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Link to live CNN Libertarian town hall event

Here’s a link to the live CNN Libertarian presidential town hall happening now, featuring Gary Johnson and his running mate, William Weld:

About Post Author

Krzysztof Lesiak

I've been a contributor for IPR since January 2013. I consider myself to be a paleoconservative. I'm also the founder of American Third Party Report. Email me at


  1. Bondurant Bondurant June 22, 2016

    I wasn’t pleased to see both gush over Obama and Hillary while quick to rip Trump. The latter is a joke and jackass but the previous are both directly responsible for travesties that have lead to the murder of Americans and foreigners across the globe. These kind of comments make the LP look like a “spoiler” and I could see these comments being used to promote such a fallacy.

    The defence of our Second Amendment rights and promoting trade and immigration are solid points, though.

  2. Bondurant Bondurant June 22, 2016

    Wow. Weld continues to wax poetic about Hillary and Johnson is floundering on a simple drug qustion.

    This town hall is tanking fast. They need to vastly improve going into November.

  3. steve m steve m June 22, 2016

    well… the non-libertarians that I have been talking with and watching tonight…. are asking to hear more and seem to be leaning Johnson/Weld over Trump or Clinton

  4. steve m steve m June 22, 2016

    and watching the echos through facebook

    David> Don’t look now. Two intelligent politicians live on CNN.

    Wiley> From what country?

    Barbara> the words intelligent and politician don’t go to-gether

    David> Not sure. Not the blue side. Not the red side. Hmmm. I guess they’re illegal. Don’t worry, they aren’t insulting anyone, or promising to pay for anything, so they won’t get elected.

    Kevin> “I feel Most Americans are libertarians, they just don’t know what that is” lol I love that

  5. Matt Cholko Matt Cholko June 22, 2016

    This performance isn’t going to excite most LP members. I hope some random Joe’s liked it, and it draws them closer to libertarianism.

  6. Election Addict Election Addict June 23, 2016

    “It’s not me you should come to, discontented Democrats. Clinton’s chill with us. She and Obama are wonderful.”

    Ok, then.

  7. T Rex T Rex June 23, 2016

    I am about ready to vote for Castle in 2016. Johnson and Weld never talk about the fraud that is (inflationary) fractional reserve banking. They never talk about the Federal Reserve, despite it being a massive crony-capitalist Klan outifit.

    The shrill woman in the audience yelping about heroin? “Ma’am, you may be upset, but I will tell you to your face that your son’s heroin death will not change my policies. All drugs will be legal under my watch, whether you are shrill about it or not. Don’t like it? Vote for Hillary. Tyranny will not bring back your junkie son or make him employable.”

    Fractional reserve banking is a massive fraud and I won’t vote for someone who thinks it’s hunky-dory.

  8. Darcy G Richardson Darcy G Richardson June 23, 2016

    The number of times Johnson, when struggling with a question, awkwardly turned to his running mate to bail him out was beyond embarrassing. It’s hard to imagine Ron Paul or Harry Browne — or any previous Libertarian presidential nominee, for that matter — coming across in such a pathetic manner.

    And what’s with all of the Hillary adoration?

    It’s really difficult to believe that anybody who was really paying attention was impressed by last night’s performance.

  9. Andy Andy June 23, 2016

    No real libertarian has any admiration for Hillary Clinton. I can’t stand her myself.

  10. robert capozzi robert capozzi June 23, 2016

    aj: No real libertarian has any admiration for Hillary Clinton.

    me: I thought to be L has nothing to do with who one admires, so long as that admiration hurts no one else.

    MNR once suggested that the defining question for Ls is “Do you hate the State?”

    This is all quite confusing. How does one’s emotional reactions have anything to do with politics? Cannot we just look on others as brothers and sisters and yet sometimes disagree with the ACTIONS of our brothers and sisters?

  11. langa langa June 23, 2016

    Why would you “admire” someone who repeatedly spits in the face of everything you believe in? Do you think that, in addition to Hillary, libertarians should also “admire” Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, and all the other mass murderers in history?

