Gary Johnson on the Daily Show

Video of last night’s appearance by Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson on the Daily Show:

42 thoughts on “Gary Johnson on the Daily Show

  1. Eric Blitz

    It was ok. He missed an opportunity when Stewart said the parties are different. He could have said, “they both espouse different policies, yes, but they govern in very much the same way, with the same outcomes.”

  2. paulie Post author

    From a previous post

    Joe Buchman: I stayed up for Red Eye on Fox. IMO he was much better there. Penn Jillette was one of the other guests. Seemed to bring out the best in Gary.

    Me: Know of a clip anywhere?

  3. Robert Capozzi

    A fine performance…I give it a B. What was interesting is that Stewart was so sympathetic he fixed GJ’s answers twice… building excitement like Perot and the “homeless” gaffe. (Aside: I love that Stewart has experience with soapbox lunatics!)

    GJ looked and sounded great, but I do think he needs to get himself really clear with his message and why he’s doing this. I sense some second-guessing and conflict that shows up as rhetorical meandering.

    He also needs to answer the question and then bridge to the answer he wants to give. Sometimes, he jumps right to the latter.

    This stuff takes practice. GJ’s a good candidate who could be a great one.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. paulie Post author

    I wonder if it was against the rules to mention the campaign website or wear a t-shirt or hat with the URL? If not, that needs to start happening in future opportunities.

    Johnson was a bit too laid back and understated for my taste, but that’s his style. I was hoping for some more memorable zingers, but just being there at all was awesome.

    Stewart definitely could have been a lot less friendly.

  5. paulie Post author

    Stewart has experience with soapbox lunatics!

    He lives in NYC (or did while coming up in the business).

  6. Robert Capozzi

    5 p, he should mention the URL, but wearing a hat or T with it would be bush, IMO. He should (and does) look presidential. Leave the fashion stunts to Vermin Supreme….

  7. Oranje Mike

    A homeless guy is better than Obama or Dubya. Don’t knock the homeless guy!

  8. paulie Post author

    @7 If it’s OK to mention it verbally that’s good enough. Some shows may object to that but not necessarily to a visual cue.

    Looking presidential is great but job one is to be memorable. I’m not suggesting Vermin Supreme here, but some kind of prop is nice. A campaign book can serve this purpose; something to remind people to look for more.

    Another politician in a suit is not anything new or memorable, especially if he is low key. Rousing the sleeping rabble takes a bit of rabblerousing.

    I know he has it in him, I saw his acceptance speech in Vegas.

    Yes, too far in the other direction is not good either. There’s a sweet spot in between.

  9. Robert Capozzi

    8 om, really? No fan of W or BHO, but I don’t get the sense that they were so unstable that I was especially concerned about them having the nuclear football. A psych ward graduate…not so much.

  10. Chuck Moulton

    Robert Capozzi wrote (@4):

    A fine performance…I give it a B. What was interesting is that Stewart was so sympathetic he fixed GJ’s answers twice

    I strongly agree on both counts.

    It was great to see Jon Stewart so receptive to Governor Johnson and libertarianism!

  11. Eric Sundwall

    It had to be on during the last minute of the Celtic game . . . Plenty of commercials in between to get an impression.

    I thought he was a bit stiff with the relaxed Stewart. When JS started with the math gig on paper, he could have went with the flow and made some crack. He kinda stiffly pressed on and Stewart relented.

    Fiscal conservative, liberal tolerant seems to be the campaign mantra . . . hard to stir all the passion needed around that though. He might hit some stride over the summer, but there ain’t much time.

    Grab some sigs, have some fun this summer. Obama II won’t be so bad as long as they keep the bubble from collapsing.

  12. Robert Capozzi

    9 p, I think he needs to find his center first. He’s getting there, but if he tries to not be himself, it will come off as false, inauthentic.

    The bit about tap-dancing lessons is not prime time….

  13. paulie Post author

    I agree with being himself. I thought he was himself in the acceptance speech in Vegas. Translating that into an interview format may take some practice. I’ve seen him to do quips and zingers so I’m fairly familiar with his range.

    Substance wise, I like Johnson’s issue focus better.

    Style wise, he could be a little more like Root (and vice versa). There’s a happy medium and it can be learned over time.

    Naturally, he did much better than I would have done, and it’s hard to get these things right and hit the timing under pressure. For many people, over-preparing can also be bad. For others there is no such thing.

