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Gov. Gary Johnson: I Smoked Marijuana from 2005 to 2008

The former New Mexico governor and likely 2012 Republican presidential candidate talks to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

10:25 AM, Dec 6, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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In one notable break from Ron Paul’s foreign policy, Johnson offers rhetorical support for Israel. “I think that we really do have a vested interest in Israel and that we shouldn’t walk away from that interest,” he says. Johnson also puts distance between himself and the 9/11 Truthers, who found a friendly home in the Ron Paul campaign. “Based on what I know,” Johnson says, “no, I don’t think the 9/11 report should be reopened, based on my knowledge.”

While Johnson’s executive experience, along with his inclination to spurn the fringe elements that were attracted to the 2008 Paul campaign, could help him emerge as a more appealing candidate than Paul, his positions on social issues—which are more in line with Rudy Giuliani—could also limit his popularity in the Republican primaries.

In principle, Johnson thinks abortion should be legal in most cases. “I support a woman’s right to choose [abortion] up until viability of the fetus,” he says. Why does viability endow human beings with the right to life? “I don’t personally have a sense that life starts at conception,” Johnson answers intuitively. “I don’t personally have that sense.”

But as a matter of law, Johnson thinks Roe v. Wade should be overturned. “It should be a states issue to begin with,” he says. “The criteria for a Supreme Court justice would be that those justices rule on the original intent of the constitution. Given that, it’s my understanding that that justice would overturn Roe v. Wade.”

Does Johnson think there’s a constitutional right to same-sex marriage? “I don’t see it,” he says, “but I do support gay unions. I think the government should be out of the marriage business and leave marriage to the churches.”

Should Johnson run for president—and he’s giving every indication that he will run without saying so due to the tax status of his Our America Initiative—it will be interesting to see if Ron Paul supporters will tolerate Johnson’s more socially liberal views. But at the very least he shouldn’t have too much trouble reaching out to Randians.

“The woman that I’m with, and I’m gonna be married to and I’m in love with now—we’ve been together for a couple of years—she asked me was there anything that she could read to understand what it is or how I thought, and I recommended to her Atlas Shrugged,” says Johnson. “I think I view the system the same way that Ayn Rand views the system—that it really oppresses those that create, if you will, and tries to take away from those that produce and give to the non-producers.” But, as with most of his views, Johnson’s devotion to Rand isn’t totally rigid.

“I would like to see the government help out those truly in need,” he says. “She [Ayn Rand] wasn’t that way.”

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