60 thoughts on “Gary Johnson on MSNBC 1/15/12

  1. Ad Hoc

    Good issue positioning.

    Delivery should ideally be smoother.

    Nice to see him even be invited at all.

  2. Ad Hoc

    I see some people here at IPR have been saying he is a right wing Republican carpetbagger ,,, but he does not come across that way at all in this interview IMO.

  3. D. Lou Shenoll

    These 24/7 Cable News stations need fillers so opportunities exist. Sadly this particular show was prob’ seen by less than 200K viewers. The Networks are much better, but good to see him getting some coverage.

  4. Robert Capozzi

    Nice interview. The way he handled himself on policy was an A. I note that I heard no mention of the FAIR Tax.

    His handling of politics: A+. Discussion about RP…great. Santorum and the evangelists….great. Discussion about “message” v. “winning”…good. I like how he answered the question HE wanted to answer. Could be a bit crisper, though.

    That all said, I would move Heaven and earth not to do TV interviews on a computer connection. I would almost decline an interview rather than look like a bloggerhead.

    If there’s no way to get to a studio, put together nice B-roll and do it on the phone. I’ve got to believe there’s an affiliate in Alb. he could drive down to for this sort of thing.

  5. Rob Banks

    ” The way he handled himself on policy was an A. I note that I heard no mention of the FAIR Tax.”

    Yes, it was very nice to hear a list of positions that did not elicit cringing.

  6. Robert Capozzi

    Andy seems to believe the FAIR Tax is GJ’s signature issue. I’ve not seen that, but this interview seems to indicate that it’s NOT a top issue for GJ.

  7. Melty

    “…for me, running as the Libertarian nominee,…”
    yer gettin a lil ahead o yerself Gary, or are ya hypotheticly speaking?

  8. George Phillies


    Prevaricating is more like it.

    If he had said he was ‘a Libertarian Presidential candidate’, that would be exactly correct, just like Mitt Romney saying that he is a Republican Presidential candidate. But claiming to be the nominee is a lie.

    On the other hand, when you advocate a 30% sales tax, national welfare checks in the form of a tax rebate even if you pay no tax, and military tribunals and thus all the categories of evidence that they admit at least on occasion, and then claim that you are a libertarian, well, what can I say?

  9. Rob Banks

    Your last paragraph @9 sounds nothing like the image Johnson portrays in this interview.

  10. AnthonyD.

    George @ 9,

    are we going to start excoriating possible LP candidates for misspeaking? In any case, even if it was intentional, this is standard operating procedure in presidential politics. Folks running for the GOP nomination repeatedly say things like “When I am President…”

    Okay, you don’t like the Fair Tax, I get it. Let’s not go overboard with our criticisms.

  11. Thomas L. Knapp

    Probably not a good idea to be hyper-sensitive about it, but:

    – The interview opens with the host welcoming “Gary Johnson, presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party …”

    – Johnson, inline, says “for me, running as the Libertarian nominee …”

    To those who don’t follow internal LP politics, it sounds very much as if this guy has already been nominated.

    It would be wrong to assume that Johnson is intentionally playing it that way … the first time.

    But now that it’s happened once, watch and see if he starts watching his own language and making sure hosts have the background to introduce him as “a candidate for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination,” or if he lets it keep sliding like that. That will tell you something about his honesty or lack thereof.

  12. George Phillies

    @12 That’s because I paid attention to his complete set of stands, including the bad ones.

    @13 No, this is NOT the standard procedure with other parties. They are called Democratic “Presidential candidates”, but no one is referring to Gingrich as the “Republican nominee”.

  13. AnthonyD.

    As an aside here, I have to tell everyone I was listening to a syndicated radio show, The Bill Cunningham show, late last night and WAR was on (he is on the show regularly).

    Now Bill Cunningham is an entertaining host, but hold some unusual positions. He has repeatedly said Ron Paul is the best candidate in the field, then makes outlandish comments about firebombing Iraq and Afghanistan. Whatever. He is first and foremost an entertainer.

    In any event, the discussion centered around these Marines who urinated on the dead “terrorists,” and Cunningham repeatedly tried to draw WAR into a beligerent foreign policy stance, bombing the twenty largest cities in Iraq, killing all the “men and chickens and goats” in the cities, and so on.

