Green Party's Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson Face Off in Third Party Presidential Debate

CHICAGO—The Free & Equal debate that featured the four primary third party candidates at Hilton Chicago last night wasn’t pretty but it sure as hell was more interesting than the three official presidential debates between Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.

Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, the only candidates present at the debate that are on the ballot in enough states to actually win enough electoral votes were the primary attractions and they frequently sparred but without calling each other out.

Johnson, a former New Mexico governor and Stein, a frequent candidate for public office in Massachusetts, agreed frequently on things like the war on drugs and reducing the size of America’s but differed immensely on public education.

While Johnson explained how federal subsidization of student loans has enabled the soaring costs of higher education, Stein countered that a college degree should be free to all who seek it.

“I think it is time to make public higher education free,” Stein said, noting that it has happened before in America with the G.I. Bill.

“Throughout the 20th century we provided a high school education for free to our younger generation. Why? Because it was essential for economic security and we owed it to our younger generation to give them a secure start in their economic lives. In the 21st century, a high school degree won’t cut it. You need a college degree in order to have economic security so it’s only right that we should now be providing that for free,” Stein said.

Virgil Goode, a former Virginia congressman and current presidential nominee of the Constitution Party, added that the country simply cannot affort to give more Pell grants and guaranteed student loans.

Like Johnson, Goode is jockeying for the coveted Ron Paul vote. Goode attracts the paleoconservative wing of the Paul vote but his support for the war on drugs could be a major deal breaker. 

There was a sizable Ron Paul presence in the debate hall and they expressed their displeasure with Goode when he voiced his opposition to legalizing drugs.

“Let’s be clear about my position on this: unlike Gary, unlike Rocky, and unlike Jill I am not for legalizing drugs. If you want that don’t vote for me,” he said.

When Johnson expressed his support for legalizing marijuana he drew thunderous applause from the crowd.

“I’ve drank alcohol, I’ve smoked marijuana. I don’t drink alcohol now, I don’t smoke marijuana but I can tell you categorically in no category is marijuana more dangerous than alcohol, and yet we are arresting 1.8 million people a year in this country on drug-related crime, we have the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world, 2.3 million people, half of what we spend on law enforcement and the courts is drug related, and to what end?” Johnson said.

Goode is on the ballot in approximately 29 states. 

Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson, the former mayor of Salt Lake City, aligned with Stein for much of the night and frequently with a more populist tone.

“We are on the road to totalitarianism," Anderson said when talking about the National Defense Authorization Act.

Anderson is on the ballot in 16 states and valid as a write-in candidate in several others. 

The debate opened on an odd note when co-moderator Christina Tobin asked a complex question about top two primaries, a voting system where party primaries are eliminated and all candidates are forced to compete in the same primary for the top two spots.

Stein, Goode, Anderson, and Johnson all answered the question but only Johnson made an effort to keep the debate focused on relevant policy instead of ballot access minutiae. The candidates were made aware of this question before they took the stage. In an interview after the debate Tobin defended her question and confirmed that this was the only question the debate participants knew of in advance.

A second Free & Equal third party debate is scheduled for October 30 in Washington, D.C. between the top two vote getters in their online post-debate poll. 

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    What irrelevant and age addled moderator can we look forward to for the next one?

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Regis still around?

  • Loki||

    "Who want to be a millionaire the president!"

  • The Craig||

    Anderson is on the ballot in 16 states and valid as a write-in candidate in several others.

    I live in Maryland and when I received my ballot preview, Santa Claus was listed as a write-in for president.

  • Rich||

    Grow up, man.

    It's your father.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Whereas the President is more likely to ask, "Who's your daddy?" as his drone minions ass rape you.

  • Flatulent Monkey||

    Would that be the RQ-7D (STEVE SMITH variant)?

  • The Craig||

    I should have googled first. Santa does exist

  • Ken Shultz||

    “I think it is time to make public higher education free,” Stein said, noting that it has happened before in America with the G.I. Bill.

    See, I thought for sure the taxpayers paid for the G.I. Bill--I learn something new every day!

    'cause if I'm paying for it, it's not exactly free.

    So, I don't know where Stein is getting all this free money--maybe she thinks it grows on trees? I know I'm workin' my ass off for mine; there ain't nothin' free about any of the money that comes out of my wallet.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    She's from Massachusetts. QED

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Taxpayers, and each succeeding round of students that had to face the inflated tuition costs due to artificially motivated demand.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    *crickets*

    Hope you all and the other 6 people watching this had fun. The REAL outside contender?

    Almanian - 2012
    So Stealth, I Don't Even HAVE a Political Party

  • ||

    I like your style. I'll write you in as my VP.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    But which Almanian? The original or the evil twin?

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Doppleganger - "You Elected Him - You Get ME, TOO!"

  • Mr. Soul||

    Hey, they outdrew Sandra Fluke.

  • ||

    A second Free Equal third party debate is scheduled for October 30 in Washington, D.C. between the top two vote getters in their online post-debate poll.

    We can exclude candidates too!

  • Zeb||

    Well, if you are going to exclude candidates, no theoretical chance of winning seems like a reasonable standard. And even among the weirdo parties, the Constitution and justice parties are the weirdo parties. Maybe not as weirdo as the Natural Law party, though.

    But why not go weirdo all the way? I'm thinking of going for the Guns and Dope Party: http://www.gunsanddopeparty.com/.