  12. Be Rational Be Rational June 23, 2016

    There is a lot to admire about Hillary Clinton:

    You have to admire the way she has taken in hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes, that are reported nationwide and known by everyone, selling out the government wholesale, that she was caught stealing paintings and antiques from the White House, that she has hidden and destroyed government documents without hesitation, and still she maintains her hold on a vast legion of totally deluded worshipers in the Church of Clinton Cult.

  13. robert capozzi robert capozzi June 23, 2016

    L: Why would you “admire” someone who repeatedly spits in the face of everything you believe in?

    me: A good L answer would be: What’s it to you?! It’s none of your fucking business who I admire and why. Right?

    Unlike Rothbard and Rand and their respective cults, I find the “hate the sin, love the sinner” approach far more healthy and productive. That’s the spiritual approach. You may find hating more fulfilling, but I have to wonder just how true that is, deep down.

    And, actually, from what I know of DJT and HRC, both are quite bright and sometimes charming in their own ways. I just think the directions they point to are severely counter-productive. I don’t need to seethe in hatred about their wrong-minded ideas.

    Hate only hurts the hater.

  14. langa langa June 23, 2016

    …I find the “hate the sin, love the sinner” approach far more healthy and productive.

    So, I will ask again: Do you “love” and “admire” Hitler, Stain, Mao, and all the other mass murderers?

  15. Tony From Long Island Tony From Long Island June 23, 2016

    My main concern before watching was how he would come across. I thought this was an excellent opportunity and it was not wasted. Gov. Johnson was exactly right that having Gov. Weld as his running mate was crucial. I actually LIKED that they disagreed on a few things. it showed authenticity.

    The drug question was a loaded question from a mother with a clearly sad story. How do you then turn around and advocate legality? Too much time was spent on the question. Any time spent by an LP candidate discussing any sort of legalization just perpetuates the stereotype of libertarians.

    My biggest hope was the Gov. Johnson wouldn’t lose my vote by backing a radical interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. Thankfully, he did not do that. By the way, if you want to be a Constitutional Originalist, only muskets would be legal.

    I think they both went out of their way not to bash their opponents and it was a breath of fresh air. Say what you want about Mrs. Clinton, but she is much more qualified for the position than Donald Trump. You would give me an entire week and I wouldn’t be able to come up with something positive to say about Mr. Trump (just like over an entire week, President Eisenhower couldn’t come up with something positive to say about Nixon).

    I think it attracted more people than it alienated. Isn’t that the idea?

  16. Jon Jon June 23, 2016

    Well stated, Tony. The problem with the Libertarian Party is that for the most part its members are far outside where the rest of America is. And there aren’t enough of them to elect a president. Their best candidates barely break 1% of the vote. In order to have a serious chance at the White House you need to reach out to enough voters who are unhappy with the other choices. And the way you do that is by proposing sensical solutions, not insane fringe propositions. There are some things I don’t agree with Johnson on, but I agree enough to vote for him. If nothing else, he has proven he is not a slippery politician and he comes across as genuine. As a team Johnson and Weld offer competent executive leadership and that’s what this country needs right now and hopefully it’s what the voters want too.

  17. Bondurant Bondurant June 23, 2016

    Actually, Tony, Hillary is no more qualified to be president than Trump. That is the entire point of running against her. She is the prototype of the tyrannical, sociopathic, warmongering criminal that is far too common in DC. Instead of making the case against her, Weld took every opportunity to promote her. He came across like he was her VP selection.

    Yes the drug question was loaded but the victims of tragedy can be spoken to without kid gloves while still being respectful. Johnson squirmed in his chair and could not articulate his position or that of the LP. He’s clearly not ready for prime time.

    I could probably swallow the pill if it wasn’t so painfully obvious that Johnson wasn’t a rube being used by Weld & CNN to promote Hillary.

  18. Tony From Long Island Tony From Long Island June 23, 2016

    Really? Used by Weld? He set the whole thing up . . . “Hmmm if I could only get Gary to pick me for his VP then maybe I can help Hillary . . . ” Really?

    Sociopath? Why can’t we oppose a candidate without hyperbole? Tyrannical? Yeah…she’s the protégé of Idi Amin and islam Karamov. Ask those who live under a true Tyrant if they’d love to come to the US and live under a President Clinton II. The line would be longer than it currently is.

