Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson Has an 'Aleppo Moment' (His Unfortunate Words) on MSNBC

Asked by Chris Matthews to name a foreign leader he admires, the Libertarian blanks out.

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Right before I interviewed him at the Libertarian National Convention in May and again before his CNN townhall in June, Gary Johnson made the same odd comment to me (this is a paraphrase): "Matt, I'm so sorry that it's me up there defending libertarian ideas instead of you people who have been speaking about it so eloquently for so long!" He made a similar comment to longtime Libertarian activists just after accepting their nomination in Orlando. Aside from being an expression of his endearing-for-a-politician humility, the pre-apologies pointed to a central paradox of the Johnson campaign: His strategy has been laser-focused on getting into the presidential debates, and yet as a communicator, he is uneven, goofy around the edges, and prone to the occasional WTF moment.

Like this:

Oh sure, you can come up with some caveats and whataboutisms here. I don't know who my favorite foreign leader is either! NPR and Salon and all the rest are unfairly mischaracterizing this as Johnson being "unable to name a foreign leader"! There's scant evidence that the voting public cares about foreign-policy gotcha moments, particularly in this of all campaign seasons! Also, what about Hillary Clinton's warmongering and Donald Trump's incoherent Mideast bluster!

All of that may be interesting, but it doesn't change the fact that Gary Johnson screwed up bigly here, because this is who Gary Johnson is. A partial list of self-inflicted errors in this exchange:

1) If you don't like or can't answer a question in a live broadcast situation, don't answer the damned question. The English language is filled with little sidestepping phrases like, "Well, the most important thing is," or "When you step back and take the broader view…." Also available are the Pushback ("Chris, I'm not playing your foreign policy trivia game"), the Shutdown ("It's not appropriate for a presidential aspirant to pre-emptively name international favorites"), and the Redirect ("I'm more focused on rolling back our friendship with dictatorships, like Saudi Arabia!"). Not a viable option for a potential commander in chief? Stammering out loud about your own inability to answer a question.

2) The phrase "Aleppo moment" is wrong for several obvious reasons. Starting with, Aleppo is a city where a lot of people are dying—imagine someone using terminology such as "Sarajevo moment," or "Darfur moment"; feels icky and wrong. Also, it's a self-inflicted callback to one of the campaign's lower points.

3) Neither "Vincente Fox" nor "Angela Merkel" are good answers, either. If you're gonna go former office-holder, there are no shortage of legitimate heroes to choose from (I would start with Václav Havel, who served contemporaneously with Fox). As for Merkel, she hasn't had what you would call a particularly good year.

Look, you can rage that the questioning was somehow unfair, or at least that the way people will seize on it will be. But part of running for president is showing people—live, on TV, constantly, to the point of mental and physical exhaustion—that you are nimble enough on your feet to deal with a brainfart without saying "Hey look, we're having a brainfart over here!" Libertarians and other marginalized groups have a weird man's burden in which they are frequently held to even higher standards than the two-party dolts who actually hold power, but the response to that is to gratefully accept the challenge and then rise to the occasion, not be resigned to your own flaws.

After the first Aleppo moment, Gary Johnson warned that it wouldn't be the last one. He was right on the prediction, but wrong on the expectation. It sucks being interviewed and put on the spot all day long, and it must be hard for a small-state governor to grapple with the overlapping policy implications of a messed-up globe. But no one put a gun to Johnson's head and said "Run for president!" There's no reason not to do better than this.

ICYMI, here's my shaky-cam video (thankfully cleaned up and clarified by my colleagues) of Johnson going ballistic on his foreign policy expertise just minutes before the first presidential debate:

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340 responses to “Gary Johnson Has an 'Aleppo Moment' (His Unfortunate Words) on MSNBC

  1. Next time, he ought to just break out his best Sean Connery voice and shout “suck it, Trebek!”

    The poor guy really just is a giant doofus.

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      1. Yes, but first you have to be nominated and elected.

    3. He very clearly stated he was blanking on Fox’s name. Saying that he had trouble thinking of a leader is a flat-out lie.

      I expect MSNBC, the NYT and the GOP commenters on here to lie about what was said for cheap points…it would be nice if Reason writers would be just a tad professional.

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  2. I don’t see how the question was unfair. I also don’t see why Johnson could not have just said “I don’t necessarily admire any of them.” Johnsons is supposed to be a Libertarian. I would think “I don’t admire politicians” would be a pretty stock Libertarian answer to such a question.

    The other thing he could have said was “I don’t know and haven’t really given the issue much thought”. That would have been a perfectly reasonable answer. Saying that would have had the added bonus of making Johnson look like a normal human being. Most people I know don’t sit around and think about what world leaders they admire.

    You see this stuff and you are left to conclude that Johnson just isn’t very sharp or quick thinking.

    1. He should have said that none of them make a tingle run up his leg.

      1. That would have been great.

      2. If he had said that, I would have to vote him. That would have been fantastic. What a missed opportunity.

      3. that would be awesome

      4. That would have been a winner. Bonus, the progs would probably have shit themselves.

      5. Brilliant.

      6. Thank you.

      7. This is one of those comments that I am probably going to think about 6 months from now and still laugh. Damned brilliant.

        1. So…..

          …..that comment made a tingle run up your leg?

      8. “That guy in the Philippines who keeps cursing at the rest of the politicians!”

        1. Except that Duterte is pretty much a tin pot dictator in the making. Authoritarianism is diametrically opposite to libertarianism.

          Aside from saying he doesn’t like any of the world leaders, what about referring to historical world leaders like the Founding Fathers, etc.?

    2. It comes across that way as not being quick on his feet, but if that’s the most important thing in how we choose our leaders, we’re in deep trouble.

      Can great works of literature be great without being full of witticisms?

      Some of the smartest people I know are not good public speakers.

      There is an argument to be made that the job of a libertarian candidate is to be quick on your feet in front of the cameras.

      Once the campaign is over, I hope he’d be a good president when the cameras aren’t on, and that’s what Gary Johnson has to offer. Even if he isn’t the wittiest guy on camera, how would he do as President?

      1. I agree with you that we make too much out of these things. That said, Johnson just seems like a burnout. Nothing about him ever seems sharp or on top of things. This seems to be symbolic of a larger problem with him.

        1. I’m with you on this one. Whether or not these are valid questions, the guy comes off as a giant retard. But hey, maybe even expecting your president to not seem like a giant retard is asking too much.

          1. The last President who seemed quick on his feet was Bill Clinton and he always came across as a sleazy state attorney general.

            1. I remember watching the first 1992 D primary debate and thinking, “I dont know who is going to win, but it wont be that sleazy guy from Arkansas.”

              Thats how good at understanding Americans I am.

              1. You never counted on Ross Perot. You also back then likely didn’t fully realize just how sleazy the media was and how much they were willing to lie to get a Democrat back in the White House after 12 years.

                1. No, winning the primary. Perot and the media didnt have much to do with him beating Tsongas and, ummm, whoever else was running that year.

                  1. He beat Tsongas and Bradley. Clinton won the nomination because Bradley was an east coast ivy leaguer who mistakenly thought anyone outside of his friends gave a shit about the fact that he was a Rhoades scholar and played for the Knicks and Tsongas was too nice and ethical of a guy to have a chance against the Clinton sleaze machine.

                    1. Bradley didn’t run in 1992, he ran against Gore in 2000. In the early stages of 1992, Bush looked like he was going to cruise for re-election and all of the big name Dems like Cuomo and Bradley stayed out while second tier guys like Clinton and Tsongas and Brown ran. By the time Bush started looking weak, it was too late for the “name” Democrats to jump in.

                    2. Kinda like the 2012 GOP primaries.

                    3. This. Bush had a 90% approval rating during the first gulf war.

                  2. Governor Moonbeam and the Suede Denim Secret Police. And I think Bob Kerrey gave it a go early on but got nowhere and dropped out quickly.

                    1. Former Mayor Larry Agran of Irvine, California
                      Former Governor Jerry Brown of California
                      Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas
                      Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska
                      Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa
                      Former Senator Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts
                      Governor Douglas Wilder of Virginia
                      Filmmaker and activist Tom Laughlin
                      Former Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota

                      Thanks wikipedia!

              2. Paul Tsongas really should have won that campaign.

                America would have been a very different and better place if he had

              3. I’ll do some completely unverifiable bragging. The very first time I saw both Clinton and Obama my immediate thought was “Oh Crap. This bullshit is going to work isn’t it? I’m looking at the next fucking president, and there is nothing I can do to stop it”.

                I haven’t had that experience with any other election. And have no idea who is winning this next one.

            2. Jerry Brown was the guy who dared notice the connection between Bill as governor and Hillary as counsel for Tyson Foods, a large Arky company with some enviro issues. Brown pointed to the conflict, Bill made it seem like an attack on his wife, and the media pretty much ignored it.

