Former US congressman Bob Barr on Monday announced plans to run for president on the Libertarian Party’s ticket, in a move some analysts say could hurt Republican presumptive nominee John McCain. “My name is Bob Barr and I’m a candidate for the presidency of the United States of America,” said the former Republican lawmaker, who played a key role in the congressional impeachment of former president Bill Clinton.

Barr said he was running because there was not “currently or anywhere on the horizon” any candidate who understood the principles of fiscal conservatism and basic principles on which he said America was founded.

The former Georgia congressman, who announced his plans at a press conference here, must first win the Libertarian Party’s nomination before throwing himself into the 2008 field for real.

The 59-year-old said he was not concerned about the prospect of damaging McCain, possibly among conservative voters whom the Republican candidate has had trouble courting.

“If Senator McCain … does not succeed in winning the presidency … it will be because Senator McCain did not present, and his party did not present, a vision, an agenda, a platform and a series of programs that actually resonated positively with the American people.”

Barr believes spending by the US government is running out of control and says federal authorities have seized powers not granted by the constitution, and believes US forces should be brought home from Iraq.

The Libertarian Party stands for non-interference by the US government in the personal and business lives of Americans, and advocates lower taxes, a smaller government and more individual freedom.”

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