Libertarian Gary Johnson makes case for national debates in CNN - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Libertarian Gary Johnson makes case for national debates in CNN Town Hall; Pledges cooperation

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Libertarian presidential nominees Gary Johnson and his running mate Bill Weld made their case for the Oval Office Wednesday night in CNN's second Libertarian Town Hall event. 

Johnson and Weld both fielded questions from the audience on topics ranging from their opponents to foreign policy and civil liberties. Johnson needs to average 15% in the polls to be included in the national debates with Clinton and Trump. Current numbers show Johnson polling anywhere from 9-13%, but Johnson expressed confidence Wednesday night that he'd reach 15%. 

In the town hall hosted by Anderson Cooper Wednesday night, the two pledged a less polarized political process if they were elected, citing their working relationships with parties "across the aisle" while they were Governors in New Mexico and Massachusetts.

"I think it would be refreshing to have a party that was not terribly partisan holding the White House, and we would hire the best people from the Democratic Party, the smartest people from the Republican Party and the best people from the Libertarian Party," Weld said.

They pledged to not only work with both parties in their administration but also offered up a sort of co-presidency, with a shared staff and a cooperative approach to running the country. 

"I love the idea. Bill Weld is a role model to me," Johnson said. "I think it's two for the price of one."

"If either Trump or Clinton are elected, things will be more polarized than ever," Johnson said, adding that his role was "calling out both sides." Johnson and Weld are hoping to unite voters unhappy with the Republican and Democrat nominees. Neither Clinton or Trump have 

“The two-party monopoly in Washington has gotten to the point where it’s kind of run out of gas and it’s even bad for the country,” Weld said.

Speaking on Donald Trump, Johnson's running mate said "He's a showman. He's a pied piper. He's the music man. More recently, it's gotten more serious, and the noun that comes to my mind is a 'screw loose.' "Weld added that he thought Trump "should consider some other line of work, like anything other than President of the United States."

Back in May, Trump told The Washington Times he views Johnson as a "fringe candidate." 

“I look at him and I watch him and I watch his motions and I watch what he says, I think that he is a fringe candidate,” Trump said. 

Speaking on Hillary Clinton, Johnson himself cast her as "beholden," saying "it's not a coincidence that Clinton and her husband are making huge amounts of money with these speaking fees."  Johnson stopped short of saying he personally felt Clinton was untrustworthy, but when asked why so many did, he said, "I totally get it."

Johnson dismissed the idea that him and Weld would play the role of spoiler this fall. 

"A wasted vote is voting for somebody that you don't believe in, and if we're going to continue to vote for the lesser of two evils, that's still evil," Johnson told a questioner. 

Speaking on foreign policy, Johnson expressed his opposition to military interventions overseas. 

"Whenever we get involved in regime change, these military interventions have resulted in a less safe world, not a more safe world," Johnson said.

A Columbia University Student spoke about how he lost his job and student housing after being outed as gay. The student asked the governors what they believed the role of government should be to protect civil liberties. Weld pointed out his, at the time unpopular, actions as governor of Massachusetts in the 90s to expand basic protections for LGBT people. 

Johnson said he did not support laws that would, for example, allow a baker to refuse to sell a cake for a gay couple on religious grounds. 

"I fear that under the guise of religious liberty, the LGBT community is being discriminated against," Johnson said. "I don't want to support discrimination in any form whatsoever."

Johnson and Weld will be on the ballot in all 50 states. 

At the end of the show, Anderson Cooper announced CNN will also hold another town hall event for Green Party nominee Jill Stein. 

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