In a wide-ranging interview on Wednesday night, Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson told longtime CNN host Larry King that if Americans want true change, they should vote for a third party candidate. “Every face on Mt. Rushmore was a third party candidate at some point or another,” he said.
The problem, he explained, is that the Republican Party outright refused to acknowledge him during the primaries, even though he’d achieved enough national support to qualify for some of the early primary debates.
“CNBC would not return our calls as to why I was not given a seat on the debate stage, and the Republican National Committee refused to stand up to me,” he said. “I told them, ‘You have to demand that I be given a seat at the stage, because I’ve qualified to be on the stage. They gave no reason whatsoever — they blew me off.”
And now that the general election is in full-swing, both Republican and Democrats have shut him out through the Commission on Presidential Debates, formed by the parties in 1987. The commissions’ rules bar candidates who have less than 15 percent support nationwide. Prior presidential debates were held by The League of Women voters, but the organization abruptly withdrew its support and called the commission “a fraud” when the parties presented their new rules and refused to budge.
While he’s not likely to make any on-stage appearances with Obama or Romney this campaign season, Johnson is polling around 6 percent support among Americans, and even looks to be a spoiler for Romney in the swing state of Ohio. Considering the vast financial gap between himself and his mainstream opponents, that’s got to count for something.
This video is from Hulu.com’s “Larry King Now,” published October 3, 2012.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.