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.
Like other third party candidates to come before him, Johnson sued the commission, and his followers have taken to pressuring the group’s sponsors to drop their support.
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.
Photo: Screenshot via Hulu.com.