivals in terms of the byzantine LP nominating process.

Candidate Christine Smith solicits support. Unfortunately, Smith didn't collect enough tokens to qualify for the C-SPAN debate, although she did have enough to earn a nominating speech on Sunday.

Barr addresses his supporters prior to marching to the convention hall to turn in their tokens.

An LP official counts Barr's debate tokens, as Barr operative Steven Gordon and campaign manager Russ Verney watch. Depending on how all this turns out, there may be a book, in which case the story of the role performed by the mysterious Gordo will be good for at least a chapter.

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