Johnson said voting for a third-party candidate does not constitute wasting a vote if voters believe in the principles the candidate adheres to.
“What is a more wasted vote than voting for someone you don’t believe in?” Johnson asked.
Johnson, who served as governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, said he would not take military action against Iran. Presidential candidates Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor, and President Barack Obama support military action as an option to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“We bomb Iran, we’re going to find ourselves in a two-year bombing maintenance program of Iran,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he would end combat operations in Afghanistan immediately and pursue a foreign policy of non-intervention.
On national security, Johnson said he would have vetoed the PATRIOT Act, a law that expanded law enforcement agencies’ surveillance abilities. He said he also would have prevented the establishment of the Transportation Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security. According to his campaign’s website, Johnson would repeal the PATRIOT Act and would allow private security firms to provide airport security.
He also said he would have vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012, which contains a provision authorizing the indefinite detention of persons suspected of terrorist involvement by the federal government.
Johnson said Obama has not taken enough action on gay rights and affirmed his own support for gay marriage.
“Marriage equality is a constitutional guarantee,” he said.
Obama presided over the repeal of the U.S. military’s “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy, signed legislation that added sexual orientation to federal hate crime laws and announced his support for gay marriage.
Johnson also criticized the Obama administration for allowing the Drug Enforcement Administration to raid medical marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana and said he would legalize the use of marijuana.
“The more we talk about it, the more people understand it’s just like the prohibition of alcohol,” he said.
On economics, Johnson said he would repeal the income tax, corporate tax and the Internal Revenue Service and replace them with a nationwide sales tax, which he said would eliminate tax loopholes and deductions for corporations.
Christina Graves, international relations and global studies senior, said she did not know anything about Johnson before attending the speech, but identified with his views, which she characterized as socially liberal and fiscally conservative.
Graves said she normally identifies as a Democrat but is not sure who she will vote for in November.
Malcolm Macleod, member of Libertarian Longhorns, which sponsored the event, said he agrees with Johnson’s position regarding balancing the federal budget and reducing the national debt.
“That’s the best thing we can do for the future: not leaving mountains of debt,” Macleod said.
Printed on Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 as: Candidate states views