  14. Robert Capozzi

    9 p: Rousing the sleeping rabble takes a bit of rabblerousing.

    me: Yes, Manson did that masterfully in assembling the Family.

    Myself, I’d prefer that GJ attract the napping Normals. The rabble scare me…too erratic.

  15. Robert Capozzi

    14 P, yes, I do think that GJ is a Jimmy Stewart sort of dude. But I agree that he could have some zinger lines delivered with his comfortable pacing, with some irony, some sense that he’s sharing an inside joke.

    And, really, the “choice” of Obama or Romney IS a joke. I would have liked to see him challenge Stewart on W vs. Gore and Kerry or BHO vs. Dr. Strangelove (I mean McCain). Pivot that one. Yes, they sometimes SOUND different, but it’s more of the same…more government, more war, etc. etc. etc. Look past the rhetoric; look at the record.

  16. paulie Post author

    See now, I make it clear that I mean an incremental adjustment, and I get back the Manson family, why is that?

    Hit the audience where they live. Stewart has a different audience than O’Reilly, O’Reilly has a different audience than Rachel Maddow, and so on. There is some overlap between all of them, but tailoring a message to the audience and being memorable aren’t calls for busting out the chainsaws, carving up the host and the front row of the studio audience, raping the band and smearing the walls with Beatles quotes in blood.

    Not everything that is memorable is automatically good.

    Blending into the background is also not good when you are trying to break through and get noticed more.

  17. paulie Post author

    I agree that he could have some zinger lines delivered with his comfortable pacing, with some irony, some sense that he’s sharing an inside joke.

    And, really, the “choice” of Obama or Romney IS a joke. I would have liked to see him challenge Stewart on W vs. Gore and Kerry or BHO vs. Dr. Strangelove (I mean McCain). Pivot that one. Yes, they sometimes SOUND different, but it’s more of the same…more government, more war, etc. etc. etc. Look past the rhetoric; look at the record.

    That’s what I’m talking about exactly.

    But don’t get me wrong – being on the Daily Show alone is tremendously awesome and it could have been much, much worse.

  18. Charles Lupton


    From what I’m seeing here is, he didn’t do himself or the campaign any harm, but he could have been better.

    P.S. I missed Red Eye last night, but heard he was good there with Penn as a wing-man. Any know anywhere it’s posted online?

  19. Robert Capozzi

    17 p: I get back the Manson family, why is that?

    me: Oh, probably because your use of the word “rabble.” And my general observation that many Ls luxuriate in being “radical” (e.g., extremist) in the public square because, I guess, it feels “exciting” or something.

    But, yes, incremental tweaks to his presentation to make him more compelling would be progress, agreed. Since the LP is already positioned as an extremist party, I prefer GJ’s lean toward understatement to compensate for the (poor) positioning he inherited. If the viewers’ takeaway is, Hey, this guy seems OK, normal, sensible and I like some/most of his ideas, that sells to the napping Normals. The sleeping Rabble may shout expletives at the TV, but then that’s what the Rabble does, regardless. Malcontents can never really be satisfied.

  20. Ryan C

    I love Gary, but I thought his performance on Daily Show last night was weak. Johnson is in serious need for a debate coach/PR person to help him refine his messaging. His reluctance to listen to other advisors is clearly hurting him.

  21. Thane Eichenauer

    FYI, Fox News has chosen not to make (very many) clips or online versions of Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld available so as to maximize broadcast viewership.

  22. John Jay Myers

    I thought he did good, if this is going to be the critics corner then I would say:
    It seems like he forced the “rock, paper, scissors” thing, which even left me confused about what he was talking about until I went back and watched his last youtube video and thought “aha, I get it now”.

    He needed to set that up better.

    Also I would have pounced on the “the two parties are not the same” line. That was juicy red meat just waiting to be gobbled up.

    Here is a line I have used, “People didn’t vote for Obama in 2008 because they wanted, more wars the Patriot Act, the government even more invasive in our private life and corporatism, that’s what they got, but that’s not what they voted for.”

    I really like much of what he said about the Party.

  23. Austin Battenberg

    First, I agree with #26 completely.

    Here is what I posted in the previous thread:

    “The interview is pretty good. I think Johnson says, “The notion that” too much.

