Gary Johnson

September 26, 2012

I am Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for President. AMA.


I am Gov. Gary Johnnson, Honorary Chairman of the Our America Initiative, and the two-term Governor of New Mexico from 1994 - 2003.

Here is proof that this is me:

I've been referred to as the 'most fiscally conservative Governor' in the country, and vetoed so many bills during my tenure that I earned the nickname "Governor Veto." I bring a distinctly business-like mentality to governing, and believe that decisions should be made based on cost-benefit analysis rather than strict ideology. Like many Americans, I am fiscally conservative and socially tolerant.

I'm also an avid skier, adventurer, and bicyclist. I have currently reached the highest peak on five of the seven continents, including Mt. Everest and, most recently, Aconcagua in South America.


To learn more about me, please visit my website: You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr.

EDIT: Thank you very much for your great questions!

Greetings Gov. Johnson,

In your AMA from two weeks ago, I asked the top question, and I was hoping to get your input this time around. Nearly 5,000 users supported it, and +1,000 users said they would pay to see it happen. Here it is:

In the event that the CPD does not let you into the presidential debates, would you please consider participating in a roundtable discussion after each debate with Dennis Kucinich, Jill Stein, Ron Paul, Russ Feingold, and perhaps others where you would all analyze & critique Romney and Obama’s answers?

These discussions could take place over a Google+ Hangout, meaning that you would not all have to be in the same room/state/country simultaneously.

Based on the amount of positive feedback we received, we started r/thirdpartyroundtable to help organize these discussions. Follow any progress we make on Twitter: @ThirdPartyRound

We now have companies that specialize in livestreaming, web developers, and several contacts close to the intended participants that are all onboard to make this happen.

What do you think Gary?

At this time we are committed to 3rd party candidate debates. I don't think we would be interested in the round table discussions. We are planing our own response to the debates.

In NM, you were a prison privatizer. Do you regret that stance now? IOW, are you another wolf in libertarian clothing?

In New Mexico, the prisons were run by the Federal Courts when i took office. The Legislator refused to build two new prisons. On an apples to apples basis the private prisons were 2/3rds the cost of the public prisons.

That is GOOD GOVERNMENT IN MY OPINION ! I always said, adopt rational drug policy and it will be a lot easier to empty the private prisons than the public prisons. Don't for get the biggest opposition to prop 19 in CA was the public prison union

Hi Mr. Johnson,

On your Wikipedia page it states that you "would use [your] presidential power to prevent Israel from attacking Iran". What exactly does that mean and how does it fall under the libertarian "anti-interventionism" standpoint?

Or is whoever edited the page last misquoting you?

I would use the Bully Pulpit of the Presidency to point out that bombing Iran would result in another 100 Million enemies to the country, that otherwise would not have existed. STOP MILITARY INTERVENTIONS !

I'd love to hear this answer as well. At present, this seems like it should have a very high priority on any candidate's docket. We understand that it's a heavily loaded question that would require an extreme amount of nuance to answer, but if you could hit some major points for us, that'd certainly be a great start.

If you were in office right now, for example, how would your policies in this area differ from those of the current president?

At what point - any specific criteria would be great, but I understand that, again, loaded question - would you consider the "window for diplomacy" that President Obama has mentioned officially closed?

I would not close any windows of diplomacy.

I assume it means he wouldnt back Israel and Israel arent going to do shit without the US backing them.

I think that with out US support, that bombing by Israel becomes very problematic

Position on whistleblower Bradley Manning, Assange and Wikileaks.

Assange and Wikileaks, I think are messengers that should not be shot. I am assuming that Bradley Manning violated the terms of his employment, making excuses for his actions problematic.

Gary, my concern is gay rights, and abortion, if you take a Federal government hands off approach, how do you ensure that individual states don't limit these rights?

I think that Marriage Equality is constitutionally guaranteed. I share your concern on abortion rights.

Governor Johnson:

In your opinion, what is the biggest flaw with the Libertarian philosophy and way of thinking?

It may have many flaws. But, I think it is the best philosophy that we have for living our lives.

If you don't make it this time, will you consider running again in 2016?

Also, you want decriminalize marijuana. What happens to those already imprisoned for it?

YES, I would consider running in 2016. I want to legalize marijuana. I would commute drug sentences for people in federal prison on victimless non-violent drug crimes. I do not consider selling Marijuana as having victims.

Also, you want decriminalize marijuana. What happens to those already imprisoned for it?

TL;DR: Pardon non-violent marijuana offenses — and remove marijuana from schedule I of the controlled substances act

I want to legalize marijuana, which deals with buying and selling. I promise to commute sentences for individuals in federal prison who are there for victimless non-violent drug crimes

Any word on getting into the presidential debates?

We have been excluded and we have filed a law suit.

What is your stance on the public school system?

Are you for or against privatizing it?

As Gov. of New Mexico i was more outspoken then any Gov. in the country regarding school choice. I believe the only way we reform education in this country is to bring competition into public education.

What will you do to make it easier for someone to start a small business?

I am proposing the fair tax. which would eliminate income tax, corp tax, and the IRS. I think that will make it easier to start a small business.

