Opinion: Gary Johnson throws his hat into the GOP presidential ring, will he be the 2012 Ron Paul?

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Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who once scaled Mt. Everest, spoke to a sparse crowd Thursday at the steps of the New Hampshire statehouse to announce another difficult journey: his desire to seek the Republican nomination for president.

‘I’m going to spend a lot of time in New Hampshire, where you can go from obscurity to national prominence overnight with a good showing,’ Johnson, 58, a former two-term governor, said to dozens.


Johnson is a conservative with a libertarian bent, much like Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who ran unsuccessfully in the last presidential race. Both men favor the legalization of marijuana and oppose the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and runaway federal spending.

While Paul is affectionately known as ‘Dr. No’ for his rigid stance to ‘never vote for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution,’ Johnson was equally tough as a governor, proudly vetoing 750 bills while in office, earning him the nickname ‘Governor Veto.’

After unseating incumbent Democratic Gov. Bruce King in 1994, Johnson successfully maintained his seat by beating Democratic Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez by 10 points in 1998. Johnson was forced to step down after his second term because of term limits. ‘Today’s mess didn’t just happen. We elected it -- one senator, member of Congress and president at a time,’ Johnson said in a statement. ‘Our leaders in Washington, D.C., have ‘led’ America to record unemployment, a devalued currency, banking scandals, the mortgage crisis, drug crisis, economic crisis, loss of our nation’s industrial might -- and a long list of other reminders our nation is way off course.’


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Note: Andrew Malcolm is on vacation

-- Tony Pierce