Former Gov. Gary Johnson (R-NM) announced Thursday morning that he's running for president in 2012, adding a fresh libertarian perspective to a field of candidates touting their social conservative credentials.
The ex-governor is perhaps best known in recent years as an outspoken opponent of the drug war who believes marijuana should be legalized. He's in favor of same sex marriage, saying it would reflect America's commitment to "freedom" and "liberty." And he wants to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Johnson, a long-shot at best for the GOP nomination, first made the announcement on Twitter, following it with a series of tweets previewing his campaign platform.
"Ready for smaller government? More liberty and personal freedom," he tweeted. "Right now, we need to fix the fiscal mess. The writing of a financial collapse is on the wall. Balance the federal budget tomorrow."
The libertarian Republican also unveiled his website, garyjohnson2012.com, which has a tech-savvy layout that includes videos of Johnson explaining his views and allows supporters to stay connected via text messages and social media.
Although Johnson's hard-right fiscal conservatism will fit right in with the base, his social liberalism will make it difficult to gain traction among Republican voters. He faces an uphill climb to gain attention in an already crowded field -- and his name hasn't even figured into mainstream 2012 polling.
[Image credit: Wikimedia Commons]