ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
With many potential GOP candidates taking pains to keep themselves out of the presidential race — at least for now — here’s one who’s all in: former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.
Skipping the presidential exploratory phase, Johnson announced in New Hampshire on Thursday that was launching a long-shot White House bid because, as he put it, the country is “a mess.”
“Today’s mess didn’t just happen,” Johnson said. “We elected it — one senator, member of Congress and president at a time. Our leaders in Washington, DC, 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.”
Johnson, who served as governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003 and whose viewpoints (at least some of them) are unorthodox for a Republican, made the announcement on the steps of the New Hampshire State House in Concord.
The former governor may be best known for his support for legalizing marijuana. He also opposes continuing America’s military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I can’t think of a more conservative issue than marijuana,” Johnson said in an interview on MSNBC on Thursday. “Half of what we spend on law enforcement is drug related. What are we getting for that?”
Johnson said that what the country needs now is a “President Veto” — “someone who will say ‘no’ to insane spending and stop the madness that has become Washington.” He added that none of the other potential 2012 Republican candidates fit the bill.
“I look at the rest of the field running for president, and that song by The Who comes to mind,” Johnson said. “You know the one. We ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again.’ What’s the definition of insanity? It is to keep doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different outcome.”
Johnson’s campaign team announced that the newly-minted presidential candidate will spend three days in New Hampshire meeting voters, visiting local businesses and he’ll fit in some hiking and skiing time in the Granite State’s scenic White Mountains too.