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Back In The Pack, The Former New Mexico Governor Looks To Break Through

July 5, 2011Posted in Blog, Facebook, Gov. Gary Johnson, Interview, South Carolina, Twitter

From Mauldin Patch in South Carolina by Shaw Drury:

On paper, Gary Johnson looks very good as a presidential candidate. He was a two-term governor of New Mexico—at a time when it was a strong Democratic majority—and boasts strong conservative credentials, having shrunk government and lowered taxes while leaving the state with a budget surplus.

It’s not just on paper where Johnson looks good. In a field of Republican candidates who boast about their commitment to fitness, Johnson is a tri-athlete, having competed in multiple events. Temperamentally, he has shown a willingness to argue a point without personalizing a disagreement.

Where Johnson does not look so good is in the polls. Despite the aforementioned and the fact that he was the first candidate to start his campaign. Johnson has been polling in the 1-2 percent range.

His campaign wasn’t helped when CNN excluded him from the first debate that included all the major candidates on June 20. A decision that brought the network howls of protest from some quarters. Johnson responded to the snub creatively, by answering all the questions that were asked via YouTube.

But if his struggles in the polls are shaking his confidence it did not show in an interview with Patch between campaign stops. “If I didn’t think I could do the job I wouldn’t be doing this and I say that based on my resume,” Johnson said.

The issue for which Johnson has received the most attention is drug policy. He thinks the drug war has been a failure, a belief that his tenure as governor of a border state only confirmed, and is in favor of legalization.

“We’ve criminalized a behavior that 100 million people engage in. And in the wrong set of circumstances they could all be sent to jail for that behavior,” Johnson said. The problem, Johnson believes, lies in enforcement. “We are enforcing drug laws, but they’re terribly discriminatory.”

Johnson’s time leading New Mexico also convinced him that the immigration and drug issues are intertwined. “The violence on the border is all drug-related,” he said.

Read more here

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