Ep. 86 - Gary Johnson

Update: 2016-10-101


Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for president, talks with David about his foreign policy vision, the Johnson administration’s approach to illegal drugs, and his infamous Aleppo moment.

Following script is auto-generated by Speech to Text Technology:

the board for the acts files comes from rockin' mortgage my Quicken loans lift the burden of getting a home loan with rockin' mortgage and get a secure transparent home loan approval in minutes skip the bank of the waiting then go completely online at Quicken loans dot com slash X Files This podcast is brought you by sixty DB listen to conversations that go beyond the headlines business sports politics today's news plus all of your favorite podcasts download the free sixty DB at today the The The The and now from the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN The X Files with your host David Axelrod the the the it's fair to say that the very few third party candidates have gotten as much discussion particular among young people for President United States and Gary Johnson the former governor of New Mexico now the libertarian line he came by the Institute of Politics the University of Chicago the other day to meet with students and we had a chance to sit down afterwards and talk about his career and his campaign for president the the Gary Johnson welcome and welcome to these two apart thank you Shay knew were coming by to speak to speak to our university community today and tell me you I just want to I want to get into the issues of the day but I want to give it a richer sense of who you are you grew up partly in North Dakota yet yet moved to North Dakota South Dakota moved to New Mexico and I was thirteen my mother got transferred there with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and really then you know New Mexico great move my my dad went to New Mexico as a Boy Scout and was kind of always trying to angle his way back so I see what new mom with the Bureau of Indian Affairs which you do she was an accountant and of a consolidated all of the six regional offices in the United States in Albuquerque so that's how we got there did you guys have was with politics talked about in zero my parents were not political at all zero day with a partisan No absolutely not there are registered always been register had always been registered Democrats but never in a partisan way at all and did you come across a political figures when you're growing up either in the Dakotas are and always follow small state so just always held politicians on a pedestal looking up to them you know wow these are people that get elected and they're in positions to do good I always believe that I've always believed politics was a high calling of being in a position to do good by others David you know this week I could get you people lined up for city blocks to tell you the time the scourge of the earth and that I'm not that I don't have anything do with doing good but that was the that was the intention remains the intention did you so in those really it as a as a kid when you say you had that you did you think of yourself is maybe one day go into public service going I did I always always thought that was something that I wanted to do I came to an early epiphany that I got my degree in political science and getting that degree came to recognize that the number one component of getting elected is money and I also came to this epiphany that you know what I don't want to go out and raise money because boy that's going to involve compromise or compromising myself somehow I was going to put myself up for sale so I thought well just wait until I can afford it myself and that's what I did I basically paid for my primary run running for governor in New Mexico with my own money right uhm you you started you get a little business that became a big construction has started business in nineteen seventy four and actually grew that business to employ over a thousand people on electrical mechanical plumbing pipe fitting about as high tech as it gets an American dream come true amazing what happens when you show up on time and you just do what you say are going to do for people we're sharing the profits to learn what you learn from that experience well a couple of takeaways big takeaways just the simple notion of showing up on time keeping your word sharing the profits man that is a magic formula for growing the pie and then hiring who did you do that we had that we had profit sharing that I put it out there from a formula standpoint that look I'm all about entrepreneurs I'm all about promoting what it is that you want to do as an employee of my company if you have an idea Why don't I bankroll it's um you'll get a third of the prophets and I'll get two thirds of the prophecy not believe the company to be an entrepreneur or so you know that was growing the profit sharing in the profits for everybody so profit sharing for everybody health care and benefits no health care benefits all that now course we grew in to all that if if that would have been requirements from the very get go I know that I would have never been able to grow the business as I did because it would have been completely prohibitive to have to have started off that way so you you you the twenty years ago you ran for governor of New Mexico in twenty at twenty two years twenty two yet so nineteen ninety four yeah well and actually announced a ninety three OH MY gosh and as you say you funded your own campaign um and you waited to find your own campaign until you could do that Yeah yeah was its say about our democracy that one has to either raise a lot of money or or have a lot of money while one of the way you know people talk about limiting campaign contribution or that there should be public funding for campaigns I think that when you limit funding when for public financing of campaigns that you're really um advantage ng incumbents your advantage ing those that have a name as opposed to somebody that's completely outside of politics on my case you don't stand a chance with limited campaign contribution I think that there should be one hundred percent transparency when it comes to campaign contributions something that doesn't exist today but limiting campaign contributions like I say if you've got a name um you know you're going to be at a big advantage if you are the incumbent you're going to be a