            3. It’s never too late to run for Governor of Virginia.

        2. I remember him saying something to the effect that his neighbor’s dog made more impressive “shovel ready projects” than . . . I think it was about Obama’s stimulus program.

          What I remember was that it was witty.

          That was from four years ago, and I still remember the witty part because it was witty.

          1. But then it turned out he had plagiarized this from Rush Limbaugh. Like just forgotten where he’d heard that line from. Inexplicably, he still tried to capitalize on “having the biggest moment” of that debate.

            1. He didn’t plagiarize Limbaugh. It seems that the guy who wrote that line sent it to several people including Johnson and Limbaugh.

        3. None of that really affects what I think of him. But elections are what they are and he’s not turning out to be a great candidate. He should be able to see this kind of stuff coming and be prepared for it.

        4. “just seems like a burnout. Nothing about him ever seems sharp or on top of things”

          Well that is typical of most pot heads

          1. The ones that fulfill your confirmation bias, anyway.

      2. It comes across that way as not being quick on his feet, but if that’s the most important thing in how we choose our leaders, we’re in deep trouble.

        I don’t think it should be discounted though, either. If Johnson had some manner of long-game or vision and were capable of projecting it, it wouldn’t matter if he weren’t quick on his feet.

        Instead, he’s neither quick on his feet nor good at projecting a libertarian vision or path for the country.

        1. If Johnson had some manner of long-game or vision and were capable of projecting it, it wouldn’t matter if he weren’t quick on his feet.

          See CPD.

      3. No one is saying a candidate has to be Groucho Marx… for my money, the quickest wit of the 20th century. If someone is holding my grandchildren hostage and forcing me to run for public office, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the top 500 to 1000 questions you’ll be asked on the campaign trail. Read the “Economist” for 90 days and you can bullshit your way through most softball foreign policy questions. Yes, I get it. Everyone can have a brain fart, but if you’re going to convince folks you’d make a great president, it’s not like you can say, “Hey, I may seem dopey on TV but I’m really awesome off camera.”

      4. I think it’s symptomatic of where Libertarianism is more generally. Gary is a GREAT third party candidate. He can deliver a non mainstream message with passion and clarity. He seems full of conviction, stamina and strength. And he can wave a CV that says ‘I’m not some wing nut. I can get things done’.
        The problem is he is now running as a serious general election candidate and he just isn’t interested enough in international relations, economics or political science for their own sake. When a reporter throws him in the deep end and wants extemporaneous answers to events in the news cycle he pulls out a canned response or stumbles.
        With that said he still remains the best guy we have now. The party is undergoing growing pains. Trying to go from 0 to 1 is always the hardest step. If the party didn’t want to act like a philosophical society and was willing to bring in people out of sync with the platform 20% of the time without an inquistion at the convention and if miraculously Justin Amash, Cory Booker, Rand Paul and Ron Wyden all upped sticks and joined and if guys like Peter Thiel would stump up serious cash for media consultants we could mount a serious general election campaign. It’s not happening.
        The next 20 years are probably the crucible. We’ll either finally become a real force or have to face the facts.
        Weld could do better. I hope by 2020 he has more Libertarianism in his marrow and he doesn’t get burned at the stake during the primaries.

        1. Well, I think it’s evidence that the LP isn’t ready to get a candidate elected president yet. It’s going to be about getting LP candidates in local and state offices, Congress and governorships over the next decade or two. They need to develop a good base of political experience. That Johnson was a governor is great, but he wasn’t a Libertarian governor. The party needs people who come up through the ranks and learn policy as Libertarians, not free agents drafted from the Republican party towards the end of their careers.

          1. Yes. Exactly right! But we change the laws. Even when the Supreme Court is striking down laws that infringe rights, it is to protect the fanatical hands that feed it–acting to protect the Kleptocracy from real competition. The LP is real competition, make no mistake. The looters realize this better’n anyone, and their snarling dogs will worry Gary’s ankles every second he is on-camera.

          2. John McAfee’s vote different initiative is trying to do just that. Whatever you think of the man its a winning strategy. We need to get people elected mayors or state reps and senators. From there they can make legit campaigns for Governors, House or Senate races. We get a few senators with an L next to their name and we can mount a serious national run.

        2. We’ve been a real force changing the laws for longer than JFK had been alive when he was elected. When you apply arithmetic to election returns this is clear. The prohis averaged 1.4% of the vote, elected nobody, and yet their 18th Amendment made light beer a felony and thousands were shot, millions ruined in the Crash and Depression. The commies never won, but Manifesto Plank 2 is the 16th Amendment and its IRS Code takes money from people to subsidize looter parties, not the LP. I remember Soviets, Christianofascists, Islamofascists and Weathermen all bombing each other all day every day.

      5. You’re absolutely right that “quick on his feet” is not necessarily a good process for choosing leaders.

        One thing I noticed many decades ago in grade school was that the kids that came up with the best burns/quick comebacks were often celebrated and admired by the other kids. BUT, I also noticed that the most intelligent and thoughtful kids, the ones who were really detail-oriented, were often the slowest or worst at verbal zingers. For obvious reasons it is because the most thoughtful put too much thought into it: “I could say this, but it wouldn’t be entirely true, and I could say this, but…”

        Of course, some people who are slow on the comeback are that way because they are just slow, and we cannot assume that people with quick comebacks are high-IQ either. Best to choose our leaders based on their policies and track records, but nobody seems to be doing that these days…

      6. Better’n the looters, I’d wager. Actually, Gary could have said “the leader I admire is Gary Johnson.” He has really intelligent supporters who write a great platform… ever read it? The looter platforms are over ten times as wordy, besides being paranoid, greedy and meddlesome. The hitman would have dropped his mic with a thud.

    3. John – precisely.

      “I’m a libertarian, I don’t “admire” any politician – they’re all just necessary evil”

      How hard is that ?

      Bravo to Last American Hero though – that would have been an epic response.

      1. “… or, arguably, unnecessary evils. In particular, the two people in the last debate.”

      2. It’s hard if you think being a Libertarian is being half Democrat and half Republican, instead of something altogether different which is based on a discrete set of articulable principles.

    4. I would think “I don’t admire politicians” would be a pretty stock Libertarian answer to such a question.

      That’s what I was going to say. He should say “I don’t admire political leaders. Trust and admiration for “leaders” is how we got in this mess in the first place.”

      1. Yeah. Seems like the obvious answer.

    5. Could it be because he has smoked a shit load of dope? It does tend to dull even the sharpest minds.

      1. Carl Sagan might have disagreed.

        1. But he won’t, because he’s too doped up on the ganja.

          1. And also exceedingly dead….

    6. Agreed.

      What isn’t being reported is that is non-libertarian running mate tried to intervene and tell him to answer Angela Merkel…because Angela Merkel, the ultimate statist is such a good model for libertarianism (and is the same answer as Hillary Clinton).

    7. He’s not quick on his feet. He can’t lie as easily as Trump or Clinton.

  3. I can’t think of any current foreign leaders I admire.

    Going old school?

    Vaclav Havel.

    Lech Walesa–for what he did before he got into office.

    Margaret Thatcher to some extent.

    Winston Churchill to some extent.

    Anyway, why should an American president admire foreign leaders?

    1. Because some leaders are worthy of admiration. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a President admiring the people you list. Again though, it was an easy question to answer or punt on.

      1. The proper answer is, “It they’re a ‘leader,’ they’re not worthy of admiration. Free people don’t need a ‘leader’ and a vote for me is a message that we are free people.”

    2. I see it as another litmus test. Liberals expect you to say something like Trudeau or some other lefty jerkoff, while Conservatives are hoping for Netanyahu.

      1. No, I believe these kinds of questions are traps. Any non-lefty jerkoff answer would have been scrutinized in the minutest detail, and the following day’s headline would be “Johnson expresses support for X, who once grabbed a dog by the hind legs and pushed it around like a vacuum cleaner”

        1. that is exactly it thats why they asked Sarah Palin what magazines do read
          that said her and Johnson seem stupid enough to not be able to respond to them

          1. I remember that Palin question. It was couched in a “can you actually read?” manner.

        2. I would just name a lefty leader to confuse them, and say ‘I don’t agree with him but I admire his diligence.” Then they’d have to attack one of their own heroes to turn it into a criticism.

        3. I agree.

          He could have called the question itself into question.

          “Why ask a softball question like that when we should be talking about Hillary’s proposal to spend $X billions instead?”

          Johnson’s a bit too game to play along and let the interviewer frame his responses. One reason I like Rand Paul is that he knows when to answer an interviewer’s question directly and fully (instead of many politicians who can’t answer any question without dodging every word) AND when to start dodging and reframing/redirecting the interview.

    3. Themisticles

      1. “I cannot fiddle, but I can make a great state from a little city.”

        “What?”

        “Themistocles, sir. A Greek philosopher.”

        “I know you’ve been well-educated. It says so in your dossier.”

    4. Cincinnatus

    5. I can’t think of any current foreign leaders I admire.

      Well, and this kinda gets at what Welch was saying, admire as people or admire as leaders?

      1. Given that to arise to national leadership, politicians must invariably become shitty people (lying to constituents/voters with promises they cannot or won’t keep, rent-seeking from wealthy donors, etc.), it is impossible to admire them as people…

    6. Why are you such a xenophobe, Ken?

    7. It’s not a question of “why”. It’s a question of “who”. It is not unreasonable to want the American president to admire leaders who are not American; America, after all, does not have a monopoly on good (or bad) governance ideas.

      There are many ways where other countries’ leaders are doing a far better job than America’s. It is not un-American to point that out, explain why a foreign leader is doing it better and say that idea should be adopted in this country.

    8. Sing San Suu Kyii is a current foreign leader to be admired, I think.

    9. The Republican party admires the NSDAP platform and seeks to emulate it; the Dems imitate the German Democratic Republic platform and policies–so why not worship their demagogues and field-marshals?

  4. All of that may be interesting, but it doesn’t change the fact that Gary Johnson screwed up bigly here, because this is who Gary Johnson is.

    Yes, it was a screw up. Not because he didn’t have a ready answer. But because it was a moronic question that is roughly the equivalent of “Boxers or Briefs” for an only slightly less imbecilic audience. And sadly being able to appeal to personality-driven retards is an essential part of modern presidential campaigning. Honestly, I would have been more impressed if Johnson had called Matthews out as a drooling simpleton for even asking the question.

    1. Bill,

      If you can’t answer stupid questions from the media, you probably shouldn’t go into politics. Asking stupid questions is what the media does.

      1. And thus part of Trump’s appeal, not being a suck-up to the morons of the media.

        The tingle response would have been brilliant.

      2. Or you can opt to put the media in the stocks. I’m not a Trump fan, but I’ll give the guy that he’s done a very good job of responding to the stupid questions by putting the media up for public ridicule.

        1. Another good response would have been to give a look of “what the fuck are you talking about” and said “I don’t know, Albert of Monaco” or some other leader of some tiny country. It would have been wonderfully dismissive but Mathews couldn’t have said anything because it was an answer.

          1. The president of that little anarcho-capitalist country on disputed lands in the Balkans would have been priceless.

            1. Michael Bates, Regent of the Principality of Sealand.

      3. And yes, I even said, “eing able to appeal to personality-driven retards is an essential part of modern presidential campaigning”.

      4. Yes, but verbally wrestling control of the conversation from interviewers is a crucial skill of all politicians and candidates, and Gary just plain sucks at this.

        Not that being too good at this particular skill is a good thing. I absolutely hate when an interviewer asks a direct question of import and gets 5 minutes of a soapbox speech about some totally unrelated topic the interviewee would rather be talking about. Overuse this tactic and the politician angers the viewers.

    2. That’s just it.
      The question was moronic and Gary Johnson should have said so.

      1. That is the right answer.

      2. That’s the issue. He knows this is part of the job. He should be practicing deflections for stupid questions. Even saying I don’t see how that question is relevant to the larger issues blah, blah would be acceptable.

        1. Screw deflecting. Call them out as idiotic.

          “Thats a dumb question.”

          “Wow, that one is even worse.”

          “You going for peak derp now?”

          1. If it was me I’d focus on a handful of important issues and always redirect to that. “We’re 20T in debt and you want to talk about foreign leaders?”.

            1. That is something a politician would do.

            2. Ron Paul did this pretty well in his 2012 run. Quick dismissive answer, turn to a pet issue that’s somehow related.

          2. I don’t respect any of them. They all have tiny hands!

  5. I actually like Gary Johnson quite a bit and had pretty high hopes for his candidacy, but he’s proving he can’t hit major league pitching. Maybe instead of running for President, he should run for Senate? He could do some good there.

    1. Agreed? he should have run for Congress.

      I’d like to see the LP concentrate on Congress but, unfortunately, in many states performing above a certain threshold in the Presidential election guarantees a place on the ballot in the next election for all races.

    2. He’s not running to be starting pitcher, he’s running to be the chief policy proposer.

  6. Media Seeks Inanity, Has Deep and Meaningful Hysterics.

  7. As somebody said all parties nominated the caricatures of themselves this year. Including the Libertarians: Republicans who smoke pot and act like they’ve indulged in it — a lot.

    1. Man. That is so true it hurts.

  8. On the upside, nobody watches Chris Matthews except a bunch of hard core leftists.

    1. Not from beginning to end, but they’ll watch the self-contained clip.

      1. Exactly. Especially if the clip is edited like the Aleppo excerpt.

  9. There are so many sick burns he could have replied with, but instead he was like, “remember when I messed up with that question which the voters had just begun to forget about? Well, this is another example of me messing up.”

    1. He’s just amazingly bad at this human interaction thing, isn’t he? This is how you know a True Scotsman.

    2. The reply that Hero gives above would have been the most epic burn in the history of politics. If Johnson had just dryly responded “well Chris none of them really send a tingle up my leg” and left it at that, it would have been perhaps the greatest moment in the history of TV news.

      1. That would have been a home run for sure. That’s one of those come backs that you don’t think of until like 2 days later though and then beat your self up.

        Come to think of it, he should fake-“apologize” on twitter or some similarly brain dead communication mechanism, by using these zingers from right here. And keep apologizing like twice a day for the next week with new zinger responses. And he could self-deprecate with how he wishes he was as quick on his feet as Hillary and Donald the whole time.

  10. “I’m afraid most countries have the same problem we have – their leaders suck. Most of the foreign leaders I admire are out of office or dead: Margaret Thatcher, Vaclav Havel, and perhaps a few others.

    “But today? They’re all the equivalent of Hillary or Donald – if there are any exceptions, please enlighten me.”

  11. It was the mic.

  12. “I know a thing or two about contemporary foreign leaders, and for precisely that reason I’m not going to say I like them.”

  13. John Key.

    But I had to look up his name.

    1. “That guy from Estonia that tweets, is he still in office?”

      That would have been my answer.

      1. Toomas Hendrik Ilves, btw.

  14. “None of today’s foreign leaders impress me. I’m certainly not going to bow to them like Obama bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, a country Obama wants to shield from liability for any terrorist acts it sponsored. Thank God a bipartisan Congress overruled Obama and allowed the victims of Saudi terrorism to sue them.”

  15. “You see, this sort of admiration of foreign leaders is what George Washington warned about when he said Americans should not develop passionate attachments to any other nation. If they want to help us, we’ll help them, if not, not.”

  16. Mao Tse Tung. Anita Dunn told me he was pretty cool.

  17. http://www.mediaite.com/tv/sean-penn-…..into-hell/

    Who else plans to join me in masturbating our way to hell?

    1. What the sweet fuck was he on? Then again, I can imagine that there was a pile of people nodding sagely at what he said.

      In either case, I’m certainly not going to stop masturbating my way to hell.

      1. He was on Sean Penn, which is some strong shit. He’s trying to live up to his “bloody underpants” comment from the Bush era.

    2. That’s been the plan for a long time.

    3. Masturbation is the path to nowhere. You always end up where you started. Unless you were on a bus.

    4. On my way to hell right now. You can still smell the sulfur in the air.

  18. If he was smart, he would have said something like Carlos Slim or Chung Ju-yung. Then when Matthews rambled on about heads of state, he could have asked Chris Matthews why he feels it necessary to bow and scrap at the feet of government lackeys rather than recognize people as “leaders” that employ hundreds of thousands of people and makes the world a better place.

    That would have been a libertarian moment.

    1. Carlos Slim is one of the worst and most corrupt crony capitalists in the world.

      1. Whatever, I was just saying give a businessman’s name I stead of a head of state and make a libertarian point with your answer.

      2. Yeah, but it would make it a little difficult for the NYT to rip on his answer, wouldn’t it?

    2. Carlos Slim?

      Anyone who comes out of Mexico w/ billion is pretty sure to have the patronage of the Mexican Govt to thank. I can’t see why any libertarian would celebrate the world’s the biggest crony capitalists outside Russia. But then i’m not super-familiar with the guy outside of his buying the NYT on a lark. Better had he let it die, imo, or start distributing coupons.

      I always thought the default libertarian answer was something like, “The last politician I admired was Vaclav Havel ; the rest are shades of awful”

      1. My point was to name a businessman rather than a head of state. And to then explain his reasoning for doing so.

        I just pulled that name out of my ass. I don’t know how much of a crony he is…and if he’s forced to be or not by the government’s he has to operate under.

        1. fine

          Slim was possible one of the worst-possible examples of a “inspiring businessman”. He made his nut operating monopolies bought from Govt pals. Billionaires in developing nations generally get that way by killing and bribing their way into positions of influence. Being the guy who bailed out the NYT just adds a cherry on top of a sundae of insider-schmoozing scumbaggery.