    Again . . . when the LP has something positive happen, the LP members STILL find something to complain about. and wonder why they can’t break 1%.

    Someone I admire has said on occasion “we can disagree without being disagreeable.” Come on. Stop the vitriol.

  19. Bondurant Bondurant June 23, 2016

    You’re right, Tony. Who cares about her role in Northern Africa and Syria these past few years. All on the up and up. No responsibility at all. In fact, we need more of it. That’s why we should all be “respectful” and vote for her.

  20. Tony From Long Island Tony From Long Island June 23, 2016

    Did I say you should vote for her? As for North Africa, how many congressional investigations are necessary to show there was nothing untoward done by her?

    Syria is a mess, true. But much of the worst of it has occurred after she left office.

    It’s not my place to tell you who to vote for. I will still likely be voting for Johnson – that choice is made easier by living in New York and not having to worry about Trump winning it. But it’s just not necessary to throw around hyperbole. I did not vote for her in the NY Primary, but it was not because she is a “sociopath” or a “tyrant” or because “she’s gong to ABOLISH the 2nd Amendment.” I just felt that she is not the best candidate.

    Feel free to criticize her actions and decisions. That’s what politics is about. But the vitriol is unbecoming and unnecessary.

  21. robert capozzi robert capozzi June 23, 2016

    L: Do you “love” and “admire” Hitler, Stain, Mao, and all the other mass murderers?

    ME: Spiritually speaking, love can have no exceptions, so yes. My assumption is that all brothers and sisters are equally lovable in their essence.

    However, my guess is what you are really asking is do I love their behavior. And the answer there is, Of course not. By all indications, their “lower selves” were pronouncedly insane, and they acted viciously based on their reptilian minds.

    When I was a Randian/Rothbardian steeped in the deontological way, I probably would not have understood my point here. You may not, either. Suffice it to say that I’m operating under a different paradigm, closer to Lao Tzu’s, (the original L, according to MNR).

  22. robert capozzi robert capozzi June 23, 2016

    I give this performance by J/W an A-/B+.

    We can pick the performances apart, but the thrust was: These 2 are serious guys and while they have some quirky ideas, they are likable and trustable, unlike DJT and HRC. They make a good team, and are plausible prez/vps. This year, everyone has a 3rd option.

    In that sense, mission accomplished.

    Gary’s lack of smoothness and aw shucks style COULD be an advantage. He’s a kind, caring man and maybe on the simple side, but his heart is in the right place, and aren’t we all tired of slick pols, and now a bully like Trump.

    Still, he still needs some work. The heroin question could have been handled much better. Here’s a swing:

    First, as a father myself, I can totally relate to what you are saying. If what happened to your kid happened to one of mine, in that moment I would want revenge and action taken.

    That said, having studied the issue closely, I believe we need to be honest. The Drug War, like the Prohibition of alcohol before it, HAS NOT WORKED. There are many theories about why humans desire mood-altering drugs and alcohol, but the truth is almost all of us use them in some form, sometimes, now and historically.

    I believe it’s time to legalize marijuana. Several states have already done so, and if anything, it has made the populations in those states MORE safe and healthy. Marijuana has many medicinal qualities, and many enjoy it to take the edge off. It’s proven to be far safer than alcohol.

    Other drugs are a different matter. Many of them are dangerous. But rather than imprisoning users, I believe it’s time to look at drugs as a public health issue. Indeed, several countries have experimented with decriminalizing and even legalizing some harder drugs, and the results are that associated crime and overdoses have declined dramatically.

    It’s a conversation that’s long overdue.

  23. Rebel Alliance Rebel Alliance June 23, 2016

    WOW. The more Johnson and Weld talk, the more I dislike them. Without the LP label no one would even know they’re “libertarians”. This, from CNN’s townhall review at :

    * * *
    “We are not espousing the legalization of any drugs outside of marijuana,” Johnson said when asked about his drug policies by a mother who said her son was a recovering drug addict. Johnson advocated for harm reduction programs around the world that provide clean needles and supervised injection sites, but stopped short of advocating for the legalization of drugs.

    “It’s prohibition… that kills people,” he said, but then went on to advocate for some prohibition.