big advantage to anybody else that's running for that office doesn't also get an awful lot of power to people who can write enormous checks to influence public policy who haven't you found a this is has been my experience is whenever I write whenever I see somebody with a lot of money sign up to run for political office like a Donald Trump for example we don't really know much money he has no right right but growing up you know you'd see community leaders that would be running for office and you knew that they had money in that they were spending money and the campaign was just a disaster so I think you can have world and if you're a disaster as a candidate that you just don't survive you just don't think the money matters how much it meant it's the it's the main ingredients but if you're if you don't have it as a kid if you've got as if you if you aren't together candidate if you're a genuine candidate and you have money both you know that's that success and when you're governor you you said you financed your primers in the general you you raise money yet but it was really just going to the mailbox and picking up checks I mean that came along with being there was just an automatic I never asked for funds I never solicited campaign contributions and I think because I paid for my own primary I think that it was viewed as Well Gee there's no quid pro quo here it's it's contributing to good government at least that's the way I view so if you are president you would you would advocate fewer not more restrictions on campaign finances I would add another then another closure yet complete disclosure no limits on contributions but full disclosure yayy yayy so tell me about your governorship and the things that you are most proud of their will a thing as most proud of his eye I campaigned on the notion of look I'm just going to bring a common sense business approach to state government I've never been involved in politics before so my pledge to you all as voters is that I will put the issues that should be on the front burner on the front burner regardless of the political consequence because there is no political consequences I'm not a politician I haven't been and so my my what I'm most proud of is that we did that we really took it on we took the whole thing on we are not wall flowers you name it the hardest of the biggest issues facing the state were always put on the front for you um you one of the things that you crime was a huge issue in nineteen ninety four and one things that you I'm what you must have run into but you also passed a three strikes and You're Out Bill and I know I never signed three strikes you're out of um I'm sure I didn't do that did you would sign any kind of determine sentencing bill what was your you and you are seen at least not as an anti time to it never got through the legislature of the Democrats control IP at that time I would have signed that kind of legislation you know we we do we do evolve and I've come to recognize that I wish I would not have supported that why well let me use the death penalty is an example I was a supporter of the death penalty until I came to realize that the government makes mistakes on the death penalty it may be that there's a four percent error rate when it comes to the death penalty well David the naive way I just I didn't think the government really made mistakes well when I came to recognize that I reverse myself in office and him and supported repeal of the death only did you apply the death penalty at all when you did there was one case that came up and I as a result of that one case that came up where a person was put to death he he admitted to the crime had long admitted to the crime he wanted to be put to death I let that occur but in in that happening it was wave after wave after wave of those opposed to the death penalty nine Mets with those groups and it was in that whole process that I came to recognize the error rate that does exist the U said u would you would not now advocates the three strikes no I think you do think that that that there is a discriminatory bias in the in the criminal justice system yes and I came to that advocating for the legalization of marijuana in nineteen ninety nine I really didn't la hm I didn't know what that was going to entail I really didn't and I really went into that with an open mind this wasn't a predisposition to say hey let's legalize marijuana but when I got into the drug war there was this immediate recognition that if you're of color um you know there's a much more likelihood that you'll end up behind bars than if not so when I came to recognize was that this three strikes you're out legislation mandatory sentencing legislation disparaging Lee that's not the right word but it just overwhelmingly these crimes were drug related crime arguably victim less non violent crime of possession and sale the main category of prisoner today in federal prison is the is the person who has sold small amounts of drugs on numerous occasions and been caught presence been commuting Bravo these did you do that as governor I did I put it out there that I would commute any one sentence that was in state prison victim less non violent drug crime it was at that point that I came to recognize that that category of prisoner is in federal prison not state prison state prison you know what their other crimes commited mm gun crimes of violent crime yet drugs were at the heart of it but it wasn't just possession only I did have a couple of high profile of them taking people out of jail and because I I said Look show me show me the victim lists nonviolent drug offender behind bars now all take my papers on this issue of legalization of marijuana obviously we're a campus you get big you get a big rousing ovation when you talked about that what brought you to that issue and I mean I just get out on the table because it always comes up with your own experience with with with marijuana oh I have used marijuana I have used marijuana throughout my life on various occasions but um I came to it from oven and I never use marijuana as governor of New Mexico because it was the legal knowledge just to health and wellness is my whole thing in life I haven't a drink of alcohol in almost thirty years said even use marijuana throughout your life right well so you know first time I use marijuana seventeen I use marijuana through college use it often on then went on a long period of time