        2. Good point it is too. Masaryk of Czechoslovikia comes to mind, but the looter would have insisted on a looter not yet lynched by US subsidized Faith-Based angry mobs. Since we get 3% of the vote, by their count, you can’t expect us to like 97% of the Kleptocracy’s politicians–or those dictating its puppet and buffer states.

      2. Vaclav Havel was terrible in office.

        1. Vaclav Havel was terrible in office.

          He mostly served a role as a transition-leader who got rid of the legacy institutional control in the country. He did far more good “breaking stuff” than he did establishing anything new.

        2. I’d also argue that the US needs exactly that sort of person today.

          Far more good would be accomplished “breaking”/dissolving lots of legacy laws than it would be implementing any new ones.

  19. While the surface level liberal-media criticism is bullshit – they have a point which they don’t quite articulate, which goes like

    – “Look, if you’ve been in politics most of your professional life… you should know how to do this shit; you should have dumb non-answer-answers at the ready – you should have all sorts of head-fakes and re-directions and journalist-judo moves down pat – the ability to “Answer the Question You Wanted Them To Ask”, where you turn “Who’s your favorite foreign leader” into “Well that’s a great question, but really the person who has been a model to me my whole life is Jesus Christ, and frankly its difficult to find a modern figure who lives up to that ideal... I mean, its like you’ve never even *watched* other people do this shit. You’ve Got No Chops. I can’t even imagine what you’d do in bed: you couldn’t seduce a drunk nymphomaniac. Its embarrassing! These apologies just make it worse. “DO, OR DO NOT! There is no ‘Try’

    1. Look, if you’ve been in politics most of your professional life

      But, he hasnt. He spent most of his professional life building a construction company. Then he took off for 8 years to be a politician, then went into the pot business or something.

      So, based on starting the company in 1976, he has spent 8/40 years, or 20% of his professional life in politics.

      1. 10 years or so of experience, and prepping for a presidential run would set the bar a bit *()#*()@$ higher than *this*

        Sorry, but its too late for excuses

        1. He was a bad candidate in 2012, he is a bad candidate again.

          But he is still the best candidate on my ballot.

          1. Yes, but we would vote for a libertarian-party-ticket “Dead Racoon”

            Its not ‘us’ that matter – its the millions of ‘disaffected liberal/gop voters’ who he’s trying to woo away from the Coke/Pepsi politicians.

            1. I liked Badnarik a lot, but he never polled anywhere near 10%.

              1. Yeah, Johnson is not a good campaigner. But few LP nominees are.
                If polls are to believed, he is, somehow, the most effective candidate the LP has ever had. Though you could probably put some of that on the terrible candidates from the major parties.

                1. They have run terrible candidates in the past too.

              2. The last good LP candidate was Harry Browne. I miss him.

                1. First presidential candidate I ever voted for.

                2. After 9-11 Brown said that America got what it deserved. It’s one thing push the “blowback” theory (even though it doesn’t hold water) it’s something else to cheer murder.

                  1. The blowback theory does hold water. A lot of it. Good for Browne.

                    1. That’s why the Belgians were attacked? The theory is just plain stupid. It assumes that the Middle East is filled with libertarians yearning to free themselves from tyrannical America. These people are subjected to the worst imaginable state barely short of slavery by their own leaders and they do nothing about it. Force and fear rule their lives and they regard it as normal.

                      They are the extreme version of the nativists in America. Some Americans hate immigrants for “polluting” American culture. Take that and raise it up by two orders of magnitude and you have the Muslim fanatics’ mindset.

                    2. Belgium is a NATO member and an American ally, you attack the targets you can. Read UBLs writings prior to 911. It’s numerous American interventions, bombing campaigns, troops on sacred ground, sanctions and our bullshit support of Israel.

                    3. Right, but “America” didn’t get shit; real individual people in the twin towers, the Pentagon, and on passenger airliners got it, and I doubt they had a damn thing to do with US policy in the Middle East. “America got what it deserved” is the worst, laziest form of collective blame.

                    4. “The blowback theory does hold water. A lot of it.”

                      I don’t know about the Middle East, but I remember a reporter describing a conversation he had with someone from one of the former Soviet satellites, possibly Uzbekistan. He asked what the United States should do in a current conflict, and the response was “They should mind their own business!”. When asked what the country should do if its neighbor invaded hotly-contested territory, the student expected the United States to come to their aid.

                      I personally have two guiding rules that I wish we would stick with in foreign policy: first, mind our own business; second, decisively finish any war we join, and follow up on promises made. For examples: we should not have gotten involved with Vietnam in the first place, but after we got involved in Vietnam, we should have won the Vietnam War, and all it would have taken was to honor the agreement we made with the South Vietnamese afterward (for that matter, if LBJ had taken the war seriously once it started, it could have ended much earlier than it did, too); when Saddam invaded Kuwait, it was well within American interests to kick Iraq out, but we shouldn’t have stopped at Baghdad: all it did was prolong the time we would have to clean house by fifteen years.

                      But we should harbor no illusions: while there is a lot of hate against America, that hate is going to fester no matter *what* we do! And such hate never justifies massacring civilians.

      2. Rob,

        Johnson is a former governor and has ran for President twice now. Gimore is right, he should be able to do this stuff. The fact that he can’t does not count in his favor.

        1. I agree, I was just pointing out the literal fact that this hasnt been his entire life, like Clinton.

  20. He should have just said I don’t have any foreign leaders I admire. Leaders are rarely worth following, looked at Chris and say now what? Too bad because the clip that Welch captured prior to the debate was Gary at his best, then he blows it. He should just go full Libertarian and anti war now, because what does he have to lose?

  21. Sounds like a question you would ask a kid about their favorite movie star… I’m picturing the walls of Weld’s bedroom covered in Angela Merkel posters.

  22. I like Johnson, and am voting for him, but man is he trying my patience. The media has given him many prime time opportunities, and I feel like he has squandered them at best, and ruined himself at worst. Libertarians would kill to have as much media has he has had, but he is just so goofy, inadequate and clueless in answers, and doesn’t sell libertarianism at all.

    In an election where people are screaming for an alternative, he has so many chances to be one that could realistically gather votes. But he has just been a disaster candidate.

    1. That’s been a longtime frustration for me. I was a member of the LP back in the 80s and 90s but quit out of sheer frustration with the candidates they put up.

      1. There’s a reason the best political candidates don’t go to the Libertarian Party: even if their principles line up with the LP (or another third party), their chances at actually gaining power are slim to none. As a result, the third parties will get the also-rans and others who can’t effectively break into the major parties.

        Johnson was a fluke: he was a relatively successful Republican governor before jumping ship to the LP. But he likely jumped ship because he didn’t have the abilities to become the nominee of the Republican Party. Though, in fairness, considering who the Republicans nominated this year, Johnson was underselling himself.

    2. I’m pretty much trying my best to not watch him or read about him, so I don’t end up convincing myself to cast a not-Libertarian presidential vote for the first time in my life. I shouldn’t even be reading this.

    3. His brainfarts don’t bother me as much as the lack of any really clever or insightful moments. The mainstream media can’t be blamed for not showing him at his best, Reason’s interviews with him have not shown any shining examples of his wit and wisdom either.

      If Trump is soundly thrashed to the point where Republicans suffer such a crushing defeat that the party disintegrates then maybe things will change, hopefully before the Hillarians turn the country into 1970’s England.

      Sadly, it looks like Dante was right. The only way out of Hell is to go to the middle and then climb up and out on top of the devil.

  23. FWIW – a few minutes ago I walked upstairs to turn off the lights and TV the shitheads who live in my house can’t get through their thick skulls to turn off and there’s “The View” coming on, and this is their top story. (“Trudeau!” is who those fucking morons all chirrupped he should have said.) So somebody at least thinks GJ is worth mentioning, even if just to put him down. I’m assuming Hillary is who they take their talking points from?

  24. OTish: Submitted for your (dis)approval:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/r…..-for-real/

    And as a libertarian, Johnson has put forth platform ideas that, by and large, I find horrifying bad. (YMMV, depending on where you sit on the spectrum.)

    Still, even though I haven’t found anything appealing about him, I have always sort of kept in my mind the notion that he’s not so unthinkable a candidate.

    Johnson isn’t quite that. He does represent libertarian positions fairly well, well enough that it doesn’t feel forced for him to represent the party (and this is his second time doing so for the presidential slot), but it feels ? or at least has felt ? less like he’s wearing a clown mask in this role.

    1. I posted the other day the one thing I found appealing about him:

      He understands small business. Trump disdains doing things small. Clinton hates business.

    2. If you didn’t know any better, you would think he was on Trump’s payroll. Johnson’s entire campaign seems to be designed to appeal to disaffected Democrats who can’t vote for Hillary. Johnson has soft peddled or repudiated most of the issues libertarian leaning conservatives hold dear while going all in on things like gay rights and open borders that appeal to liberals.

      I don’t think it is necessarily a bad strategy. It is just a significantly different one than Libertarians usually have.

      1. Well anyone being at all not inclined to throw American muscle at every foreign ‘problem’ was clearly unacceptable to Republican voters.

