The Santa Fe press conference at which Gary Johnson announced he will seek the Libertarian Party's nomination for president is in its Q&A stage. Earlier in the hour, Johnson made his case for switching parties and filled out a new voter registration card, saying as he signed on the dotted line, "This feels good."
According to the LP's donor database, Johnson was a dues-paying member of the LP during his tenure as the Republican governor of New Mexico. So, this is a homecoming of sorts. Some highlights from the speech:
"Libertarians talk about all the things they're not going to do in office. I think my 750 vetoes as governor of new mexico really gives me a unique voice as to all the things government should not do."
"As a libertarian president–as the candidate for the libertarian nomination–I'm going to talk ALL the time about balancing the federal budget. That means cutting 43% from the federal budget."
"Let's enact the fair tax. When I talk about taxes, libertarians are anti-tax all the way across the board, and so am I. The fair tax is the best of the worst."
"Let's reduce welfare. Let's reduce warfare in this country. [The first line of applause came here -Ed.] Let's end corporate welfare now. Let's have a constitutional affinity to gay rights, let's have a constitutional affinity to gun rights, let's have constitutional affinity to property rights, let's have constitutional affinity to womens rights."
"We need a strong U.S. dollar, not a weak U.S. dollar. We need to end the war on tens of millions of American who happen to use drugs. As president of the united states I would end the war on marijuana. I would remove marijuana from schedule I. As president of the United States, I would pardon nonviolent drug offenders."
"We can secure the border without building a fence. What a waste of money. Let's make it as easy as possible to come into this country and get a work visa–not a green card or citizenship–I just bang my head when I hear candidates complain about border violence without saying what the root is, which is the prohibition of drugs."
"I'm doing this today because I think this is an agenda that resonates with most Americans, and it's not being represented by either political party. I want to thank all of you for being here. You have no idea how much it means for me to have you here in support of this."
[On health care] "The solution to all our problems is free market approaches. In a free market system for health care, it would be competititve. I would have pay-as-you-go in a very competitive market. Health care in this country is about as removed from a free market system as you possibly could be, and we can thank both political parties for that."
[On Afghanistan] "I would withdraw from Afghanistan immediately. I initially thought it was warranted. After six months, I thought we had whiped out al Qaeda. That was 10 years ago."
"Meth and crack are the two biggest examples of prohibition drugs. Without prohibition, we wouldn't have meth and crack. Cheaper highs. It's cheap and easier to make, so consequences fall disparately on the poor."
"The only drug I'm advocating legalizing is marijuana." [On other drugs, decriminalization.]