    To WAR’s credit, he repeatedly refused to take the bait, and on more than one instance took a Paulian stance of “we have no business being there, they don’t like us, we can’t be the policemen of the world, and we spend a trillion dollars and they still hate us.”

    I was quite surprised.

  14. Curt Boyd

    He’s very similar to Ralph Nader, in that he has solid ideas about what he wants to do, but is very long winded in drawing them out. Very good interview though. I’d like to see him get the nomination.

  15. Thomas L. Knapp


    “That all said, I would move Heaven and earth not to do TV interviews on a computer connection. I would almost decline an interview rather than look like a bloggerhead.”

    Actually, that may be a strength. It has the gritty feel of an “out on the campaign trail, doesn’t have time to travel to a studio and sit in makeup for two hours” thing. It’s subtly anti-Establishment. It says “this is not a pre-fab thing, a photo opp with some softballs.”

    My guess is that if you look at news coverage over the last 10 years or so, the credibility of e.g. reporting on foreign wars took an uptick when they started doing those sat-phone stories, instead of some talking head in an obviously behind-the-lines mockup/soundstage type presentation.

    It’s a little edgy, but not fringy, per your take on the way things should be policy-wise. Presentation is just as important as policy. Trying to look exactly like those other guys is a losing game. Not only is it harder, but even if you manage it, you gain nothing.

  16. Robert Capozzi

    On my phone, so, was it in the subjunctive?

    Even if it wasn’t, it would a slight slip of the tongue. Flip out at one’s own peril…

  17. Thomas L. Knapp


    I’m not flipping out. In fact, I’m specifically saying “he’s just coming in, give him some time to find his feet on the interview host prep material and the candidate’s phrasings.”

    But at some point if it continues to be “the nominee” instead of “candidate for the nomination,” then understand that there’s some dishonest positioning occurring, and decide whether or not you’re down with that.


    Yes, it looked odd. And it may or may not be optimal. But it’s not like he was speaking from a basement wearing a ski mask with Arabic writing on the wall. It was a little edgy, a visible but not deranged offset from the “blow-dried” stuff that people have been complaining about since Ross Perot mentioned it. It looked “outside the Beltway.” That can be a good thing.

  18. Steven Berson

    I’ve watched videos of all of GJ’s nationally broadcast interviews from to date since (i.e. CNN, Fox Business Channel, Current TV, and now this) – and in each of the previous ones he took some time to make it clear that him being the LP nominee is definitely not a done deal and that there were other candidates that he need to win in debate against – and that he was looking forward to this process. Seems to me that the glossing over this was not all that deliberate – or he was just trying to keep some of the limited time allotted to get to the message – which I’d say he still needs to get better at focusing and delivering it in a compelling way.

  19. Andy

    “Robert Capozzi // Jan 16, 2012 at 5:50 am

    Andy seems to believe the FAIR Tax is GJ’s signature issue. I’ve not seen that, but this interview seems to indicate that it’s NOT a top issue for GJ.”

    I never said that the Fair Tax is his signature issue, but it is ONE of his top issues. I’ve heard Gary Johnson mention replacing the current income tax system with the Fair Tax in multiple speeches, debates, and interviews since he’s been on the campaign trail.

  20. paulie Post author

    I’ve watched videos of all of GJ’s nationally broadcast interviews from to date since (i.e. CNN, Fox Business Channel, Current TV, and now this)

    If you know where they are on youtube I’d like to put up the clips here.

  21. paulie Post author

    never said that the Fair Tax is his signature issue, but it is ONE of his top issues.

    In this interview it did not seem to be among his top issues since he chose a bunch of issues he wasn’t asked about and didn’t bring it up at all.

    I hope that’s a good sign of what’s to come; I guess we’ll see.

  22. D. Lou Shenoll

    Three Tokes OVER the line SWEET JESUS, Three Tokes over the line….- LOL

    @ 20 You would have been disshoveled (sic?) Sunday morning if your hot lil’ fiancee’ had been playing with your “hair” all night long, Capozzi !