  25. More Reason shilling for Johnson! Pathetic.

    (great points all around, Matt; I swear, we outta be running these campaigns!)

  26. I’ll go along with the notion that Johnson needs to handle these questions better. But many of the people who are slagging Johnson over this stuff are the very same people who are often heard wailing “why oh why can’t we get any honest people to run for higher office?” Here’s one answer: a candidate honestly admits that he doesn’t know something–instead of lying, or to paraphrase the immortal Elwood Blues, taking the liberty of bullshitting us–and what happens? People piss all over him, and declare that the liars and bullshitters are the only candidates who are “serious”.

    1. This is more like what some voters want.

  27. Johnson is a complete idiot; an embarr-ass-ment for all libertarians.

  28. Wow. It looks like we’ve officially reached the point where even Reason is forced to admit the obvious: Johnson is a total fucking idiot. A Hildog endorsement can’t be too far away.

    Please stop pretending you’re even a real libertarian and just go away and focus on selling your dope. You dope. Next time, let someone who’s brain isn’t completely fucked up stand in.

    1. Trumpkin butthurt detected.

      1. I absolutely despise Trump, but I fully appreciate this sentiment.

        As someone who really wishes to embrace the Libertarian Party, and who has (up to this point) always voted Republican presidents because they are at least nominally sort-of Libertarian in word (and once in perhaps every other blue moon) deed, I have a really hard time getting behind this Libertarian candidate because he’s an embarrassment to the cause — both because of what he does, and because I have doubts on just how libertarian Johnson really is.

        Having said that, I’ve kept my eye on the Libertarian party for years, sort-of, so I have a vague understanding that the Libertarian party has always had problems with finding good candidates. It’s only become obvious to the rest of the nation this year because, now that the Republicans and Democrats have done their best to nominate the absolutely worst candidates they could find, the Libertarian party has been thrust into the limelight.

  29. And Weld tries to bail him out with “Merkel”. Totally redeems GJ.

    1. Seriously, “Merkel” is a safe go-to answer for pretty much any politician to cite these days, even if she’s having a sort of bad year. Or, since the question was open-ended, “Churchill” or “Thatcher”.

      1. Agree.

      2. Really? Maybe a few years ago, but now?

  30. Libertarians need to stop running retred politicians and try running a former CEO or successful entrepreneur. It is really a question of talent. The most talented career politicians are going to stay with the two major parties are because that is the easiest path to office. So you are never going to get the best talent if you rely on career politicians. The answer for a third party is to look outside of politics for its candidates.

    1. What’s Ross Perot been up to lately?

      1. Spending and investing his millions that he made by getting all those FedGov contracts to process Medicare/CMS forms and claims.

    2. I would have been fine with Mark Cuban over Johnson.

      1. The same Mark Cuban who’s currently shilling for Hillary?

        The LP doesn’t just not have a ‘deep bench’; they don’t *have* a bench. The candidates they throw up strike me as “Bueller”? respondees = whomever they can get any given year

        1. Well yeah, thats the problem with guys like Cuban. You dont know what they really believe.

          So that leaves…Drew Carey?

    3. This x1000. Using leftover major party pols has been failing for decades. When will they learn?

    4. a former CEO or successful entrepreneur

      Which Johnson is. But you are right, there are a lot more charismatic people who would fit the bill at least as well.

    5. The most talented CEOs all seem to be down right hostile to libertarianism.

      1. And Peter Thiel is a dick because ugh Gawker

      2. Thiel seems pretty talented. Bezos pretended to be Libertarian for a while, though I think that may have passed. There has got to be someone.

        1. John Mackey, Whole Foods?

    6. Johnson might not be a well-known businessman, but he is a businessman.

    7. John McAffee (who built, then sold McAffee Antivirus) was a major contender for the spot. He’s wanted for murder in Belize, though, but I think I agree with him that they are probably trying to frame him…

      Having said that, I don’t remember much of his campaign, so I can’t say one way or the other if the Libertarian Party would have been better off with him at the helm. I kindof liked Petersen, and I *do* think the Libertarian Party would have been a little better off with him at the helm, but obviously he didn’t make it….

  31. Those are clearly metal buttons.

  32. “Johnson screwed up bigly here…”

    Bigly or Big League?

    1. It’s perfectly cromulent.

  33. The LP’s own Sarah Palin.

  34. He didn’t screw up big time. I don’t think Welch is being fair to Johnson. It is not a big time screw up. It is just annoying, I understand these questions are stupid. The reality is they have to be answered. Complaining about them doesn’t change that. One of the reasons why the LP might want to nominate a former governor and experienced politician, versus some novice, is that the career politician is supposed to be good at this bullshit. If they are not, and Johnson appears to not be good and seems untrainable in this regard, then what is the point of nominating a career politician? Why not let someone else give a shot?

  35. He’s too meek and it makes him look bad. He thought “This important media person is asking me a serious question about foreign leaders, gee, I’m not sure what to say.” *says dumb thing* when he should have been thinking, “What a blowhard. He actually thinks this is a good question. Next is he going to ask me about my favorite power ranger? Is he five years old?” *says snarky cool thing*

    1. Johnson, whatever you think of him, is a nice guy. And you can’t be a nice guy dealing with people like Mathews. Mathews is scum. He is not Johnson’s friend and he is going to do anything he can to make Johnson look bad. You have to treat people like Mathews like the enemies they are and with complete contempt. Trying to be a nice thoughtful guy will get you nowhere.

      1. Yeah he’s too nice, and that’s why he has trouble endearing himself to voters who hate the people he interacts with on a daily basis.

        1. What is “nice”? Stepping into bear traps that any objective person spots from a mile away isn’t being “nice” in my book. I’m watching Trump being a dick while saying outrageous things and think, “What would it be like having a dick fighting for us while saying rational things?” Ron Paul wouldn’t have ever fallen for that crap question.

          1. RP had fire. And was very focused on an Austrian economic policy. Any questions that were stupid would be turned to something an Austrian might say. Foreign leaders? Those guys all suck, they are helping eachother get into a terrible debt crisis. We’re approaching 20t, and no one seems to want to talk about what to do!

      2. This. If he’s going to voluntarily walk into a lion’s den, he had better be really well armed and prepared. And if he doesn’t even know that he’s walking into a lions’ den, he’s even more fucking stupid than I think he is.

      3. Alas, the chance to see McAfee tear such people to shreds has eluded us.

      4. You can be nice, and deal nicely with scum like Matthews (and deflect the silly gotcha questions such scum propose), but you have to deal with such questions from a “harmless as a dove, wise as a serpent” approach. Johnson seems to be approaching these questions from a “harmless as a dove, wise as one too” direction….

  36. “Look, you can rage that the questioning was somehow unfair,…”

    No you can’t.

    1. It’s a fucking retarded question. But then, you’re a retard so I’m sure you think its the height of journalism.

    2. I agree. Heck, the question may very well be unfair, but politicians running for office need to know how to handle all questions, fair and unfair, relevant and irrelevant; they also need to know when to answer the question directly, and when to waffle and redirect to a more relevant topic.

      And, above all, they need to answer honestly, but not so “I’m having an Aleppo moment, so I should do my best to embarrass myself” honest.

  37. “Who’s your favorite foreign leader?”

    “Ask me about a specific policy that a foreign leader has taken and I’ll give you my opinion on that. Otherwise, your question is absurd.”

    Not hard GJ. Just like your Aleppo answer should’ve been. Make them ask the question in a way that is answerable.

    1. Another good answer would have been “I don’t know what you mean Chris, is there an AP poll of world leaders like there is of collage football teams? Do you get a vote in that?” Mathews would have been dumbfounded.

      1. “Chris, It will come back to you. The the shutter falls, you see it all in 3-D, Ze’s my favorite for leader. Bumbumbum.” /with accompanying head bob.

        If you’re gonna be goofy, go for it.

        1. If you’re gonna be goofy, go for it.

          One and Done. And made Mika “Ralph Wiggum” Brzezinski look totally justified in her look of, “WTF did I just witness?! Was that a Presidential candidate, or some weird old pervert trying to tongue wag that cubbie young journo?” Which is no small feat, I might add.

          1. As weird, slightly creepy as that was, Trump or Hillary doing that would have me reaching for the bucket of fugu guts.

            1. Indeed. Yet, apparently both have done weird facial tics (Shrill-Bot’s health episodes and Troomp’s mocking of that disabled reporter) and survived. Yes, they are both horrible candidates, but GayJay is supposed to represent the party that should *OWN* marketing and appearances (he is a business owner 2X over, no? He should know like the back of his hand how important selling yourself is).

              What I find so incredible is a candidate who *SO* incredibly tone deaf to the importance of appearances (Nixon v. Kennedy set the die on that one, and forever so), and shouldn’t rely on whining about flailing about so on the level of, “BUT IT’S NOT FAIR THE PRETTY GIRL WON’T NOTICE ME! SO WHAT IF I AM FAT, BALD, CREEPY AND LIVE IN MOM’S BASEMENT! I DESERVE TO BE NOTICED ON MY TERMS!”