    “It seems to me that there’s an inconsistency here,” Cuomo said. “Either you think drugs should be legalized or not.”

    “Keep the drugs illegal,” Johnson said.

    * * *
    Instead of calling for loosening regulations on gun ownership, Johnson defended current laws barring certain types of weapons. “I don’t think our position would be to make it easier” to obtain guns, Johnson said. “We’re not looking to roll back anything.”

    * * *
    Johnson supports a broad-based consumption tax, essentially a levy on goods and services, to replace the federal income tax, which he said would allow him to abolish the Internal Revenue Service as President. But Weld wouldn’t quite go that far.

    “I don’t think we need to go as far as to abolish the IRS,” Weld said.

  24. Tony From Long Island Tony From Long Island June 23, 2016

    Has anyone wondered how REVENUE would be COLLECTED without the Internal Revenue Service? No matter what tax system is in place (and they are not disappearing completely, purists) there still needs to be a way to collect the revenue!

  25. Rebel Alliance Rebel Alliance June 23, 2016

    Well, those who haven’t bothered to read history before 1913 might wonder how that could be done.

  26. Dave Dave June 23, 2016

    I saw something on Jill Stein’s twitter where 87% of voters had no idea who she was. I imagine Johnson is a little better than that, but it’s still pretty likely that over half the country has no opinion of him. Those folks are unlikely to vote for him. Unlikely to vote L in general, given they probably know nothing about the party.

    So speaking frankly, Johnson could have read from the dictionary yesterday and he’d have earned a few votes from people watching who were unaware there was another option on their ballot. I don’t see how this was a net loss for his campaign, and hope he is provided with more opportunities to get out in the public eye (hopefully the debates)

  27. Tony From Long Island Tony From Long Island June 23, 2016

    Yeah, well it’s not 1913 anymore. Since the income tax is part of the constitution, it is likely to exist in some shape or form (hopefully a lower and more simplified form), there needs to be a way to collect it.

    “Utopia is not an option” – Harry Browne

  28. robert capozzi robert capozzi June 23, 2016

    IF there were no personal or corporate income tax, the Code would shrink to basically nothing. There might still be revenue agents to police the FAIR tax, but most likely a lot fewer.

    Abolish the IRS is overstated or a semantical point.

    Just because the Constitution allows for an income tax does not mandate there be one.

    Personally, I’m not crazy about the FAIR tax. Thankfully, GJ has softened on that position. Mostly, he emphasizes simpler and lower taxes, and that’s a winner.

  29. Rebel Alliance Rebel Alliance June 23, 2016

    So you’re saying that after a century of advancements, we cannot do something that had been accomplished before 1913?

    “It’s hard to imagine life without the IRS, isn’t it? I’m Harry Browne, Libertarian candidate for president. I’d like to share a little secret. The US government collects enough revenue from tariffs and excise taxes to fund all the constitutional functions of the government. So if we made the politicians obey the constitution, the government would be so small you wouldn’t have to pay any income tax, which means the IRS would be OUT of business. The IRS, could YOU live without it?” — Harry Browne

    (quote source

  30. Tony From Long Island Tony From Long Island June 23, 2016

    I know what Harry Browne advocated. I’ve read his books. Just because I use a quote from him doesn’t mean I advocate every word he ever espoused. I actually predicted that response after I sent it 🙂

    I voted for Harry Browne in 2000 (Perot in 1996). However, If I had lived the experiences I have had since then, he would not have gotten my vote, but he was a fair and decent man.

    The fun little soundbites like “abolish the IRS” haven’t worked for the last 40 years and they will continue to not work. The American electorate is, granted, not the most astute, but they do need a LITTLE substance.

  31. Be Rational Be Rational June 24, 2016

    “Unlike Rothbard and Rand and their respective cults, I find the “hate the sin, love the sinner” approach far more healthy and productive. That’s the spiritual approach. You may find hating more fulfilling, but I have to wonder just how true that is, deep down.” – Robert Capozzi


    Hate the sin, Love the sinner.

    It’s really hard to understand how anyone can object to this gentle, spiritual approach to humanity that Bob expresses here. It makes like easier to look at human beings and consider them as individuals and to separate out their faults and problems.

