The Libertarian Party on Sunday picked former Republican Rep. Bob Barr to be its presidential candidate after six rounds of balloting in Denver.

Barr beat research scientist Mary Ruwart, who sought the party's presidential nomination unsuccessfully in 1983, by a vote of 324-276 on the final ballot.

Barr endorsed Wayne Allyn Root, who was eliminated in the fifth round, to be his vice-presidential nominee. Barr left the GOP in 2006 over what he called bloated spending and civil liberties intrusions by the Bush administration. The former Georgia congressman said he's not in the race to be a spoiler, siphoning off votes of conservative Republicans from John McCain.

"I'm a competitor, and I'm in this to win," he said. The party now is on the ballot in 28 states and gathering petitions in 20 more. Party insiders concede that they're unlikely to get on the ballot in Oklahoma and West Virginia because of their restrictive laws.

Barr was the best known of 14 candidates for the nomination, his fame earned during three terms in Congress when he helped lead the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

The Libertarian Party, founded in 1971, yearns to break the million-vote mark. The closest it has come was in 1980, when nominee Ed Clark was on the ballot in all 50 states and won 921,000 votes.

Libertarians lost what might have been their best shot at that mark when Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, declined their invitation to seek the nomination and instead chose to run for the job as a Republican.

CLINTON IS STILL IN

Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday offered a spiritual rationale for continuing her presidential campaign despite the edge in delegates held by rival Barack Obama.

"There isn't anything we cannot do together if we seek God's blessing and if we stay committed and are not deterred by the setbacks that often fall in every life," she told the congregation at the Pabellon de la Victoria evangelical church in Hormigueros, Puerto Rico. Clinton was campaigning for Puerto Rico's 55 primary delegates, to be selected June 1.

OBAMA AT WESLEYAN

Standing in for Sen. Edward Kennedy, who has been diagnosed with brain cancer, Obama delivered the commencement address at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.

Obama, who has been endorsed by Kennedy, urged the graduates to "make us believe again" by dedicating themselves to public service.

"We may disagree as Americans on certain issues and positions, but I believe we can be unified in service to a greater good. I intend to make it a cause of my presidency, and I believe with all my heart that this generation is ready and eager and up to the challenge," he said.

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