H/T Mike Riggs at Reason.com blog:
Ron Paul campaign manager/spokesman/family member Jesse Benton told reporters during a phone conference May 15 that there would be no chance of any endorsement of Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson by Ron Paul. Benton said that Ron Paul endorsing Republican presumptive nominee Mitt Romney was not out of the question.
According to another article at Reason by Brian Doherty, Benton acknowledged that Ron Paul is unlikely to have enough delegates to be able to block Romney’s nomination. Benton
stressed they still hope to come in with the largest delegation of Paul supporters into [the Republican national convention in] Tampa they can […] he stresses again and again that respect and decorum are their desired name of the game for every step of the process, which he thinks will help Paul people become a “stronger voice in the Party.” To some Paul fans, talk of “decorum” has a bit much of the feel of giving in to procedural tricks or bullying on the part of the Party establishment.
While any agreement on things like a speaking slot or an endorsement between Paul and Romney is roundly denied, Benton does speak of “contact with the Romney campaign” on platform issues, especially Federal Reserve transparency, prohibition of indefinite detention, and “Internet freedom.”
The campaign also wants to make sure that their people are able to “vote on rules for the next four years and create a favorable rules environment for our people and set the stage for other liberty candidates to rise in the GOP.
Doherty’s article goes on to say
Benton refuses to say Paul will endorse Romney, he believes that “if our ideas are embraced and treated with respect, I think the GOP has a very good change to pick up a substantial number of votes” from Paul people. “If we are treated like in ’08, then I think a lot of people will stay home or sit on their hands.”
Benton says there is “no chance” of an endorsement of Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party.
He hopes their troops do not feel “abandoned” by the perception of a Paul drop-out.
He says worries about whether Obama might beat Romney without a Paul endorsement will not compel Paul to give such an endorsement.
Riggs’ article provides the Johnson campaign’s reaction:
Ron Nielson, Johnson’s senior advisor [P: Campaign manager, as far as I know?]
“Continuing and growing the Ron Paul revolution is not about endorsements. It is about making sure civil liberties, non-intervention and a real commitment to smaller government are in the national conversation, and they will not be if the conversation is only between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. While Governor Johnson would obviously like to have Congressman Paul’s endorsement, we have not asked for it, nor do we expect it. Ron Paul has an important role to play in the Republican Party in the months ahead, and Governor Johnson has an important role to play in offering voters a third choice in November.
“We are confident that Governor Johnson will successfully appeal to Ron Paul voters on the basis of shared values and his position as the only proven proponent of constitutionally-based smaller government and an anti-war foreign policy based on non-intervention.”
Ron Paul ran as a Libertarian for President in 1988, but has served separate stints as a Republican in Congress before and since, and has run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and 2012. His son Rand Paul is a freshman US Senator from Kentucky and is considered by many to be a future presidential aspirant as early as 2016; other Paul family members are also rumored to have a possible future in politics.
Subsequent to his return to Congress as a Republican, Ron Paul has continued his involvement with alternative political parties to some extent, speaking at a number of their events and endorsing a number of their candidates. He reportedly supported Libertarians Harry Browne and Michael Badnarik for President (note: I have not researched sources for this claim and will correct this if it is shown to be erroneous).
In 2008, former Republican Congressman Bob Barr, a Libertarian National Committeeman in 2006-8 who had also supported Badnarik, ran as the Libertarian presidential candidate and famously earned the Paul campaign’s ire by first agreeing to, then at the last minute refusing to participate in a joint press conference with Dr. Paul, Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin, Ralph Nader (who was running as an independent, as he had in 2004, and ran as a Green in 2000 and 1996), and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney. The press conference was planned as a way to announce agreement between these candidates and Dr. Paul on several key issues, and in turn Paul was to suggest that voters consider these four candidates as better alternatives than Obama and McCain without making a specific endorsement. After Barr, who was on the premises, refused to appear with the group on stage and instead offered Ron Paul to become a substitute VP candidate for the Libertarians, Paul responded by endorsing Baldwin.
According to Riggs
Johnson endorsed Ron Paul in 2008. The press release announcing Johnson’s endorsement was titled “‘Veto Johnson’ endorses ‘Dr. No’ for president,” and was distributed by Jesse Benton.
Johnson ran for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, even though Ron Paul was in the race, but after failing to gain traction switched to the race for the Libertarian nomination on Dec. 28, 2011. Upon his exit from the Republican field, Johnson suggested that anyone that would continue to participate in the Republican nomination process should support Ron Paul. For his part, Bob Barr endorsed Newt Gingrich and more recently, with Gingrich’s exit from the race, Mitt Romney.
Several IPR readers have pointed out that the sources we have seen do not say whether Benton was asked about the possibility of Ron Paul endorsing the Constitution Party nominee, as he had in 2008 (this time, Virgil Goode, a former member of Congress who served as a Democrat, Independent and a Republican in office). If other readers know of sources where Benton was asked about this, please let us know in the comments.