    I’m sure that I’m not always able to live up to such a high moral code, but this spirit is truly something to admire. This may be the most important insight that Bob has to pass on to the Libertarian movement.


    It’s also understandable if you hate Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot, the Kims of Korea and other evil mass murderering dictators. That you care about humanity makes it hard to separate the individual from his or her actions. Their actions were surely evil, so it would never be a good public position to declare any love for these people. But, maybe declaring your love for humanity is a better way to sell some of the tough love positions that Libertarians are proposing.

    Even Hillary is easy to hate, as Langa stated: “Hillary is no more qualified to be president than Trump. That is the entire point of running against her. She is the prototype of the tyrannical, sociopathic, warmongering criminal.” That is a good summation of Hillary in action.

    But then imagine … what if poor Adolph had been able to puruse his career in art, with no Great War to fignt in, no US Federal Reserve to join with the Bank of England to destroy the gold standard, inflate the money supply and create the 1929 recession, no Hoover and Roosevelt to turn that little recession into the Great Depression … perhaps we’d be collecting great works from that slightly eccentric, but brilliant artist AH … perhaps evil men and women are created by the times they live in … perhaps we SHOULD hate the sin and love the sinner …

    … as hard as that is … just imagine.

  32. robert capozzi robert capozzi June 24, 2016

    BR, thanks.

    Gandhi’s code is universally applicable, just as the Golden Rule is. It’s also not easy to practice consistently in a world where the unspoken code is: Kill or be killed.

    Technically, my practice is not to “hate” the sin, but rather to call out dysfunction and unnecessary aggressiveness when it seems appropriate to do so. Since dysfunction is pandemic, I tend to pick my spots and consider the audience at the time. Otherwise, one might come across like a schizophrenic, providing non-stop commentary on all that is wrong with the world.

    Yes, it’s possible that if things had broken differently in history, Hitler might not have been Hitler. I don’t know what Stalin’s story was, but ditto.

    Lennon had the right attitude in REVOLUTION. There’s so much dysfunction, sometimes it’s overwhelming. But you know it’s gonna be…all right. The assumption of faith becomes a kind of self-fulfilling prophesy. Find your peace and then do what you will.

  33. Thomas Knapp Thomas Knapp June 24, 2016

    “There might still be revenue agents to police the FAIR tax, but most likely a lot fewer.”

    Well, let’s see. The most recent figures that came up on a Bing search say that the IRS employs about 92,000 people.

    Presumably administering the “prebate” program, which would send a monthly welfare check to every man, woman and child in the US for life would be at least as employee-intensive as Social Security, which employees about 60,000.

    Even assuming that the 45 states which have sales taxes agreed to collect the “Fair” Tax for the feds as part of their existing schemes, there would have to be some kind of processing and auditing function. And then there are the five states with no sales tax (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon) where, if the feds wanted to collect the tax, they would presumably have to set up their own agencies to do so.

    And finally there would have to be some kind of police function to root out fraud and abuse at all ends (e.g. turning “new” stuff into “used” stuff to avoid the tax, failing to collect/remit the tax, etc. at the receipts end, collecting grandpap’s welfare check for years after he dies at the “prebate” end, etc.).

    It seems unlikely that a switch over to the “Fair” Tax would result in any big cuts to the federal tax bureaucracy, unless the economic crash brought on by the transition actually resulted in the complete collapse of the state itself.

  34. robert capozzi robert capozzi June 24, 2016

    TK, as you may recall, I’m no FAIR tax advocate.

    In theory, it might be administered by SS, with some additional staffing. And setting up a sales tax function in some states might entail some start-up costs.

    Of course, this is all theoretical, since GJ — barring a big miracle — will not win. He’s using the FAIR tax as a teaching device, but I certainly think there are better ones.

  35. Andy Andy June 24, 2016

    The FAIR Tax must be a teaching device for what NOT to do if your goal is to achieve more liberty.

  36. Mike B. Mike B. June 24, 2016

    Which word(s) best describe Gary Johnson’s Libertarian Townhall Meeting performance:

    hem and haw
    on the fence

  37. robert capozzi robert capozzi June 24, 2016

    900,000 viewers

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