Wednesday in an appearance on Fox Business Network’s “Cavuto: Coast to Coast,” former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson announced his bid to seek the 2016 Libertarian nomination for president.
Johnson, who also sought the Republican nomination in 2012 before withdrawing his candidacy to later receive the Libertarian Party’s nomination, noted he was up against 25 others seeking the Libertarian nod, but also added he anticipated the Libertarian Party candidate being on the ballot in all 50 states.
Transcript as follows:
JOHNSON: Well, Neil, I want to announce my candidacy for president. I am hoping to get the Libertarian nomination for president in 2016, and in fact offer that alternative.
I think the biggest problem facing this country is the $20 trillion debt that we will have when Obama leaves office. Government is too big, it’s unwieldy, it’s out-of-control. We need to get control. I think the term limits would go a long toward achieving that. Personal responsibility, personal freedom, that’ what this country is founded on. The notion of being fiscally conservative and socially liberal, which is the definition of a classic liberal, I’m a classic liberal.
And at the end of the day we also face an Islamic terrorist threat. It’s very real and nobody is talking about sharia law being the basis for the problems that we have. We need to separate freedom of religion, Islam, which is something we will protect from the politics of sharia. We need to cut off the politics of shar — we need to cut off the funding to the politics of sharia.
CAVUTO: So you are — just to be clear, you are clear. You are announcing here on this show, on Fox Business, which obviously this is the venue you would choose, it makes perfect sense, you are announcing your Libertarian candidacy to run for President of the United States. Are you on board wit that? Are there other Libertarian candidates out there we don’t know? What can you tell us?
JOHNSON: Well, there are — yes, I am announcing my candidacy right now for the Libertarian nomination. There are 25 other candidates running as Libertarians.
JOHNSON: You know, there are 150 — well, there are 150 Democrats running for president.
CAVUTO: Well, you’re probably one of the better known — you’re probably one of the better known ones. The Libertarians, excuse my ignorance, Governor, do they have a convention? I know that. But they have to settle on a nominee, right? So how does that process go?
JOHNSON: Well, it’s similar to Republicans and Democrats. There will be a convention over Memorial Day in Florida to determine the Libertarian nominee. And —
CAVUTO: Well, did the powers — the powers that be, Governor, said you tried this before, you’re our guy? Or they said we’re going to go to a new guy now? We love your message, Govenor, but we want a new messenger.
JOHNSON: Well, it’s an open process and I welcome the notion of an open process. The fact that those candidates in the Libertarian Party that are running for president will have the debates and I will partake in that.
CAVUTO: But who goes? How is it decided? There aren’t primaries, I mean, so how do you do it?
JOHNSON: Oh, so it’s delegates.
JOHNSON: It’s state conventions, delegates that actually go to Florida then and vote at the national convention.
CAVUTO: OK. So then the battle becomes getting on all 50 state ballots. Right? How did that stand?
JOHNSON: Well, right now it looks as though the Libertarian Party will be on the ballot in all 50 states. There is a possibility, and I’m going to say this is remote. We’ve sued the presidential debate commission, the notion that if you’re on the ballot in enough states to mathematically be elected president, that you should be included in the presidential debates.
If the Libertarian nominee for president, and I hope that’s me, is in the presidential debates, I think that lot of things can change in this country. We believe that the lawsuit against the presidential debate commission has the possibility of changing politics in America today. We’l see.
CAVUTO: You don’t like the way they do it based on polling, which shows the candidate at X number percentage points. You raise a very good point about that, but that in this case would be based on one Libertarian candidate, not a bunch of them trying to compete at the same time, right?
JOHNSON: Exactly. I mean, this would be included in the presidential debates come next fall, which would afford the opportunity to hear somebody that is fiscally conservative and socially liberal, something when it comes to socially liberal, Republicans are not embracing whatsoever, and when it comes to being fiscally conservative, I don’t think the Democrats would not how to balance a checkbook.
CAVUTO: Well, no, you raise a lot of good points. People know this about you —
CAVUTO: No, no, but I want to step back a little. (INAUDIBLE). You were a very effective, very successful, very accomplish two term governor. And I thought when you were running on the Republican side, you were a very effective debater, given the chance to be in a debate, but it’s a chicken and egg argument. You don’t get that opportunity if you don’t poll well. You can’t poll well if you don’t get that opportunity.
So the prevailing wisdom here, the best you could hope for, is maybe get included but affect the final outcome and hurt one of the two major party candidates. The consensus seems to be, in your case, that you would hurt the Republican nominee. What do you think?
JOHNSON: Well, if it’s Donald Trump, and it looks like it is going to be Donald Trump, look, I get the lure of Donald Trump. It’s the same basis that I got elected governor. Look, I’m not for sale, I’m paying for my own campaign, I’m going to get in and do the right thing. The system is corrupt. Republicans and Democrats alike don’t do the right thing. Elect somebody that is going to do the right thing.
Well, this is kind of Trump’s pitch, but then when you get to what it is he’s going to do, he’s going to deport 11 million illegal immigrants?
CAVUTO: No, no, maybe I wasn’t clear in my question. The fear seems to be, whatever you do to Donald Trump, if he is the ultimate nominee, or Ted Cruz, or Marco Rubio, or Chris Christie, who knows, that you would hurt that nominee. As a former Republican, you would hurt that nominee just as Ross Perot is thought to, as a third-party candidate but former a Republican, hurt George Bush, Sr., when he was running for reelection, handing the election to then Bill Clinton, the governor of Arkansas. What do you say to that?
JOHNSON: Well, I think that that is conventional wisdom, Neil. I think a lot of people hold to that belief but in fact that’s not the case at all. When it comes to Libertarians, Libertarians draw as many votes from Democrats as they do Republicans, and, like I say, I do believe that crony capitalism is alive and well. It’s Democrats and Republicans that contribute to that.
I’d like to be that choice that is not going to succumb to that, and I do base that on my having been governor of New Mexico and having vetoed more bills than arguably the other 49 governors in the country combined.
Look, when it comes to a balanced budget, the President of the United States can veto spending and I would pledge to veto that spending. Does that accomplish a balanced budget? No, but you do the things you can do. You need to be reality based. You need to be honest. You need to acknowledge mistakes. You need to communicate and you need to love what it is that you do. And on my deathbed I’m hoping that I look back and believe that I was the voice of reason in all this, regardless of how many votes I end up garnering.
CAVUTO: All right, we’ll watch closely. I will say this, Governor, whether people like you or not, whether they think you have a chance or not, you’re a very smart guy. You were ahead of the curve on a lot of big issues, including our debt, including these (INAUDIBLE) deficits, including a cavalier attitude to spending on the part of both parties. So it’s up to them to decide where they want to go, but you’re not a nut. Let’s put it that way. But that’s a compliment, all right?
JOHNSON: Well, and this announcement on your show, who knows? I might be at 20 percent in the polls right after this show.
CAVUTO: You never know.
JOHNSON: So thank you, Neil, for the opportunity to be out here to do this.
CAVUTO: Well, we’re on it. And whether people agree or disagree, the fact of the matter is, it is a free country, people can do what they want, make an impact the way they feel they can make an impact. Let’s do it here on Fox Business.
Governor, thank you very much. We’ll see how it goes.
JOHNSON: Thank you very much.
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