First, thank you for taking the time to participate and host another IAMA and to answer our questions. It is greatly appreciated!

I saw that you support the labeling of GMO products and wish to inquire further regarding your views of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)? There has been a revolving door between them and Monsanto for years allowing our food to remain unlabeled and improperly tested. Would you wish to demolish this group similar to Ron Paul or do you have different views of the matter? Also, how do you plan to correct this if you agree that there are problems?

Thanks again for taking the time to read this along with everyone else's comments and questions!

I think that food needs to be labeled. With that labeling, we as consumers can make informed choices on what we want to put in our bodies.

How high are the odds do you think of you winning, or at least making a major dent in the other candidates? Do you think it will give yourself a shot in the future by helping to make yourself more known to the masses?


Thank you for doing another AMA. I really appreciate that you are taking the time to reach out and get in touch with voters. It mean a lot.

You can not win if you are not on the ballot in all 50 states. We are currently on the ballot in 47 states and litigated in the other 3. We have a shot. If everyone will waste their vote on me, I will be the next President of the United States. A WASTED VOTE IS VOTING FOR SOMEONE YOU DON'T BELIEVE IN.

First I want to say that I am ashamed I never heard of you prior to your last Reddit AMA so thank you for doing this. After much research you will have my vote in November. Just some things I want to ask. Your views pretty much match up exactly with mine, however I fear that they look great on paper but in practice won’t fair as well. Does your dramatic stance on no student loans, 43% cut to the federal budget, no farm subsidies, ect. have any previous real world success to show that these policies won’t cause huge disruption or backfire completely?

Also, in general, what are the major differences between you and Ron Paul?

This was the constant criticism of my 8 years as Gov. of New Mexico in a state that is two to one Democrat. I got re-elected by a bigger margin the second time then the first time. In this Presidential cycle I am the only Presidential candidate viewed favorable in His or Her own state. i don't think there are any major differences between me and Dr. Ron Paul.

That cut also goes for NASA. Real progressive if you ask me.

This has to be mutual sacrifice across the board if we are to avoid a monetary collapse. We must populate another planet for man kind to survive what will eventually be the sun encompassing the earth. Just not in the next 30 years.

you've got my vote!

Thank you!

Thank you for providing real hope.

You're welcome. Thank you for your support!

Thanks for doing another one of these Governor Johnson.

I am a Ron Paul supporter and I must admit that I am still undecided as to whether I will vote for you in November or write in his name. I realize that you are also a fan of Dr. Paul and want to carry on his message, but there are a few things that concern me.

One is foreign policy. I know you don't want to start a war in Iran, but what about our countless military bases around the world? I have also heard that you support intervening in Uganda to get rid of Joseph Kony. Fans of Ron Paul seem largely opposed to intervention of any kind, even if it has good intentions. It seems that Kony is no longer a huge issue and that most Ugandans believe intervention would do more harm than good.

And would you support auditing the Fed as Dr. Paul has proposed?

As much as I support Ron Paul I think writing in his name will effectively be meaningless. Count on me to be a military non-interventionist. I think Kony could have been more effectively dealt with by letters of marque and reprisal.

How do we solve welfare dependency?

I am promising to submit a balanced budget to Congress in the year 2013 that will start with a 43 percent reduction in welfare spending.

As a libertarian, do you feel laws restricting a woman's right to choose an abortion go against the tenets of the libertarian ethos? Why, or why not?

I agree.

What to do with all of the unemployed that will result from the sudden drop in spending by the federal government?

Enact the fair tax and I think tens of millions of jobs will be created in this country with a zero corp tax rate.

How would you solve the problem with trying the detainees at Gitmo and how would you bring about an end to the war on terror?

We absolutely need to stop the practice of detainment without charge and torture. Stop the practice of military interventions.

Why do you think deregulation of the medical system will lead to a better system for the average american? As someone with a "pre-existing" condition that would be denied almost everywhere, I can't really vote against my own interests in something to major. Please explain why this logic would fix the system.

I think your issue is something that should be addressed. i just think we have stepped way over that line and the result is a hastening to our impending monetary collapse, where health care won't be available to anybody.

What will be the first thing you do as president?

Produce a balanced budget document.

Gov. Johnson, first I'd like to thank you for doing another AMA. I know your time is valuable, and it says a lot that you would spend so much of it talking to voters and answering our questions.

I have two questions for you this morning:

Again, thank you sir, for your time today!

With regard to libraries this has to be mutual sacrifice on the part of all of us.

How about diplomacy and free trade as opposed to bombs!!

Good morning Mr. Johnson, and thank you for doing this AMA. I have three questions to ask for you today:

1) What is your official stance on the War on Drugs, and how do you plan on handling it?

2) How do you feel about the riots in the Middle East, and how the current administration is handling it?

3) What would be your plan of attack on the deficit, if you were elected?

last answer thank you very much!

  1. Legalize Marijuana, End the Drug War

  2. Get out of our embassies, Stop with our Military interventions

  3. I promise to submit a balanced budget in 2013..


This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Gary Johnson conducted on Reddit on 2012-09-26. The Reddit AMA can be found here.