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Independent Gary Johnson: 'I am the compromise candidate'

By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader

August 25. 2016 9:01PM
Libertarian Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees Gary Johnson and Bill Weld visit the New Hampshire Union Leader offices on Thursday. 

The Libertarian Party ticket spent Thursday in New Hampshire, shaking hands in downtown Manchester, holding a rally in Concord and discussing topics ranging from a carbon tax to the zombie apocalypse.

Former Govs. Gary Johnson of New Mexico and Bill Weld of Massachusetts also said they are climbing in polls and are pursuing several strategies to get Johnson, the presidential nominee, into the televised presidential debates.

Johnson envisioned neither Democrat Hillary Clinton nor Republican Donald Trump winning the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the presidential contest.

At that point, the presidency would be decided in the House of Representatives, something that has never happened in modern times.

“If that scenario actually unfolds and it goes beyond one ballot, I think I’m the next President of the United States because I would be the compromise candidate,” Johnson said.

The Concord rally took place during a light but steady rain.

“You really are our kind of people,” Weld told a crowd of a few hundred at the State House. “You are going to see us back here often.”

Bringing lawn chairs to the speech were Debra Littlefield and her son, who live in Laconia.

She was upset that she was kicked out of the Donald Trump rally because her son lacked tickets to the event.

Johnson supporters seem like everyday people, she said.

“You don’t see a bunch of stuffed shirts here,” Littlefield said.

Both Johnson and Weld sat down with a reporter and editors at the New Hampshire Union Leader for an interview.

Libertarian Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees Gary Johnson and Bill Weld visit the New Hampshire Union Leader offices for a live discussion of their candidacy.





Johnson attempted to clarify issues he said he had been misrepresented on.

On Wednesday, he told Vermont Public Radio that if vaccination were a federal issue, he would “come down on the side of science and I would probably require that vaccine.” But on Thursday, Johnson said that he wants parents to be able to decide if they want the vaccinate their children.

He envisioned one scenario of mandatory vaccination.

“I don’t know if the federal government really is going to get involved in this, but if it’s the zombie apocalypse and herd immunization really does exist, as President of the United States I’m going to have to order mandatory immunization,” Johnson said.

Earlier this week, Johnson praised a tax on carbon emissions as a free-market approach to problems of climate change.

But on Thursday, he stressed he has not proposed a carbon tax. He likes it in theory, but is wary of complexities.

“I’m kind of ruling it out at the moment, because of just how complex I’ve been made aware that it is,” Johnson said. He said he still likes the theory, but he won’t be advocating for it.

Weld said Vancouver has implemented a carbon tax in a revenue neutral fashion.

“If it could convincingly be represented as a fee and if it was revenue neutral, there are enough positive aspects to it that it might be worth looking at,” Weld said.

Johnson said he would raise the retirement age in an effort to shore up Social Security. He also mentioned means testing and increased contributions.

“We’re not talking about really raising taxes. These are retirement accounts that need to be solvent,” Johnson said.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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