    The next check you send in Capozzi, you need to attach a note requesting them to hire a professional to coach him on appearance and delivery skills ! Yes it was refreshing to not hear the FRAUD TAX mentioned. He needs to DROP that and his support for military tribunals NOW, early in his LP run and it will be MUCH easier for him in Vegas ! I know you can handle getting him the message Capozzi , a grateful nation thanks you !!!!!!!!

    @15 “but no one is referring to Gingrich as the “Republican nominee”.”

    except the Knappster !!! – lol

    sadly Knapp the EXTREME religious right met over the weekend and voted to back the very DANGEROUS, Corrupt HYPOCRITE, “knuckle-dragging Neanderthal “, nutcase, CHICKENhawk, WW3 headed Santorum.

    Santorum Betrayal – http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5Aohgrn1peA

    {Santorum} One of the 3 Most Corrupt Senators, Also a Draft Dodger and Chickenhawk
    “I think some things maybe were maybe taken out of context. So I will not call him the knuckle-dragging Neanderthal that perhaps others would want to call him — I’ll let his wife call him that instead.” — Sarah Palin, after Santorum criticized her.
    Source-Beyond Delay: The 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress (and five to watch), CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington), 2006

    so LEROY newt’s battle for the nom became even harder.

    …But ultimately, Gingrich is amazingly similar to Bill Clinton – both are pot smoking, draft-dodging adulterers from poor Southern families…
    “We would have won in 1974 if we could have kept him out of the office, screwing her [a young volunteer] on the desk.” – Dot Crews, his campaign scheduler at the time.

    @16 Glad to hear WAR is doing MUCH better in his evolution. As most of new recruits do, the more they read and associate with other Ls the more libertarian they become !!!

    That 21% in IA and 24% in NH can embolden(sic?) others to imbrace(sic?) a harder line on a NON-Interventionist foreign policy. No one needs to doubt, the vast majority of American Citizens are tired of never-ending war. End ALL war, NOW. Ten years is insane, bring the troops home, NOW.

    America cannot afford to be the policeman of the world. WAKEUP, friends!

  23. Richard Winger

    Newt Gingrich was born and raised near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He only ended up in Georgia because his stepfather was in the military and the military re-positioned them in Georgia while Gingrich was in high school.

  24. AnthonyD.

    D. Lou Shenoll @ 26,

    Not that I completely trust WAR, but he sounded much better than he has previously.

    I’ve always said the guy is an indefatigable activist for libertarianism. If he could swallow his pride a little, I think he would be great as a Libertarian canidate for mayor of Las Vegas, or some similar city (thus removing foreign policy from his platform).

    As a businessman, the one thing he is on fire for is the reduction of obstacles that are in the way of the business community.

  25. AnthonyD.

    George Phillies @ 15,

    you know, I gotta tell ya, I just don’t care. I personally couldn’t possibly use that, slip of the tounge or not, as a reason not to select him as our nominee.

  26. Here's a radical idea

    Ole George is always looking for the negatives, not the positives. Any slip of the tongue and one is doomed. It is what it is with ole George.

  27. Darryl W. Perry

    @9 “a tax rebate even if you pay no tax”

    Actually the “Fair Tax” calls for a prebate, whereby every household gets a check at the beginning of the month for an amount equal to the estimated amount of sales tax the average family (of that size) will spend on “basic needs” for the coming month.
    Technically, not a “rebate”

  28. Robert Capozzi

    26 d, sure, Jesus and Buddha could have presented their messages more skillfully, as not all have been persuaded by their messages of love and peace. I do think GJ’s message could be presented greater impact, too. Aside from the “nominee” faux pas, I’d say GJ’s WORDS were among the best I’ve HEARD from him. The look if it was IMO sub-optimal.

  29. Steven Berson

    whoops – that 2nd link was an old one from when he was running as an R. But the 1st and 3rd are recent.

  30. D. Lou Shenoll

    Gary Johnson Townhall in Washington, DC – Nov. 17, 2011- http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=KuS_VAfc51A&NR=1

    Here’s one you can mull over if you have thirty to spend.

