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Interview with Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson

Interview with Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson

By John King, USA - June 24, 2011

JOHNS: Gary Johnson joins us now.

And, Governor, appreciate you coming in.

GARY JOHNSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Joe, thank you.

JOHNS: One of the things we've noticed is that some of your positions on social issues distinguish you from a lot of people who are also seeking the Republican nomination. So, can you tell our viewers what your position is on the government allowing abortion?

JOHNSON: Well, first of all, I believe that the best government is the government that rules the least. I think that the best that government can do for you and I as individuals is to empower you and I to make decisions that only you and I should make.

So, in that context, I support a woman's right to choose up until viability of the fetus. As governor of New Mexico, I would have -- I signed a bill banning late term abortion. I've always favored parental notification. I've always favored counseling. I've always favored the notion of no public funds used for abortion.

JOHNS: So, should the decision on abortion be made at the federal level or the state level? By the federal courts or by the state courts? JOHNSON: Well, I think the decision, when it comes to abortion, should be a woman's choice. But the big issue should be states. States should determine that issue.

JOHNS: All right. Now, what about gay marriage?

JOHNSON: I support gay unions. I think the government should get out of the marriage business completely leave marriages to the churches. And grant civil unions to gay couples, grant civil unions to a man and woman.

JOHNS: Should the federal government recognize civil unions and allow payments through the government in support of that?

JOHNSON: Yes.

JOHNS: Marijuana. This is one of the issues -- one of your signature issues when you were governor.

JOHNSON: What I would like conservatives -- first of all, I'm opposed to the drug war A through Z. But I think from a conservative standpoint, I think it's important for all of us to recognize -- and this is staggering, Joe, half of what we spend on law enforcement, the courts and prisons is drug related. What are we getting for that?

JOHNS: So you would legalize the sale, marketing and possession of marijuana?

JOHNSON: I would, yes. And, of course, it will never be legal to smoke pot, become impaired, get behind the wheel of a car. It's never going to be legal for kids to smoke pot or buy pot like alcohol.

And I would argue if you've got to produce an ID to be able to buy marijuana, is that not going to be more difficult than the situation that exists today where marijuana is for sale everywhere and the person that sells marijuana also sells harder drugs?

I've come to the conclusion that 90 percent of the drug problem is prohibition related, not use related. And that's not to discount the problems with use and abuse, but that ought to be the focus.

JOHNS: Now, when I listen to you, you sound more and more like a libertarian. Why aren't you running as a libertarian?

JOHNSON: Well, I've always been a Republican. And when it comes to the drug war, as I just go back to the drug, when it comes to everything I did as governor of New Mexico, everything was a cost benefit analysis.

The reason I'm a Republican is I think Republicans do a much better job of balancing the checkbook than Democrats and right now, we're bankrupt. We've got to fix this and I happen to believe that only the Republican Party is capable of fixing this right now.

And that in lieu of the fact that Republicans, last time they controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency, ran up record deficits and passed a prescription health care benefit -- all things that I was embarrassed of as a Republican.

JOHNS: So what would you do about entitlements if you were the president of the United States?

JOHNSON: Well, first of all, I think that there are those that are truly in need in this country and that perhaps government is the only entity that can help those truly in need.

JOHNS: You've suggested block grants.

JOHNSON: Well, I suggest that when it comes to Medicaid and Medicare, that the federal government cut Medicaid and Medicare by 43 percent. Of course, everybody --

JOHNS: Wait a minute, 43 percent?

JOHNSON: Yes, exactly, 43 percent. So everybody goes, whoa, wait a minute --

JOHNS: Wouldn't that throw people out of hospitals?

JOHNSON: No, no, no. So, do away with the strings and the mandates, give Medicaid and Medicare back to the states. As governor of New Mexico, I would have reformed Medicaid, I'm saving a lot of money. If the strings and the mandates were to have been taken away when came to Medicaid, I would have been made to make Medicaid work in New Mexico for 43 percent less. If Medicare were given to me as governor of the state, I could have made Medicare happen.

JOHNS: I would imagine, though, that people out there watching this who are going to be eligible for Medicare very soon would say, am I going to elect a guy who is saying he's going to cut the program 43 percent?

JOHNSON: Well, not if you think -- not if you don't think that you're going to get essential health care. But the idea would be to actually deliver essential health care.

This is what I heard that this was going to happen in New Mexico given that I was governor. I'd like to point out, Joe, that there was a study or a survey here, a poll two weeks ago, that of all of the candidates running for president, I'm the only one that has favorability in their own state. And I'm the only one.

So, all of these things that I'm talking about, which I talked about as being governor of New Mexico -- the scary things didn't happen. We did a good job. We did a good job of running state government.

And I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think that, number one, I could do this job as president of the United States and do a good job at it.

JOHNS: So you're spending a lot of time in New Hampshire these days? JOHNSON: A lot of time in New Hampshire. I'm putting my chips on the table in New Hampshire. You can go to obscurity to prominence overnight with the good showing in New Hampshire.

Retail politics, that's good. Going out to meet everyone and everyone in New Hampshire takes it on themselves, to meet and talk and discuss the issues with every candidate. That's a great environment.

JOHNS: Governor, thanks so much for coming in.

JOHNSON: Joe, thank you. Thank you.

JOHNS: We'll certainly be watching you.

JOHNSON: All right. Good. Thanks.

 

John King, USA

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