One of the many ways that Gary Johnson's 2016 run for president doesn't remotely resemble his 2012 campaign, let alone any other in the history of the Libertarian Party, is the level of media interest. Four years ago Johnson was begging CNN for coverage; this year the cable-news network has held two different town hall conversations with he and vice presidential nominee William Weld.
Last night, the L.P. ticket was presented to considerably more viewers on longtime CBS hit magazine program 60 Minutes. You can watch the whole broadcast below:
No big surprises or deviations for anybody who's been paying attention to the campaign. Host Steve Kroft gave a respectful probing of their views, though his shock at notion of dismantling the Department of Homeland Security (among other "radical" ideas) was amusing, as was his lingering on Johnson's pot-smoking past. That latter point, in fact, got big play in the 60 Minutes overtime materials on its website. Sample:
Johnson's positions are informed, in part, by being personally acquainted with the effects of marijuana use. He was an unabashed consumer of the drug until earlier this year, when he was happy to trade the title "cannabis user" for "presidential nominee."
Johnson says the role of Commander-in-chief is too important to gamble with ganja. "I've always said you should not show up on the job impaired," he told Kroft. "Running for president is a 24/7 gig. Being president is a 24/7 gig. Incoming missiles, you got 12 minutes to deal with it."
I wonder sometimes whether the '60s-'70s generation of journalists realize how much they ended up sounding like their once-despised parents…. Anyway, part of Johnson's rambling answer to 60 Minutes about ISIS—specifically, his contention that the group is "overrated," though that's a "terrible thing to say these days"—may get some play, given the ongoing terrorism investigations in New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota, and Johnson's bungle on CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday morning that he was "just grateful that nobody got hurt" in attacks that injured dozens. ("Gary Johnson completely botches Chelsea explosion response," went the headline in the New York Post.)
Meanwhile, the candidate was asked on CNN in the wee hours of this morning about Carl Bernstein's speculation that Weld is considering dropping out to make sure Donald Trump doesn't win. Johnson's response: "Bill Weld is in this for the long haul." UPDATE: The Hill reports that Johnson added "No, no chance Bill Weld drops out."