    As I’ll preach until it happens, if never, he needs to DUMP the FRAUD TAX and support for military tribunals NOW, early in his LP campaign! Who knows Dr. Phillies may second his nomination !?

    ER Well, Naw guess I was getting carried away there for a sec,
    (we mustn’t turn the house keys over to the first bum our daughter drags home from school !!!-remember?!)

    Gary Johnson 2012: Introduction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=9XsRN5CWKrc

    Gary Johnson 2012: War on Drugs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwNz6mrEXoE&NR=1

    Gary Johnson 2012: One Dollar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLbN3fZjkHM&feature=digest_refresh_thu

    GEEZ, these guys around him think small ! A buck !?

    Time to THINK BIG !!

    $2,400 please !!!

  31. Christopher S. Thrasher


    Dr. Phillies,

    Since I first met you in 2008 while working for Mike Gravel’s campaign, I have had a great respect for you and your opinions regarding the Libertarian Party.

    I have not always agreed with you, but your arguments are usually respectful, well-sourced and thought out.

    It is for this reason that I simply do not understand your comparison of Bob Barr and Gary Johnson.

    Ignoring the obvious policy differences between the two (Johnson being exponentially more libertarian than Barr), I’d like to simply compare the way each has handled campaigning for the Libertarian Party nomination:

    1. Bob Barr hid his intentions (though it was perhaps the worst-kept secret in 2008), and did not announce his candidacy until after the last LP state convention was held.

    Gov. Johnson has announced his candidacy well ahead of time, and has committed to traveling to as many state LP conventions as possible (including this weekend’s convention in NY).

    2. Bob Barr refused to participate in debates with other candidates, both because of his status as a non-candidate during the state conventions, and during the national convention (with the exception of the CSPAN debate).

    Gov. Johnson has debated, and will continue to debate other Libertarian candidates. He has even held online town hall meetings with the explicit purpose of engaging Libertarian party members and delegates.

    3. Bob Barr went out of his way to distance himself from the LP. There was no LP branding anywhere in sight on anything campaign related.

    All you have to do is go to Gov. Johnson’s website, and what do you see but a big ol’ yellow LP logo right there on the front page.

    I understand that the nuances of Gov. Johnson’s positions are under scrutiny, and I welcome discussions and debates regarding the issues. But the charge that the Gary Johnson campaign is and will be just like Bob Barr campaign is simply ridiculous.

  32. George Phillies


    Barr at least served on the LNC first. Johnson is switching parties, at the turn of the year. But they are both very recent party switchers — carpetbaggers looking for a free ride without having helped to build the party first.

    Barr started close to zero financially; we shall see where Johnson is as of the end of December.



  33. Robert Capozzi

    36 gp, did you forget RP or are you making some other exception in that case? Barr’d been an L for a few years, iirc. GJ received his first communion in the 90s. I do believe RP had the least “official” LP standing in that sense.

    Help us understand…

  34. George Phillies

    @41 I was not looking back that far, but very few people who were there at the time to make the comparison. Also, I don’t recall ever having seen an extended description of when the 1988 candidate switched parties, so I don’t know off hand if you are correct or not. You could also have asked exactly when Browne became active in the party; that was iirc several years earlier. Johnson may have been a Libertarian in the 90s, but he then switched parties and became a Republican, and ran for office as a Republican.

  35. Derek

    Gary has gotten better at curbing his rambling. The reason he didn’t mention the FairTax is that the topic didn’t come up. At least not until the end. If she had let him go on about the monetary collapse he would have gotten to it.

    There are several (6 as of tomorrow night) 90min townhall chats on Yowie.com, with more scheduled. If you’re looking for clips, you can probably cull from there. His message and platform haven’t changed with his change in Party, so stuff from his republican run is still relevant.

  36. Thomas L. Knapp


    “You could also have asked exactly when Browne became active in the party; that was iirc several years earlier. ”

    My recollection is that he joined the party in 1994, at about the same time as he announced his presidential candidacy.

    Prior to that he eschewed political activity himself and discouraged voting by others.

  37. Robert Capozzi

    42 gp, iirc, RP sent his Dear Frank letter of resignation from the GOP, and perhaps months later joined the LP and announced his candidacy. The LNC Chair, Jim Turney, at the time encouraged him to run, I witnessed that. The transition from R to L probably happened in a matter of months.

