Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson would fight to legalize marijuana, reform the criminal justice system and avoid foreign conflicts if elected. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). STORY: Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson details his position on issues such as foreign military intervention, criminal justice reform and legalizing marijuana. Speaking to Reuters on Saturday (September 10) before his campaign rally in New York, Johnson outlined what makes him different from Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump. "We are fiscally conservative, small government, less tax. I think Hillary is bigger government, more tax. We're also socially inclusive, supporting gay marriage, legalization of marijuana, a woman's right to choose. I think that people being able to make their own choices in life is really what this country is about. I think that's what we fought wars over in this country. And lastly, we are skeptical when it comes to our military interventions. We're skeptical that when we go into support regime change that it has resulted in a more safe world. It hasn't. It's a less safe world and we're the only ones that support free trade," he said. Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico, has been trying to turn the two major candidates' low approval ratings to his advantage in the race to win the Nov. 8 election. On the issues of the drug war, mass incarceration and racial discrimination, Johnson said "in 1999, I was the highest-ranking elected official in the United States to call for the legalization of marijuana. I think our mass incarceration has roots in the drug war - that we should bring an end to the drug war, of victimless non-violent crime. We have the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. I refuse to believe that we are any less law-abiding in this country than anywhere else in the world. If you are of color and you are arrested on a drug related crime, there is a four times more likelihood that you'll end up behind bars than if you are white. If you're black there's a six times more likelihood that you'll get shot by police. So I always like to say, look, all lives matter, but black lives matter and here's why. This is happening. We've had our heads in the sand regarding the discrimination that in fact does exist in this country." Johnson has just 8.6 support in the current average of opinion polls by website RealClearPolitics in a matchup with Clinton, Trump, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. The Libertarian candidate is eager to bring his message to the first presidential debate which is scheduled for September 26 in Hempstead, New York. However, a candidate must have at least 15 percent support to be included in debate, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates. Johnson said the people who make the rules of the debate have their own interests in mind. "We should unquestionably be included in the debates. We are going to be the only party, the only third party on the ballot in all 50 states. We are two former governors. The Presidential Debate Commission is made up of Democrats and Republicans with no intention whatsoever of seeing anyone other than Democrats and Republicans on the stage. And if you start parsing whether or not we should have a 18 million voters supporting us to be able to get into the debates or 21 million voters supporting us getting into the debates, I think that's a parse that maybe the American people won't stand for." Johnson's running mate is Bill Weld, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts.