It was March 31, 2011 and the closing minutes of Gary Johnson’s speech at the University of Michigan. The former New Mexico governor — not an announced presidential candidate at this point — was talking foreign policy.
Make no mistake. Gary Johnson is not your typical Republican. Beyond his view that the U.S. should scale back its intervention abroad, he is an advocate of legalizing marijuana, gay rights and unlike any other GOP candidate in the field, supports a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion.
He’s a fiscal hawk who turned a hemorrhaging budget into a surplus during his two-term tenure in New Mexico without firing a single government employee. At the same time, he managed to bring his business acumen into the mix, cutting spending and taxes in the process. In addition, Johnson introduced one of the nation’s first comprehensive school voucher programs.
Pretty impressive, eh?
Unfortunately, as I have documented, the mainstream media has largely given him the shaft, despite qualifying poll numbers. He has only appeared in a small fraction of the ten-or-so GOP debates thus far.
As the Q&A commenced, I became determined to interview the governor who I had introduced to the crowd less than an hour before. I hastily jotted down numerous questions.
Johnson’s policy positions can easily be found on his website or on his Wikipedia page, so I figured if I was going to interview him, I would drop a touch of the unorthodox on the presidential aspirant. I hit the avid triathlete and climber of Mount Everest with questions about his ideological influences, favorite music and advice to fellow entrepreneurs (Johnson grew a construction company from one to over 1000 employees before selling it in 1999).
After a fruitful Q&A session, Johnson graciously agreed to this exclusive NSU interview. Watch below as a slightly nervous Alex Biles interviews the former governor and 2012 presidential candidate. Transcript coming shortly. Video courtesy of Jake Fromm.