  • tagtann||

    One thing I have learned lately is that if a politicians mouth is moving, they are lying.

    www.Anon-Whiz.tk

  • The Craig||

    Anon-bot for Prez!

  • NeonCat||

    Then how will we know if it's really it? If an impostor takes the oath, what then?

  • ||

    That's already happened 44 other times.

  • NeonCat||

    I know no one will read this, but

    Vote for the mask, end up with the ass!

  • Mensan||

    I believe we established last night that Rocky Anderson is Anon-bot.

  • DanD||

    “I think it is time to make public higher education free,” Stein said, noting that it has happened before in America with the G.I. Bill.

    SMH

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Yeah, that was possibly the dumbest statement of the night. If there's one thing to guarantee that a college diploma would be completely worthless in this country (as opposed to just mostly worthless, especially in regards to the humanities), it would be making higher education "free".

    Frankly, I think it's high time the G.I. Bill was eliminated too, although I realize this is politically impossible. A first-term E-5 takes home a bigger net paycheck than a low-step GS-11. You can't tell me it would be impossible for them to save up their money to pay for school. At the very least, it should be cut back to no more than 50% of tuition and books rather than a series of lump payments. The G.I. Bill is nothing more at this point than another pool of "free" money for the colleges to tap into and avoid lowering their tuition costs.

  • The Craig||

    although I realize this is politically impossible.

    Yeah, most people just heard you say "I hate the children, the troops, and America."

  • LibertyHight||

    Unless I'm misunderstanding what you wrote...
    No an E-5 does not and never has made net pay of a GS-11 at any step. The top an E-5 can ever make is ~35K while a GS-11 Step 1 makes just under ~60K. Easily findable on the net.

    I left AF after 11 year at E-5, made E-6 but opted to get out instead of promote. Enlisted military are not rich and if they have a family saving money is next to impossible. I got out because I saw the economic benefits of leaving and using my skills. I got $10K to use towards school. Granted the new bennies are better than when I was in during the 90s but still for what I went through in Desert Storm and serving my country it's paid for with more than tax payer funds. I am for cutting military spending though!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Stein countered that a college degree should be free to all who seek it.

    And worth every penny.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Targeted killing is now so routine that the Obama administration has spent much of the past year codifying and streamlining the processes that sustain it."

    Hope and Change!

  • Ken Shultz||

    Wrong thread.

    Damn!

  • Metazoan||

    You need to work on your targeting

  • ||

    "I think it is time to make public higher education free," Stein said, noting that it has happened before in America with the G.I. Bill.

    America's College Obsession is a product of the G.I. Bill, among other things. That Obsession is why we now have 100,000 janitors with college educations, $1 trillion in student loan debt, and a "four-year degree" requirement for jobs that could be done by any reasonably bright, English-literate human being. The G.I. Bill was a well-intentioned but truly awful mistake.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    In the 21st century, a high school degree won’t cut it. You need a college degree in order to have economic security so it’s only right that we should now be providing that for free

    What universe do these bozos live in?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    ""I think it is time to make public higher education free," Stein said, noting that it has happened before in America with the G.I. Bill."

    Yes. That was "free". In so many ways.

  • Mr. Soul||

    Its time to make 'merica free.

  • The Hammer||

    “Let’s be clear about my position on this: unlike Gary, unlike Rocky, and unlike Jill I am not for legalizing drugs. If you want that don’t vote for me,” he said.

    And what part of the Constitution that your party claims to stand for authorizes continuing prohibition? Besides the crossed-out part?

  • Loki||

    It's in very very small print, written with invisible ink on the back. Along with the longer version of the commerce clause.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Along with a cipher to find the hidden treasure of the Templars.

  • Loki||

    "Throughout the 20th century we provided a high school education for free to our younger generation. Why? Because it was essential for economic security ... In the 21st century, a high school degree won’t cut it. You need a college degree in order to have economic security so it’s only right that we should now be providing that for free,"

    Define "free". Property taxes pay for K-12 education, so how will the state pay for "free" college education? Obviously a new tax of some kind will have to be imposed or existing taxes increased. Nothing is ever truly "free". Anytime a politician of any stripe says that something is going to be "free" what they really mean is that everyone pays for it through taxation.

  • The Hammer||

    Why are you all so obsessed with the Green party twit wanting college to be free? That's to be expected of a pandering liberal, and it is perfectly consistent with her other positions. Actually, Obama would hold the same position if he had the need or testicular fortitude to clearly articulate a coherent, non-deniable-later position. The so-called Constitution candidate wanting to continue drug prohibition should be much more surprising.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Well, Virgil Goode is a boring-ass culture warrior. Rocky Anderson is the mutant political love child of Al Gore and Michael Bloomberg, which makes his complaints about the NDAA ring hollow.

    Jill Stein and Gary Johnson are, strangely, the most interesting people at the 3rd party debate.

  • Raston Bot||

    The GI Bill is part of a compensation package for working in the military. Offering everyone college tuition just because they are alive is not the same as the GI Bill.

    Hey the military also get a housing allowance. Maybe she wants to offer everyone in the country free housing too.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    She probably does.

  • Loki||

    Just for lulz: List of all the various 3rd party candidates. I think this seems to be a list of all the ones that have made it onto the ballot in at least one state. I seem to recall in years past there being more than 15 "3rd party" candidates, many of which made these guys seem sane by comparison.

  • Invisible Finger||

    A 3rd party debate is like the NIT - it a meaningless exercise in finding who the best distanct-also-ran is and nobody gives a shit.

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