    You seem to have a theory that LP prez candidates need to have a specific period of penance. You should consider laying it out, e.g., the LP nominee should be exclusively a member of the LP for 5 years prior to the nominating convention, or something. If you feel this strongly, you should draft it up and submit it to the Bylaws Committee.

  38. Melty

    Oh, don’t get me wrong fellas. I’m delighted Johnson jumped into the LP.

    What da Knappster sed @14.

    Seein as we’re comparin, how bout Mike Gravel fer comparison. Had I been able to go be a delegate, I’d’ve voted fer him.
    He was Miky-come-lately, but he pledged to stand by party platform, right? Swell guy, I hung out with him. He had an ulterior motive, not at all secret – to push his direct democracy ideas. I thought he was our best choice last time round. .. .but that was long long ago, in the beforetime

    Anyhow, now that Johnson’s LP, if he keeps himself at least as libertarian on evrything as Ron Paul, we’ve got something really super here.

  39. Melty

    in da vid @47 Gary Johnson makes a point to clarify with Judge Napalitano “IF I get nominated”. There ya have it.

    Also in da vid, Johnson said about three times, “government out of the bedroom” … miraculous! I think sex rights for all should be front n center talking point for Libertarian Party. …so far sooo good

  40. Robert Capozzi

    thanks, p. Contrast this with the MSNBC vid, the in-studio look works WAY better for me.

    GJ said “fiscal conservancy” 2x. I’d not heard the term before…is he trotting out a new term, or did he mean “fiscal conservative”?

  41. Melty

    vid @48
    Johnson sez if he gets nominated he’ll “be on the ballot in 50 states” again. He needs a qualifier in there like “maybe” or “almost”.

    From two minutes on he responds to the shitty old give-the-win-to-Obama question by positioning himself as the man for disgruntled democrats. Fabulous! I’d not be surprised if Johnson beats out out Ed Clark!

  42. The George fan club

    Who else besides George Phillies is capable of being POTUS? Who else besides George Phillies is capable of being the LP national chair?

  43. Pingback: Video: Gary Johnson on CNN and Fox after Party Switch to Libertarian | Independent Political Report

  44. paulie Post author


    Online Town Hall: Tomorrow Night January 19, 2012
    January 18, 2012Posted in Blog, News, Uncategorized

    Tomorrow evening, January 19, I will be hosting an On-Line Conference exclusively for key supporters, such as yourself, in the Southern states. Joining me as co-host will be the South Carolina Libertarian Party Chairman Victor Kocher. We will begin at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and to participate, just go to http://www.GaryJohnson2012.com.

    I am committed to keeping the lines of communication wide open with friends and supporters such as you. I need your input, I want you to be a key part of our campaign strategy, and I want to insure that you have the opportunity to share your views directly with me. We have found that on-line video “chats” such as tomorrow evening’s are an excellent way to accomplish that communication, and I urge you to participate if you can.


    Again, just go to http://www.GaryJohnson2012.com at 8:00 p.m. EST tomorrow evening and join what I am sure will be a great opportunity for us to talk about the campaign, the issues, and the exciting weeks ahead.

  45. D. Lou Shenoll

    Smart how he plays at the same time the Rs debate on CNN in SC.

    Hope someone will point blank tell him to DROP the Fraud TAX and Military Tribunals for Gitmo detainees.

    I would, but I’ll be waiting to hear Dr. Pauls 89 seconds he gets to talk in the 2 hour debate.

  46. paulie Post author

    Hope someone will point blank tell him to DROP the Fraud TAX and Military Tribunals for Gitmo detainees.

    I would, but I’ll be waiting to hear Dr. Pauls 89 seconds he gets to talk in the 2 hour debate.

    There have been and will be other town halls with Johnson that are not up against the Republican debates, Paul is getting more time in the debates and they do get shown again on TV as well as on youtube, or you could tape it.

  47. mootsagootsa

    Gary Johnson is exactly what this country needs right now. I hope he gets the publicity he needs to pull off the upset of the century. He gets my vote if he can get the nomination.

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