Montana Gov.: Bob Barr could help hand state to Obama
Nick Juliano
Published: Wednesday August 27, 2008

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DENVER -- If Barack Obama wins the presidency in 2008, it could come with the help of an unlikely ally handing him victories in some unexpected red states.

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a moderate Democrat elected in 2004 for pushing a bipartisan agenda, said some of his constituents would not vote for Republican nominee John McCain because of disagreements with the Arizona senator on issues like gun rights.

Montanans, Schweitzer said, "like to buy our guns at gun shows because you don't have to fill out the paperwork." McCain supports closing the so-called "gun show loophole" and has tried to pass legislation to that effect.

While gun owners might not necessarily come into the Obama camp, Schweitzer noted they would have another option on the ballot.

"Those Republicans who are single issue voters, they might vote for Bob Barr," Schweitzer said during a brief appearance in the Big Tent, a workspace set up for bloggers and New Media journalists covering the Democratic National Convention here.

Barr, the Libertarian nominee for President, sits on the board of the National Riffle Association. While he has virtually no chance of winning the White House, any votes he takes from McCain could swing previously red states like Montana into the Obama column.

Other states where Barr could be a factor include his home state of Georgia, Alaska and other western states with a libertarian bent.

Schweizer noted that the most recent poll in Montana had Obama and McCain tied with 47 percent support. He said that a decent showing by Barr could allow Obama to win with as little as 48 percent of the vote.