    I have also heard him say in other interviews as well as this one about how Democrats are good on civil liberties and Republicans are good on dollars and cents. I think he gives them too much credit. I understand what he is trying to say, but to the average viewer I think he would be better off saying that they AREN’T living up to what they claim to be good at.

    Overall interview was decent, but not enough to launch is campaign. Could have gone better, and I’m surprised Stewart didn’t have an extended interview like others where they put it online.

    Keep up the good work Gary.”

    I would also like to add that his best moment was the short amount of time he actually spent on issues. Most of the interview was about the politics, but when he actually said “Bring the troops home, end the drug war, balance the budget”, I thought that was the most important part of the interview. After that, he kept saying he wanted to “spread the message”, but without spending too much time on what that message was, it seemed like it was a lost opportunity. He should have mentioned things that would have been red meat to the liberal audience like his opposition to the PATRIOT Act, the NDAA, and his support for abortion and gay marriage.

    It still doesn’t change the fact that he didn’t do poorly, and I know I’m armchair quarterbacking here, but those are just some of my thoughts.

  24. Steven Berson

    Definitely not one of GJ’s better interviews despite Stewart being his usual amicable self, but still decent enough. He could have gotten a bit more points in on what the LP platform actually stands for – and definitely pushed against the notion that the D’s and R’s are any different in the actual policies they implement. Here’s an interview on RT with GJ being more aggressive and outlining his stances much better – although I don’t think this style would work on the Daily Show either – probably something a little bit in between and going with the humor of the event as well would have worked best for the Daily Show audience –

  25. Robert Capozzi

    26 jjm, yes, rock, paper, scissors works in the ad, but didn’t work here. Very forced. Also, there are 3 elements in r/p/s, whereas for all intents and purposes, the current setup is 2 – odds or evens, perhaps. And that’s not a choice in any meaningful sense…

  26. Nick Kruse

    While he wasn’t perfect, he did a lot better than most of us would have done on a show like that so I am not going to complain about his performance.

  27. Robert Capozzi

    31 nk, I’d like to think there’s a difference between complaining and constructive criticism. I’m grateful that GJ has chosen this path, spending his valuable time advancing the cause of liberty. Most posts are mostly for his staff to consider and kicking around ideas with my fellow Ls for how we can be collectively more effective.

  28. Ad Hoc

    Yeah, Colbert appearance was better…

    But the exposure is still good, so keep it going!

    Maher next?

  29. Be Rational

    To Gary Johnson staff:

    When discussing Ron Paul, it would be better to take a positive tack. Keep it positive. Don’t be the bearer of bad news to the Paul supporters. Instead of GJ saying that he doesn’t think Paul will get the nomination but you wish him well etc. Try this:

    “Of course, Ron Paul is still seeking the Repulican nomination. Wouldn’t that be nice … to have a choice of people who believe in less government and more liberty on the ballot, instead of having only Obama and Romney who promise more of the same thing.”

    Leave it at that. No need to mention RP’s likelyhood of not getting the nomination. Everyone knows. It sounds like you’re rubbing it in.

  30. Be Rational

    Overall Johnson did a good job on this appearance. No big sound bites, no big mistakes.

    The “rock, paper, scissors” thing is just noise. Not a mistake, just no connection. Stewart’s counting the difference between 15 and 8 didn’t fly either – Not Gary’s fault – just a failed attempt for a laugh.

  31. Johncjackson

    I got some texts and calls from friends ( mostly apolitical or left) today asking what I knew about Gary Johnson, and I told them in ways that appealed to them. So I know at least a few votes could be affected.

  32. Austin Battenberg

    Now that the California primary is over, I can start convincing all of my friends that I got to vote for Ron Paul to vote for Gary Johnson. Will be easier actually. I agree with @35, a lot of Ron Paul supporters will get rubbed the wrong way by how Johnson is framing Paul’s chances for the Republican nomination.

  33. paulie Post author

    “Watch a battleground play out in the fall, not between Romney and Obama on college campuses but between Obama and Gary Johnson, the libertarian, who I think speaks to a lot of frustration of young people.” – Zogby

    (via Newsmax and facebook)

  34. Charles Lupton

    Dr. Paul released a statement yesterday that said basically he wasn’t going to get the nomination, but is still fighting for delegates to change the GOP.

  35. Paulie

    Maher next?

    Johnson was on before, so hopefully he has the connections to make another appearance.

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