              The Pretty Girl makes the rules, and if you can’t compete on her terms, too bad. Realise that she’s just isn’t that into you.

          2. Don’t pick on Mika Groovus. Even though I should loath her, I find her wildly sexy.

          3. That’s what the whole tongue thing has been about?

            Seriously?

    2. Always answer hostile and nonsensical questions with other questions. Plus, it would be nice to see a politician push back against the press, in a non-physical manner.

      1. So, Chris, are you saying foreign leaders are better than American leaders? Are you saying they are heroes and we’re not. I guess you think we should have found some foreign leader to replace George Washington and fight for our independence. Or we should have had the King of France free the slaves. I’m not going to sit here while you run down the greatest leaders in the history of the world who all happen to be American, not foreign!

  38. Suddenly we’re against transparency here.

  39. Johnson should us the Obama excuse “I’m contemplating it and don’t make off the cuff cowboy decisions”

  40. This is rather off topic, but god, does Weld just look like the biggest stereotypical blueblood New England prep school-to-Harvard-to-politics asshole or what? Talk about a punchable face.

    1. Agree.

  41. I think of this as a WGAS moment. Seriously, who really gives a shit? What difference does it make? If a politician has all the countries memorized and knows each of their leaders, they would do will on jeopardy, but it still has zero to do with their qualifications to hold office.

    I think these kind of stupid tests of intelligence have more to do with what the types of people who ask these questions and currently hold power think of as intelligence, than any misstep Johnson made. Chris Matthews is an intellectual lightweight who has done nothing his whole life other than spin socialist crap and look like a jack-off on TV. His opinion on all subjects means less than nothing in my mind. Journalists, law-makers, pundits, talking heads, etc., tend to be liberal arts majors who are so far removed from having any worthwhile skills or anything meaningful to offer to the world. Since their brains are so empty of useful knowledge and experiences, they have plenty of room to store little facts like who the President of Tajikistan is or which minority group in Sri Lanka is the most put upon. Having this trivia stored away in the immature brains for quick recall is what qualifies as “smart” to most of the dopes who occupy positions of respect in the media.

    1. I agree completely. Johnson’s failing, however, is that he chose to handle the irrelevant by trying to answer straight-on, and doubled-down by recalling another non-flub flub, when he should have used the question as a spring-board to say something relevant.

  42. He’d never have the slightest interest in it, but Stossel would make a terrific candidate. He does a great job of clearly articulating libertarian principles in plain language and knocking down bullshit accusations.

    1. I don’t think Stossel would be a great candidate.

      1. Not ideal in a lot of ways, no, but I think he’d do a much better job of articulating a coherent libertarian philosophy than most of the other possibilities.

        1. I agree with that… but I’m doubtful that a coherent libertarian philosophy is what pushes voter interest. A great candidate would be “the most interesting man in the world.”

        2. Stossel does a really good idea of making libertarian philosophy accessible. Things like lemonade stand shutdowns do resonate with the voters.

  43. Tom Woods pointed this out many months ago at the LP convention. he said GJ is an idiot who has not bother to learn anything since he last ran for pres 4 years ago. In four years, he did not bother learning about libertarian philosophy and how to argue for it and he has learned a darn thing about the world..

    I dare say 70% of this board could answer the “my son is a herion addict” mother a million times better the LP front man can.

    1. Hopefully next time we’ll nominate the corpses of Milton Friedman and Frederick Bastiat.

      1. There has to be a Mandela somewhere. I was thinking Irwin Schiff could’ve filled the bill, RIP. Would’ve had to write him since he was a felon.

        1. There has to be a Mandela somewhere.

          Snowden, maybe?

      2. Weekend at Miltie’s!

    2. Tom Woods. I wish he would run for something somewhere. Dog catcher in Auburn would be a fine start, then work his way up.

  44. It was a stupid question, and he should have pointed that out. by making a joke, such as “Alive or dead? and what would answering that do to my ability to negotiate?” Then ask Matthews why he loves castro so much.

    He does come across amateurish sometimes

  45. A better answer also would have been “There are no current foreign that I respect and look up to. While there may be some worthy of respect, there aren’t any that I feel worthy of ‘being looked up to.’ There’s not one that I would describe as ‘libertarian’ or even ‘classically liberal’ enough for me to look up to as a model.”

    Then throw out Vaclav Havel as a former world leader.

    I’ll probably still vote for Johnson, but at this point I don’t think I’m going to tell anyone. If anyone asks, I’ll just say I’m not voting for anyone.

    1. It’s getting too embarrassing to admit now.

      1. I understand that the guy is flustered. He has been trying really hard, with the op-ed in the NYT and all, but its like the harder he tries, the more he screws up and he knows that the deck is stacked against him. I will still vote for him too, but with considerably less enthusiasm. I think he can kiss winning any states, or even cracking 10% goodbye.

        1. At this point, I’m pretty much just trying to do my part to get the LP over the magical 5% mark so that they can get federal funding*, which may help them to run more down ballot candidates in future races as well as get past ballot access hurdles in a lot of states. That’s really all it’s ever been about for me. I never had any illusions about him being able to win it. Even if he made it into the debates, I doubt he could have done well enough to win. Maybe a couple of states, enough to throw it to the House and Senate, but that’s it.

          *While I hate the idea of the feds giving taxpayer to political parties, if they’re going to hand out the payola, you might as take it, just like collecting Social Security.

        2. In the Archer pantheon, he’s Cyril Figgis… but he’d crack 10% if he could summon an inner Archer.

          1. In the Archer pantheon, he’s Cyril Figgis

            Either that or Brett Bunson (the guy who kept getting shot). Or maybe a skinny version of The Hobbit Guy.

  46. I don’t have many “fuck you” moments with Matt Welch.. but fuck you, Matt. Matthews didn’t ask Johnson who Matt Welch’s hero was and “heroism” doesn’t have shit to do with political leanings or philosophy of governance. I don’t agree with Merkel’s politics, but she’s a grown up in a world of idiot children including the vast majority of American leaders.

    Oh, and congratulations for citing Havel which is reference about six voting Americans would applaud. I’m not going to second guess Johnson, but if you want to pick someone NOT a foreign leader by virtue of politics, my vote is Malala Yousafzai. She’s a hero.

    1. And by the way, picking a non-governmental “hero” would have been the perfect segue into a discussion of how it ain’t all about gubmint.

    2. OK, lemme guess… Is Malala Yousafzai the mayor of Aleppo?

  47. Ask the same question to any American on the street. You’ll probably get the same answer that Johnson offered (worded differently, thought).

    I’m voting for Johnson because it’s not a matter of him knowing foreign leader’s names, it’s up to them to remember HIS!

    Gary Johnson is a regular American who could give a shit about other foreign leaders. Now that’s a guy I’m voting for!

  48. I was really looking forward to voting for Gary as more than just a protest vote. At this point though, a may have a hard time doing even just that and stay home instead, though if I hear some shithead tell me one more time that not voting or voting for anyone other than Hillary is a vote for Trump, I will be forced to vote for Trump.

    1. if I hear some shithead tell me one more time that not voting or voting for anyone other than Hillary is a vote for Trump, I will be forced to vote for Trump.

      Ideal responce: “Well, in that case, since not voting or voting for anyone but Hillary is the same as voting for Trump, you’ve convinced me: I’m voting for Trump*. Because fuck you, that’s why.”

      The indignant, incoherent stammering that would follow would be epic lulz.

  49. He should have just said “I don’t play favorites…” and left it at that. If Chris Matthews pressed him, he could have said “your mom”

  50. “Barack Obama. He’s a foreign head of state, right?”

  51. I hate everything.

  52. He’s a politician. Humility is not endearing, it’s a disgusting show of weakness.

    -Mr and Mrs Typical Voter

  53. I saw a little clip of that interview. Chrissie started babbling about global warming, and how the “snows of Kilimanjaro” have vanished. Johnson said, “I’ve been there. There’s still plenty of snow left.”

  54. Idi Amin.

    That’s my final answer.

    1. He was a real humanitarian.

    2. Idi Amin is my yard man, mows the lawn, does the best that he can
      Kinda scary but he looks so grand, Idi Amin is my yard man

  55. “Who is your favorite foreign leader?”

    “Barack Obama”

  56. And STILL several orders of magnitude better than the other two choices.

    1. Sadly true

  57. Seriously. All the parties banded together in secret in early 2015 and decided “Elections are boring. Let’s have a suicide match!!” Then they all put forth a large amount of money, the pot will be split between everyone who looses.

    So the Republicans put forth a fool.

    The Democrats force the most corrupt, corporate candidate they can find on their voters.

    The Libertarians go with someone to mild to capture the limelight of the crapfest.

    The Greens go straight-up conspiracy theorist.

