PARKER - Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson stopped into the South Denver metro area on Monday and spent a healthy portion of his time defending his recent “Aleppo moment” to reporters.
In a recent appearance on MSNBC, Johnson was unable to name a current world leader that he admires and sheepishly explained that he may be having another moment like the one in which he responded to a question on the crisis in Syria by asking “what is Aleppo?”
Johnson cast the gaffe as a case of a question to which he honestly had no answer.
“Four days later, I cannot name for you a world leader that I categorically admire and could defend for whatever would come along,” Johnson told 9NEWS.
Gary Johnson had trouble naming a foreign leader he respects. “I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment." 😬 https://t.co/hikKVlQQQc— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) September 29, 2016
Johnson packed a 1,200-person auditorium at the University of Colorado South Denver facility and delivered a passionate speech to supporters.
Supporters of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would cast Johnson as a spoiler. While he has almost no chance of winning Colorado’s nine electoral votes, Johnson is commanding a significant bloc of the state’s voters.
He earns 8.6 percent of voters in the average of polls from realclearpolitics.com and some individual polls put his numbers as high as 13 percent in the state—support that Trump and Clinton would very much like to win over.
That seems unlikely with some of Johnson’s most ardent supporters. Some showed up in T-shirts that read “everybody sucks ’16… except Gary Johnson.”
On stage, Johnson called for less military spending, a more open border with Mexico, and said (while standing in a public university building) that “government should get out of the education business completely.”
The former governor of New Mexico says he’s trying to appeal to independent voters—the largest category of voters in Colorado—with a message about thrifty government and protection of personal liberties, including same-sex marriage and legalized marijuana.
“Colorado, you rock,” Johnson said to earn one of his biggest applause of the night. “You legalized marijuana.”
Johnson openly admits to marijuana use, but says he stopped smoking pot for the campaign and has vowed not to use the drug while in the White House.
When asked what kind of message that sends about the relative safety of using pot, Johnson said it was about earning the confidence of voters.
“I haven’t had a drink of alcohol in 30 years,” Johnson told 9NEWS. “And as President of the United States, I would like people to be assured that if the missiles are incoming and there’s 12 minutes to deal with it, that it will be somebody that’s not under the influence of anything.”
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