The Santa Fe New Mexican catches up with the whispered 2012 presidential candidate:
[Johnson] said he's trying to "give a voice" to Republicans who disagree with conventional GOP thinking on several issues. Johnson said he is "pretty much on the same page" with most frequently mentioned 2012 GOP candidates when it comes to government spending.
"But when you listen to the rhetoric they all seem to want to stay engaged on the war on terror at an unlimited cost and they're all now talking about securing the borders when they don't seem to have any idea how much that would actually cost," he said. "Although the rhetoric sounds good, the reality of what they're saying really isn't going to reduce spending."
The article is mostly about the former border state governor's views on immigration policy:
"Secure our borders?" Johnson asked rhetorically. "What's the cost? What's the benefit? … I just don't think it's practical to put the National Guard arm-in-arm across 1,600 miles of border." […]
Johnson said there were more illegal immigrants in the U.S. back when he was governor. "When I was governor, I asked for a cost-benefits analysis. Are we paying out more than we're getting in, given the fact that (immigrants) do pay taxes — income tax, Social Security, Medicare. Immigrants who have used false documents to get work don't collect tax refunds, Johnson said. His administration determined that the state got more tax revenue from illegal immigrants than the state was paying out in benefits.
Johnson said he doesn't like the harsh tone he's heard in the immigration debate. "At an event the other night and some guy says, 'What we need are A-10s flying low across the border … guns blazing.'" Johnson said. "I said, 'Really? You want to kill the immigrants? … We are on different pages here. We really have a serious disagreement about this.'" But a couple of minutes later, Johnson said, the man apologized and said he didn't mean what he said. He said such emotional reactions to the problem "have to do with the notion that (immigrants) are taking away jobs from U.S. citizens."