    Look, they’re all clearly trying to loose, here.

    1. *too mild to

    2. That’s as good a theory to explain this shitshow as anything else.

  58. So Johnson is getting Palined.

    1. The Palin treatment started as soon as the MSM realized that he was a threat to their candidate. There was a really good and flattering article about him in the New Yorker of all places back in August. Once they saw that he was “stealing” Team Blue’s precious millennials, there was blood in the water.

    2. You mean Andrew Sullivan is lurking around him with a cheek swab?

      1. *not sure if sexual*

  59. I wish he’d done better and were more clever but I’ll share this as an upside:
    “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
    ? Mark Twain

  60. He could have just made up a name and when Matthews asked who that was he could look at him condescendingly and said “really Chris?”

  61. Yulia Tymoshenko, because she was hot and had an even hotter daughter.

  62. Eh, this ranks on a 2 on the Trump Idiocracy richtometer. If he said something like this, he’d probably brag about it the next day while his lickspittle, Sean Hannity, complained about the MSM.

    1. Still chortling over Jose Fernandez’s death, you worthless piece of shit?

  63. “Well, Chris- I hate to disappoint you, but it’s NOT Fidel Castro.”

  64. What if Gary has some actual policy solutions to lead with? How to boom the economy would be best, Or fixing Medicare. Both would be a start.

    This country is in very deep trouble. People are eager for change. That requires a lot more than “libertarian ideas.” How would he govern? What are the odds that his proposed spending cuts would get more than 25% support in Congress?

  65. So many better ways this could have been handled as already commented on. We can make many excuses on why this doesn’t matter but it truly does make it harder to defend him. Especially to the vast majority of people who really don’t ever want to think beyond the next move in whatever stupid ass game they are playing on their phones but can vote anyway.
    My favorite response would have been something about how Putin seems to be on everybody’s list these days followed by an evil laugh and then eff you to Chris Shithead and walking out.

  66. Actually, now that I think about it, he should have said Vit Jedlicka.

    1. Mario Vargas Llosa was kept from becoming President of Peru by the soft-machine looter dictator later tried and convicted. Honest people like Gary can’t be elected with looters running the show. But by simply being nice Gary is letting us get spoiler votes counted. Spoiler votes are what change the laws in a Kleptocracy.

  67. At this point, all I want is for the LP to get 5%+ and get automatic ballot access in most states. This is just a building year, and hopefully in 2020 we’ll get a better candidate who wants to take advantage of fifty-state ballot access. Hell maybe Rand Paul will finally switch parties. I’m certain he would be polling higher than Johnson, probably would have made it into the debates too.

    1. I have said this here numerous times.

      The time for Rand to have run on the Libertarian ticket was this year. You will probably never get two more unpopular candidates running against each other than what we have right now.

      And he had a real chance. In the first place, I bet he could have gotten in the debates. Secondly, he only needed to win Kentucky and one or two more states to force the election to the House. And he had a chance there.

      Would it have taken work? A better chance to lose than win? Yep. But he had a chance. Anything worthwhile isn’t handed to you. And in the process he would have articulated the libertarian cause much better than Johnson.

      Reason always says we are in a libertarian moment. I guess Rand doesn’t really believe that.

      1. He still believes in the two-party system, which makes sense in a way, since he watched his dad struggle to get any traction back in 1988.

      2. Rand Paul is an antichoice mystical republican, not a libertarian. Mimesis and impersonation are signs we are doing something right and our spoiler votes messing up their bought secret-ballot elections. But I wish someone other than girl bulliers would impersonate the LP. Already the guilt by association from having antichoice fascists infiltrate us as candidates has driven women to the Democratic party. It’s a replay of the way Jewish men and women were driven away from abettors of Christian National Socialist policies in 1933 and into the arms of other looters. Mixed economy doctors have no competition in exchange for lying about drugs to prop up dry-killer prohibitionism. And we need to be propping up and condoning this fraud? Betraying the individual rights of half of humanity to impress hypocritical mystics? You shall not crucify womankind on a Cross of Scold!

    2. Rand Paul is great at explaining difficult concepts. He went to the Heritage Foundation, the home of “judicial restraint”, and explained why judicial activism is necessary to protect the individual from the state. It only took him about half an hour and he actually might have won a few converts.

      You can’t do that in a 30 second sound bite or a two minute debate segment.

      His other problem is he won’t really go against the rest of the Republicans. He’s stuck between trying to advocate liberty and building some kind of influence in the party. The Democrats are now openly fascist and the Republicans are equally fascist but lie about being in favor of small government.

      The final point is that people not only don’t want liberty, they actually abhor it. In 1964 Ronald Reagan gave what I believe was the single best political speech in my lifetime. I heard it live and it was filled with ideas and passion delivered by a professional actor with a fine voice. It didn’t move the needle. It’s doubtful that it got Goldwater a single additional vote. Reagan spoke on national television for over 15 minutes.

  68. GJ helped out the media by coining the phrase ‘Aleppo Moment.’ They will use this to death against him. At least he didn’t call it Aleppo-gate.

    He should have turned this around. The best response would be ‘None. Next question.’

    1. The question is standard mixed-economy fare. Looters keep everyone else out of office by bribery and corruption, so it boils down to what looters do you admire? And the questioner is the same shill who led The Don out of the “hang the bitches” flap by throwing doctors under the God’s Own Prohibitionist steamroller.
      One good comeback would be “can you name the president of Chile?” Michele Bachelet is for Canadian abortion laws: None. Brazil’s lady president just got deposed for signing a bill to let rape victims have a morning-after bill. George Bush injected the federal government with religious fanatics via Executive Orders. These hatemongers are now (with Rome) forcing antiabortion dictatorships on South America. Dissenters become media unpersons–no American knows their names.

  69. Putin. Kadyrov. Duterte. Kim Jong Un.

    See? Now was that so hard?

  70. The thing that is most annoying about these errors by Johnson is that he was a professional politician and was elected to statewide office twice. I mean I know that New Mexico’s media are probably pretty light weight, but still, how does one get elected governor there without learning how to casually deflect questions that you don’t have an answer to? That was the big selling point to me for Johnson getting the nomination — he should be able to play the media’s game more effectively than people like Michael Badnarik — and it’s not paying off.

    1. Gary doesn’t need to be very good. He need only NOT be a communist/anarchist infiltrator nor a christianofascist prohibitionist infiltrator–which is all we’ve had lately trying for the nomination. The only other thing he needs NOT be is a Democrat or Republican.
      When the Kleptocracy points its teevee cameras at Gary their only purpose is to gun him down in full view of the kind of vidiots that watch that crap. With that disposed of they can get back to lying, thieving and the initiation of deadly force against the weak and helpless.

  71. I don’t care a single bit whether he can recite names of world leaders.

    However, his slow thinking is proving to be a really big liability.

    Literally any world leader outside of Putin or Kim Jong Un would have been fine if he had phrased it with “I don’t agree with everything they’re doing, but ____ has a tough situation to deal with and is doing well.”

    A purist answer about not worshipping government leaders would have been equally fine.

    He gave the worst possible answer that didn’t include sudden nudity or suicide.

    1. Suicide would have won him the election. Dead candidate it way better than Hillary or Trump to at least 50% of the country.

  72. *Furious applause*

    I take back everything I said about Reason’s coverage of Johnson. This explains exactly why many libertarians are frustrated with the LP’s choice this time around.

    1. You would rather have had the antichoice christianofascist? the bomb-throwing anarchist? the butthurt noob? Nobody smart wants to run for Prez on the LP tickee because the looters will murder them if their friends fail to backstab them to death. If Gary were to read the damn platform just once, he could turn around and ask “what part of our platform don’t you understand?”

  73. The correct answer: “Why do I need to know every specific person I’m not going to bomb?”

  74. Clearly, I’m going to need to keep this handy:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuM19EXpQo8

  75. He’s a good guy and earnest, but he IS a bit twitchy and not a great candidate. Clearly, Bill Weld should be at the top of the ticket. He might have made the 15%.

    1. Weld was opposed to Ron Paul; nothing Libertarian about this Tool of the Establishment Repukes.

  76. You know, just like the Aleppo gaffe gained him notoriety and gave him a bump in the polls, this probably will to. Keep dorking yourself, Gary! No such thing as bad publicity!

    That said, what the fuck was the exchange in the video about? He really seemed angry at that person asking questions more than he was even angry about dead war victims. He cut her off several times, raging at her about whatever story she was going to tell. Weld had a look on his face like, “I know he said he wasn’t gonna smoke weed on the campaign trail but clearly we could use some right now. It calms him.”

  77. Clearly, Bill Weld should be at the top of the ticket.

    Just in case Johnson is insufficiently libertarian for your tastes.

    1. Weld was opposed to Ron Paul; nothing Libertarian about this Tool of the Establishment Repukes.

  78. Oops. that should have been, “Just in case Johnson is TOO libertarian….”

  79. “I admire that politician that doesn’t lie…The name escapes me now”.

