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Bob Barr is new piece in electoral puzzle

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"At least on those latter two, he's got to adjust his image," says David Boaz, executive vice president of the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington. "He's started to do that, but if he's going to sound like a libertarian, then he's going to need to emphasize his opposition to the Iraq war."

Enter Ron Paul, and his vocal, generous supporters. Though national polls show only a small percentage of Republicans backing his candidacy, his fundraising has been prodigious, at more than $30 million. He maintains that he will take his nomination effort all the way to the Republican convention in Minneapolis-Saint Paul in September, but analysts believe the best he can get is a spot on the speakers' list – and, if he declines to help Barr in any way, perhaps even a prime-time speech.

So far, Paul has not spoken publicly about Barr's Libertarian nomination. And Paul's supporters are considering their options. "My heart will always be with Ron Paul, and I'll be fighting for him all the way to the National Convention," writes Frank Koch, a computer programmer from Columbus, Ohio, in an e-mail.

As for his vote in November, he adds: "I'm personally leaning toward the Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin, but a large percentage of Ron Paul supporters are currently looking at Bob Barr. Voting for McCain, Hillary [Clinton], or [Barack] Obama is completely out of the question for all Constitution-loving activists."

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