NEW YORK—During an appearance at New York University, Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson put a unique spin on the wasted vote and spoiler accusations being thrown at him by Republicans.
"I'm going to argue not that I am the third choice in this election but that I am the only choice in this election. What happens if you all waste your vote on me? I will be the next president of the United States," he said, drawing an ovation from the crowd.
As Mitt Romney's campaign has struggled over the last three weeks the spoiler noise from the conservative blogosphere has grown increasingly loud. Republican-led efforts to knock Johnson off the ballot have mostly failed, but he is still in dire straits in Michigan and Oklahoma.
Johnson closed his speech saying, "I want to tell you, we can make a difference in this election. Waste your vote!"
A Reason review of previous versions of Johnson's stump speech found he barely referenced the wasted vote or spoiler argument.
Johnson is on the ballot in at least 47 states plus Washington, D.C., and he could be the margin of difference between Romney and President Obama in some swing states.
He doesn't mind the spoiler talk, however, because he thinks it's better to be on the "radar screen" than not at all.
"Mitt Romney can bear total responsibility for his losing, if that's what transpires. Obama, the same," Johnson said in an interview.
Johnson thinks the lack of attacks from Democrats is because he is similar to Obama on social issues but has actually backed up his rhetoric, unlike the president.
"They are walking on eggshells. They recognize that any attention I get is going to be the Obama word music with an actual resume that would suggest carry through. I don't think I could have said it any clearer. Obama, when it comes to the words. Wow! Wow! But the reality is just totally removed from the words," Johnson said.