    Perfectly fine answer same result, nothing answered. A Libertarian gets a softball from Chris “Thrilled Leg” Matthews, and he flubs it? Go home your drunk!

  80. Johnson does seem to be radiating confusion far more than he did four years ago. It’s like he’s stuck on the phrase “fiscally conservative, socially tolerant” and when the subject becomes more specific he find that his tolerance ends with “discrimination”. The government may initiate force to compel certain people to deal with each other. That’s not tolerance, it’s the very antithesis of tolerance. He lacks the intellect to see his contradiction.

    He’s trying for the youth vote so he’s emphasizing social tolerance but his problem is that the youth only turn out to vote for celebrities and he ain’t no celebrity. He’ll gain their “support” but they’ll stay home with friends talking about how they’re going to get free college and have their student loans paid by Hillary.

    He’s a bad candidate but he’s was the only libertarian leaning politician with demonstrated executive ability so he got the nod from the LP. No one else would have done any better.

    Johnson was right about it being “game over” if the he didn’t get into the debates. No one else would have gotten into the debates either.

  81. Join the #LetGaryDebate protest outside the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) offices .
    12 Noon
    Friday, September 30
    1200 New Hampshire Ave. (at M Street)
    Washington, DC 20036
    (Johnson-Weld T-Shirts and lunch)
    CPD makes its next decision on debate participants next Tuesday, Oct. 4!

  82. It didn’t help that his running mate quickly named his own pick of foreign leader while GJ was hemming and hawing. Then he ran down a short list of former Mexican president.

    Johnson then said his fave president was Jefferson, the “first libertarian”. That slavery connection was coming at him like a ball thrown at a homerun derby. Any one of us here would have at least hit a single. But GJ “Well it doesn’t help that the constitution was written by slave owners”

    What does this accomplish exactly? Sometimes I think GJ is what a mild mannered Donald Trump would look like. Better on substance, but just as unprepared and flat footed.

  83. I’ve made a few comments the last few days that NO ONE is qualified to be President, as the “job” is currently structured/endowed. I haven’t felt the need to circle back, so I don’t know how it’s been received, or if anyone gives a heap. SOOO,

    Johnson simply proves that. It’s not a slam on Johnson, just that NOBODY is qualified. Johnson was a (reasonably) successful business AND a Governor of a State. He’s ALREADY toward the top end of the pool of people eligible to consider running. The pool is former/current Governors of the 50 States (say 400? currently ambulatory), reasonably current Senators and Representatives (say another 1,000?). I know/known a lot of politicians (and many of their flunkies) and the ALL put their pants on one leg at a time. Probably the ONLY one I considered even REMOTELY “gifted” was Reince Priebus (technically not even a politician), but after his performance the last few months viz a viz Trump, that went away like a fart in the wind.

    Politicians are SOCIOPATHS. They PRACTICE their persona. They are GRIFTERS, and their expertise is smiling, kissing your ugly baby, and knowing a LOT of stuff, but it’s exceedingly broad but onion skin thick. And when they’re asked something they don’t know, they obfuscate. THAT makes them qualified? No, it makes you a sucker that you keep electing them. They LIE and they STEAL YOUR MONEY AND YOUR LABOR. EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM. A lesser of two evils? Whatever gets you through the night.

  84. I would like to see Gary pretend to have Down Syndrome for the rest of the campaign and see how that goes.

  85. Didn’t he have his first “Aleppo moment” on MSNBC? And now another one…on MSNBC. A smart candidate would do what? Stay away from where? Figure it out, Einstein!

    1. This is the real mental failure. What the fuck is he doing giving those hardcore democratic shills a chances to trap him in the first place? Check your damn ego you moron. You can’t win anything on their show; they have no shame.

      1. I don’t get that either. You would almost think he’s working hard siphon votes away from Clinton.

  86. Almost 300 comments, and not one piinting out the lie.

    Gary Johnson did not struggle to think of a leader. He struggled to remember Vincente Fox’s name.

    And the commentariat is on here jerking themselves off over a Clinton lie they swallowed.

    1. The problem was it played into the established narrative that he’s a dumbfuck.

      1. Eh, we never liked him for his brains anyway. He could be comatose and he’s still be the best option.

    2. Which lie was that? There are so many to choose from.

  87. A really cool politician would have said: “Well – yuk, yuk – it all depends on what the definition of ‘leader’ is.”

  88. The biggest disaster is that he’s obviously suffering from weed brain, and now everyone thinks that weed makes you have bad recall. There goes another fucking generation.

  89. Here’s the problem with Gary Johnson…everything that matters for getting elected to national office.

    He’s a Libertarian candidate who never at any point won a race running as a Libertarian…he switched parties because he couldn’t get admitted to the GOP primary debates in 2012 so he’s never proven himself as a winner running on a third party platform. He’s running as a libertarian, but advocates no strongly libertarian policy positions, in an apparent attempt to make himself more palatable to “centrist” voters; meaning that he’s got no base (because he’s not idealistic enough for libertarians), no appeal to conservatives (because he’s mainly harping on positions meant to appeal to liberals) and no strong appeal to liberals who might switch over because they hate Hillary (because he’s conciliatory towards her). And he’s running as the “adult” and “qualified” choice to Trump and Clinton, but he bungles softball questions on foreign policy and comes off as unfocused and goofy in his press appearances (get a real fucking suit and haircut, Gary…it’s a goddamned job interview for an executive position). If you walk into an interview for a job and bungle the easy questions as badly as Gary Johnson does, nobody hires you because they have no faith in your ability to handle the difficult questions.

    1. I think it’s time to face the fact that he’s just a terrible candidate. He might be pulling a historic number of voters for the Libertarian Party, but that’s a “world’s tallest midget” accomplishment that can be primarily attributed to how many people utterly hate Trump and Clinton. They’re not coming over because he’s impressing them with his acumen for the job or his keen grasp of policy. They’re doing it because he’s an amiable pothead and the other two candidates are a traitor (Clinton) and a blowhard who comes off as racist (Trump).

  90. Thanks, Gary, for setting the Libertarian brand back 20 years at the very moment is was ripe to be a factor in this country. This ditzy fuck can’t get or stay out of his own way.

    1. It’s been quite a fall from the worldview of Hayek and Friedman. It’s a shame really. Hell, they could pick any faculty member at the Mercatus Center and nominate them and they’d be the most articulate candidate in recent memory. Of course they’d still lose and maybe do even worse, but it feels more honorable to lose because the electorate is a bunch of idiots than because your candidate is an idiot.

  91. Libertarians really want johnson to be their representative for the presidency? I think it’s a good thing he’s not on the debate stage.

  92. Look at smug Bill Weld’s face. Yuck. He was opposed to Ron Paul. Thinks about that: Opposed to Ron Paul = Establishment Republican Tool.
    While I’m no purist, 1. Weld’s presence on ticket and 2. Johnson’s effete, flighty weirdness mean my anti-Hillary vote must go to Trump. I’m not a complete captive of the Binary Choice syndrome since I would have enthusiastically voted for Ron (not the principle-less Rand) Paul.

  93. He should have said Al Baghdadi. I bet the shock value would have gotten him some much needed publicity. Then he could have explained how much of a statist Al Baghdadi really is, and painted libertarianism as the opposite of ISIS. If that sounds like nonsense, it is, but it sells, and it’s a bit more coherent than Donald Trump’s policy on anything, or Hillary’s bottomless bag of goodies for everyone.

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  95. In the first place why should anyone look to foreign leaders for guidance in political leadership? Is there no american living or dead that whose example is admirable? We know who the elite criminal snobs think is deplorable.

  96. Jos? Mujica, former president of Uruguay, is very much looked up to by people in the banana and bandana republics. Yes he is of the looter persuasion, but the guy was not a looter himself. He oversaw the partial legalization of homegrown hemp, and an Arab sheik offered a princely sum for his old beat-up VW bug as a curiosity. The guy did not submit to being carted about in limousines. Nor did he destroy the economy. In fact, since 1929 the main destroyer of economies have been prohibition and asset forfeiture laws, working hand-in-gauntlet.

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  101. This is so on-point, Matt. Supporters are out there trying to fight the ignorance of two party mouthpieces that say that LP is a bunch of wingnuts. Gaffes and goofs are giving them all the ammunition that they need. I love Gary Johnson, but this campaign needs to be run far tighter.

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  103. Johnson appears to choke and/or freeze on these pop-quiz pass/fail questions with alarming regularity, seems what’s probably happening in these moments, he’s desperately trying to think of something pithy to say (“wow, he’s both humorous and brilliant!”). Someone needs to sit him down and explain that the gift of gab is a gift he will never possess, that he’d be a better candidate by simply contemplating these pop-quiz questions for a very brief moment (perhaps rubbing his chin to look more thoughtful?) and then asking another question in return, which makes him appear to be looking for further clarification, makes him look more presidential than rash or dense, but in reality is just him buying more time.

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