where I never use it all and after having been governor and I suffered a really bad accident semi started using it again as a pain reliever well yeah a pain reliever as a way to deal with literally being on my back for two weeks without moving for I had a burst fracture might well T vertebrae in my back and I was prescribed that I was to be on the floor on the hard floor for three straight weeks yeah so that's OK no less quilt so you see yourself in the White House smoking a joint no no actually I said that I would not do that I think that Tom first of all I've always been an advocate you know that you shouldn't be on the job impaired and presence on the job all the time presence on the job all the time and running for president is twenty four seven job also so five months ago somebody asked Newell when was the last time used it while I shoot really well served by that Russo five months ago that answer was Well two days ago I I consumed while that was five months ago and I made a pledge look this is a this is a full time job and it was before that Aleppo thing right in and out of a handy explanation for the Woodbine and that's what going to disqualify right away but you ask me what motivated me with regard to marijuana was the recognition that half of what the state was spending enforcement the courts and prisons was drug related and what were we getting for that well and then it was starting off with Well Gee I guess I better start off with taking a look at Holland and the fact that they have just rampant because they've essentially criminalize all drug use that they've got a horrible crime they've got horrible addiction rates and come to find out I mean this this didn't take but ours to recognize that that was all a lie all of it was a lie and then the recognition after about two weeks of studying it and I had some of the world's experts that came into New Mexico to help me out with the issue but it was about a two week process and man I had all the facts down and it was it was the wrong thing to be doing yeah I mean I think there's a very respectable argument for the fact that we can transfer those resources to treatment for people who need it but here's a here's a question for traveling the country we have this epidemic now are all these horrendous stories in places that really you wouldn't expect them you know of these heroin overdoses that have grown out of prescription drugs being prescribed you mention you get injured they get toxic other drugs and then they become addicted to those drugs and turn to heroin as a substitute because it's cheaper on the street what we do about that well first of all and multifaceted marijuana does directly compete with these O P avoids and with regard to O P owh statistically legal prescription opioid skill about thirty thousand people a year there's not been one documented deaths due to marijuana so Gee that's a that's a difficult one to assess pluses and minuses but that said you know looking at Hope a heroin overdose I mean overdose is a function of quality quantity unknown if you really if communities are really concerned with reducing death disease crime and corruption you can look to cities like Vancouver a new look to cities like Zurich that the that those things have actually happened chief of police from Zurich came to a came to a world drug conference in Albuquerque in two thousand and two and he said when A came out with his heroin maintenance program in Zurich he said I've been a law enforcement my entire life all my friends me we could not have been more opposed to this heroin maintenance program this death disease crime corruption was going to skyrocket he said I'm here I'm here at this convention to say that all of those things got better in a big way death disease crime corruption plummet through legalization will essentially adopted heroin maintenance program where if you were at This is irked now if you were a heroin addict you could get free heroin you get free heroin you get clean needles you get as many doses you want none of the doses would kill you so the idea was okay clean needles no more HIV no more hepatitis C free so no more crime or prostitution involved who administered the program the city so government administered the government to is the suggestion that that should happen here the government's highest or program like Well if if if cities are concerned with Logan this is not of course limited to cities this is we set off through rural America is where it's been the most significant so it would have to be a broader policy than just individual cities with well I think that if individual cities and not one individual city in the United States has taken on a program for example I mean if you really care we have the most effective policies in the world for killing heroin addicts we do if you're really concerned about heroin addicts I'm living as governor of New Mexico I signed legislation allowing for needle exchange you know and HIV and hepatitis C dropped dramatically as a result of the needle exchange programs now this problem is less about dirty needles more about as you say that the nature of the heroine so mix was spent now another yeah no killer drugs so if communities were really concerned about this and really wanted to prevent these kinds of deaths cities could set up and David this is not a federal program I'm not advocating a federal program here whatsoever but if Chicago were to set up clinics that you attic could come in and get your hair when tested without fear of criminal law repercussions will test it for you and will determine whether it will kill you or not if if you are genuinely concerned about reducing death due to heroin that is a program may all the Phillies could also be promoting heroin addiction by doing well that was one of the things that that was one of the criticisms of the Zurich program before it went into effect but in fact you know you registered as a heroine to get the heroin you have to register as an addict statistically people quit their use of heroin after about twelve years on heroin they just stop but in the in this country no paramedics don't live in twelve years they die of overdose they die of HIV hepatitis C There are federal obviously federal drug laws federal government has a big involvement in in this what would you instruct the Justice Department to do relative to the prosecution of drug crimes well first of all when it comes to