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News Link • Politics: Libertarian Campaigns

Gary Johnson Braves the ACLU

 Orlando, Fla.—On January 29 the Miami Herald ran a full-page ad excoriating Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney for their “abysmal” constitutional records. The ad wasn’t paid for by Ron Paul or his supporters, but by the American Civil Liberties Union, which invited the GOP field to its annual staff convention in Orlando to “face the nation’s largest gathering of real experts on the Constitution and explain yourselves.” Neither Gingrich nor Romney showed up.

Gary Johnson chuckled when a member of the ACLU’s excutive board showed him the ad on Sunday. Had the last six months gone differently—had Johnson been included in more televised debates, had a media gaggle tracked and reported his every move as he went door to door in New Hampshire—he would likely be campaigning as a GOP candidate in Florida this week, and perhaps not speaking to a small room of ACLU staffers.

Alas, the avalanche of earned media he anticipated for biking several hundred miles across the Live Free Or Die State never materialized, so Johnson dropped out of the GOP and joined the Libertarian Party, where he is, for the first time since his days as a gubernatorial candidate in New Mexico, a frontrunner. “I’m polling at 73 percent among libertarians,” Johnson told me before his speech. “I’ve never known what that’s like.

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