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Fear & loathing, cont’d

DENVER — Today’s article about the conspiratorial murmurings around the Libertarian Party convention here at the Denver Sheraton may have added more fuel to the paranoid fires. This morning, I saw Bob Barr campaign operative Stephen Gordon who half-joked that he’s now suspected of plotting with Dick Cheney and Karl Rove.

Unlike the major party conventions, the presidential candidates are readily accessible at the LP convention, where a delegate would have little trouble speaking directly to all 14 candidates. When I went up to the 22nd floor Concorde Club to grab a glass of grapefruit juice this morning, I spoke to Mike Gravel and his lovely wife Whitney, who were having breakfast with seven or eight young supporters. Meanwhile, Barr campaign HQ was temporarily located this morning at the Starbucks across the street, where the former Republican congressman had five — count ’em, five — espresso shots in his latte. During a visit to the exhibition hall just now, I spotted both Christine Smith and Michael Jingozian, and saw George Phillies talking to Wayne Allyn Root — plotting their own counter-conspiracy, perhaps.

The LP rules apparently don’t include residency requirements for delegates, so Barr publicist Audrey Mullen will be a delegate from South Carolina, although she said her only previous connection to the state was a vacation at Isle of Palms. When I asked Barr campaign manager Russ Verney about this, he said, “The rules are the rules.”

Speaking of rules, when I was in the convention hall this morning, LP chairman Bill Redpath was hearing motions about proposed rule changes — including one suggestion to change the convention schedule to permit more time for the presidential candidates to debate. The votes on these rules questions may give an early indication of the relative strength of the Barr and anti-Barr forces. I’ll update as soon as new rumors, insinuations and smears become available.

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