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Roseanne Barr: Peace and Freedom Party presidential candidate

August 02, 2012|By Robin Abcarian
  • Kevin Winter / Tonight Show
Kevin Winter / Tonight Show (lspbmcp720120802172203/600 )

Those who follow her Twitter feed know that Roseanne Barr, the 59-year-old actress and comedian, has been running for president for a year now. Originally, she promoted herself as the standard-bearer of the Green Party.

Now, her White House quest has taken a different turn. She announced Thursday that she will run for president on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket. Her running mate, Barr said in a news release, will be Cindy Sheehan, whose son,U.S. Army Spec. Casey Sheehan, was killed in Iraq in 2004. In August 2005, the Gold Star mother mounted a lonely antiwar protest outside President George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas.

"The American people are sick and tired of this 'lesser evil’ garbage they get fed every election year,” Barr said via the news release. “Both the Democrats and the Republicans do the same evils once they’re in office. I’m here to tell the voters: if you want to tell the government and the two domineering parties that you’re sick and tired of all their evil, register in the Peace and Freedom Party and vote for me and Cindy.”

In the release, Sheehan, who was vilified by the right for her Crawford vigil, said she was honored to be selected as Barr’s running mate. “I am excited about the chance to infuse the message of socialism with the heart and soul that is missing from political discourse,” she said.

The Peace and Freedom Party was founded in Los Angeles in 1967. It came about after demonstrators protesting the Vietnam War were attacked by police in Century City, where President Lyndon B. Johnson was holding a fundraiser, and has struggled ever since to qualify for ballot status.

The party’s first presidential nominee, in 1968, was Eldridge Cleaver, the Black Panther. In 1972, Benjamin Spock, the renowned pediatrician, headed the ticket. Four years ago, the party’s presidential nominee, Ralph Nader, appeared on ballots in only two states, California and Iowa.

As for Barr, she has been an entertainment fixture since she first entered American living rooms as a stand-up comedian on late night TV. She rose to fame with a refreshingly angry “domestic goddess” routine, and then had a mega-hit with her “Roseanne” TV show, which ran nine seasons, from 1988 to 1997.

In 1990, she scandalized some baseball fans with a seriously off-key rendition of the national anthem in San Diego, followed by what she meant to be a funny take on a common baseball player gesture, adjusting an imaginary cup in her crotch and spitting. PresidentGeorge H.W. Bushpronounced her performance “disgraceful.”

She’s never stopped working during an eclectic career that has included writing books, performing in movies, doing stand-up and hosting a politically oriented radio show on KPFK, the Pacifica station in Los Angeles.

Last year, she had an unscripted reality show -- “Roseanne’s Nuts” – about life on her macadamia farm in Hawaii. On Aug. 12, she will be the target of a much-anticipated roast on Comedy Central.

Barr is one of the many politically engaged celebrities who uses Twitter to communicate with her fans and detractors. As @TheRealRoseanne, she has nearly 130,000 followers.

This week, in typically profane fashion, she waded into the Chick-fil-A gay marriage and free speech controversy.

“Anyone who eats [expletive] Fil-A deserves to get the cancer that is sure to come from eating antibiotic filled tortured chickens 4Christ,” she tweeted Wednesday, setting off an intense back-and-forth. Some critics accused her of wishing cancer on customers of the Christian fast-food chain.

She apologized in a fashion, claiming she was performing a public service by warning people away from unhealthy food.  “I shouldn’t have used the word deserved in my tweet and I apologize,” she wrote. “what I meant was not that ppl deserve cancer-at all. I meant to warm ppl not 2 eat processed food.”

robin.abcarian@latimes.com

@robinabcarian

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