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Libertarian calls Mitt Romney 'wacky nuts' on immigration

Published: Monday, Oct. 15 2012 10:04 a.m. MDT

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson possesses the potential to do to Mitt Romney next month what Nader did to Al Gore in 2000: siphon off just enough votes as a third-party candidate to swing an entire presidential election. (Charles Dharapak, Associated Press) Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson possesses the potential to do to Mitt Romney next month what Nader did to Al Gore in 2000: siphon off just enough votes as a third-party candidate to swing an entire presidential election. (Charles Dharapak, Associated Press)

Could Gary Johnson become the next Ralph Nader?

Johnson — the Libertarian presidential candidate who will appear on the ballot in 48 states come Nov. 6 — possesses the potential to do to Mitt Romney next month what Nader did to Al Gore in 2000: siphon off just enough votes as a third-party candidate to swing an entire presidential election. To that end, a front-page article in Monday’s New York Times — “Spoiler Alert! G.O.P. Fighting Libertarian’s Spot on the Ballot” — examines multiple ways in which Johnson could directly affect the outcome of the presidential election.

“Now campaigning as the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee, Mr. Johnson is still only a blip in the polls,” Jim Rutenberg wrote for the Times. “But he is on the ballot in every state except Michigan and Oklahoma, enjoys the support of a few small ‘super PACs’ and is trying to tap into the same grass-roots enthusiasm that helped build Representative Ron Paul a big following. And with polls showing the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney to be tight, Mr. Johnson’s once-fellow Republicans are no longer laughing. … Both sides agree that Mr. Johnson, whose pro-marijuana legalization and antiwar stances may appeal to the youth vote and whose antigovernment, anti-spending proposals may appeal to conservative fiscal hawks — and to supporters of Mr. Paul — has the potential to draw from both Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama.”

Johnson is the former two-term governor of New Mexico who spent most of 2011 running for president as a Republican. But to hear Johnson speak, he isn't overly fond of the GOP's nominee.

“I mean Romney, in the second [GOP primary] debate, said that it’s a ‘no brainer’ to build a fence across the border,” Johnson said in a Q&A that Salon.com published Saturday. “You’re talking about somebody right now without one molecule of brain based on his statement. Building a fence across the border would be wacky nuts! And here it is — that’s what he wants to do.”

Within the past week, U.S. News & World Report covered Johnson campaigning on college campuses, and the Washington Post examined Johnson’s campaign presence in the nation’s capitol.

In terms of long-form reporting, Lisa DePaulo’s GQ profile of Johnson from November 2011 still provides unmatched insight into his back-story: DePaulo described Johnson as “a guy who's confident that he knows how to manage the purse strings and balance a budget because he did it — eight years in a row — in New Mexico. His fiscal conservatism is unmatched by anyone in the race. … Even the backstory had a self-made charm: Born fifty-eight years ago in Minot, North Dakota, the son of a tire salesman turned teacher and a mom who worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Johnson started a one-man handyman operation when he was 21, grew it into a construction company with a thousand employees, and sold it in 1999 for about $5 million.”

Jamshid Ghazi Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at jaskar@desnews.com or 801-236-6051.

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