marijuana I would reschedule marijuana and that's the only dramatic by the way they advocated legalization of marijuana nine am only advocating legalization marijuana when you then go to other drugs I think when we legalize marijuana we're going to take a quantum leap as a country to to the understanding of drugs as a health issue rather than a criminal but it was shown up in the things said before if if people can go to clinics and get heroin than the assumption is that and as you say they won't be prosecuted the federal government have to be in some way of proving of those arrays yes well and I would I would do everything in my power as president to accommodate those kinds of range I'm not advocating that is a federal program but just very quickly on marijuana as present United States I would D I I would d schedule marijuana as a class one narcotic marijuana is going to be a states issue just like alcohol I mean they're still dry counties in this country let's take a quick break and we'll be back with Gary Johnson rocket mortgage by Quicken loans proudly supports the X Files when it comes to the big decision of choosing a mortgage lender it's important to work with someone you can trust leisure best interests in mind with rockin' mortgage you'll get a transparent online process that gives you the confidence you need to make an informed decision skip the bank of the waiting and go completely online at Quicken loans dot com slash X Files equal Housing lender license in all fifty states and MLS consumer access dot org Number thirty thirty were sitting on the Southside of Chicago right now and you made a presentation to these students come in among the many issues you talked about was not gun violence but Chicago has a major problem with gun violence has many urban areas to be in Chicago it's been very severe what would you do as president or is there anything you think you can do to reduce that gunfire that that level of gun violence well I'm back to Chicago and back to the way that I think constitutionally this country was meant to perform and that it would actually perform a lot better but wouldn't be Washington top down if it would be Chicago actually going off and embarking on their experiment and how to make things better in other cities would emulate but governor you know here's the issue half the guns that are used in crimes here come across the border from Indiana with are very lax gun laws so there are more guns bought at gun shows in large numbers and then they're sold on the streets of Chicago so it's not really it's not merely up to the city is it you don't live well no but I would imagine that the example that you're pointing out is not unique to Chicago I imagine that situation exists in many places and though you look at a city like New York where gun violence is actually lower and they're surrounded by states with rather strict gun laws and you know so if you if you're good for doing productive read about that but if there were a fair if our federal laws relative to guns would not be helpful you know I'm I'm open never say never I mean that's what that was my pledge having been governor is basically taking a position against you know support for example backed universal background checks well just that universal I wouldn't I the problem is is that there are sitting members of Congress that are on the no fly lists could there be a way that that there be a very expedited process that if you find yourself on one of those lists that you could make sponge or so from that list and a very efficient and meaningful way if that's the issue of more resources you're you're asking your answer in a different question though which is another question which is should people who run a no fly list because of concerns about links to terrorism should they be able to buy gun sets that's one question mine is a different one which is should there be universal background checks and fill in these kind of loopholes a gun show loophole in some of these other loopholes that allow large numbers of guns to be transferred without ever knowing about those transfers or who they are being transferred to like is not a way to keep people with obvious problems from buying guns I'd love to sit down with all those with the advocates for mom advocates for that and understand as well as I possibly could maybe end up being an advocate for that but you haven't come to any conclusion all I know when you're governor did you not face any of these issues not on the guns no other than signing legislation allowing for conceal carry and where you did you of where you rated by the in for good I think they gave me their highest rating yeah but you but you'd still be open you say too sure well I think that's what you want in you wants to elect somebody is going to say Never Say Never as I put out there my example on the death penalty is as we all evolve as human beings so you may you could switch her position on guns why switch my position on guns I'm going to always support the Second Amendment the Constitution um how do you keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill well I'm open to that discussion How do you keep guns out of the hands of would be terrorists I'm open to that discussion home you know you in this discussion with this the students which was rigorous uninteresting you you were asked about the surveillance and you talked alot about you gave remarks about national security my experience was at two years in the White House et-cetera office next to the president every single day he began with an intelligence briefing yes an all over the world you know they were significant issues but they're on the issue of terrorism there were active plots not imaginary place but active plots and you you are very careful in your remarks to to note that the job of the present is to protect the American people so how do you do that if you know that there are there's a there's a there are cells of of of people who are terrorists who are plotting attacks like the ones that we've sustained what would you do to intervene to stop them well so you are the first person and with the proximity to the White House you are the first person with that kind of proxy you're you you just now close proximity to telling me that this is actually what was transpire in between the NSA in the Pres
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Ep. 86 - Gary Johnson

The Axe Files with David Axelrod