Ask most people who's running for president, and they'll tell you Al Gore and George W. Bush. But more than 170 Americans have declared their candidacy for this country's highest office in next year's election. That includes several Californians, according to Project Vote Smart, an organization that tracks presidential wannabes. Below, a sampling of their political platforms.
Robert William Gottier, 62, Laguna Woods.
Party affiliation: None.
Slogan: "I don't want a slogan."
Qualifications: "Absolutely none, but my mind works pretty good, and most government people's minds do not work worth a damn."
Why he's running: "Because we're headed for World War III unless someone controls the population of this planet. There are more people on planet Earth now than planet Earth can produce food for. Within 10 to 30 years, WWIII will break out over food [shortages] caused by overpopulation."
What he would do with the government's surplus: "I'd give it to poor people. I want to wipe out poverty with profit-limiting laws and pay-limiting laws and job rationing."
His stance on gun control: "People should be allowed to have reasonable fire arms for a hobby, but automatic weapons should be illegal."
His stance on publicly funded preschool: "With required birth control laws and by raising minimum wage to $12.02 an hour, people will not need to put their kids in preschool. The woman can stay home. Also, I'm gonna raise welfare to at least $18,000 a year."
Larry Hines, 35, West Hollywood.
Party affiliation: Libertarian.
Slogan: "I have a theme song, 'Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now,' by McFadden & Whitehead."
Qualifications: "I have a lot of experience being true to myself. I look at today's politicians, and I'm not really sure what they believe. They go back and forth."
Why he's running: "My platform issues are privatizing education and withdrawing the U.S. from the U.N. My idea of the federal government, which I think is in line with that of the founding forefathers, is a limited government that is there to protect our rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness, but it shouldn't be acting as a social service organization . . . "
What he would do with the government surplus: "Give it back to the taxpayers."
His stance on gun control: "There are already so many gun control laws that another one isn't going to help anything. It's what's happening inside the person that's causing them to commit a crime, it's not the gun. Laws against guns only hurt law-abiding citizens."
His stance on publicly funded preschool: "The problem with publicly funded education is it just becomes this philosophical battleground of how it should be done. The parents are the ones who have the right and responsibility to control the idea and methods by which their children are taught."
Quentin Colgan, 41, Chico.
Party affiliation: None.
Slogan: "It's our country. We can take it back."
Qualifications: "I'm over 35 years of age. . . ."
Why he's running: "I speak for the American people, and Messrs. Bush and Al Gore don't. They're pretty much out of touch with mainstream Americans. They both went to Yale, they both had a life of privilege. They've never had dirt under their fingernails. They don't represent me. I doubt they represent you."
What he would do with the government's surplus: "It's not really a surplus. It's been borrowed from Social Security, so let's pay back Social Security first and then do the accounting and see what the surplus actually is."
His stance on gun control: "We have enough controls on guns. We certainly don't need any more. Current efforts to limit people's ownership of guns are simply measures to disarm the citizenry, because you'll never disarm criminals with gun control."
His stance on publicly funded preschool: "That's for the states to decide. That's not the business of the federal government to be funding the Department of Education. In fact, I'd abolish the Department of Education."