Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who ran for president as a Libertarian in 2012, tells Newsmax TV there is no question Sen. Rand Paul is retiring his libertarian roots in his quest for the White House.
“If he was a libertarian, he’d run as a Libertarian. He’s a Republican and he said that in his speech,” Johnson said Tuesday on “The Steve Malzberg Show” after Paul announced he was seeking the 2016 Republican nomination.
“He said today, ‘make no bones about it, I’m a Republican, I’m not Democrat Lite in any way whatsoever,’ which really infers that ‘I’m a social conservative.'”
Asked by Malzberg for the definition of Democrat Lite, Johnson said:
“I’ve always said that most people in this country are classic liberals [with] the notion of ‘I don’t care what you or how you live your life as long as it doesn’t adversely affect mine.’
“And most people are fiscally conservative, [with] the notion that we can’t continue to spend more money than what we’re taking in or it’s going to have catastrophic results. In that regard, Rand Paul is just right on.”
Johnson also praised Paul for bringing “a tension to what it is to be a libertarian.”
Meanwhile, Johnson says he continues to mull his own return to politics — as the Libertarian presidential candidate next year.
“I hope to do that again,” he said.
UPDATE: Gary Johnson also appeared on MSNBC today to discuss the same topic: