Reason‘s Dave Weigel recently asked Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr if he would debate other third-party candidates. He said no, and reasoned that the Libertarian Party — unlike the Greens or Constitution Party — is a truly “national” party.
Because of that, because we are far ahead of the other third parties in Zogby’s very legitimate, non-partisan poll results, we believe I will be the only candidate at the end of the day who has a reasonable shot at gaining access in the national debates, the Commission on Presidential Debates. That is our goal. Our goal is not to settle for debates that are not national in scope and do not indicate to the American people that they have a right to, and will have a real choice to, go beyond the two major parties.
Barr, of course, was heavily criticized for his failure to debate his fellow Libertarians in pursuit of the party’s nomination. He entered the race after most states had had their conventions, and avoided several debates in Denver. The only debate Barr has ever participated in was carefully regulated to discourage candidate criticisms.
Chuck Baldwin and Cynthia McKinney have each said that they would debate Barr and their other peers. Ralph Nader has a history of eschewing “lesser” candidates.