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Gary Johnson announces Libertarian bid for U.S. president

(Xinhua)

10:38, December 29, 2011

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, a long-shot candidate for the White House, announced Wednesday that he has decided to quit the Republican nomination race and seek the Libertarian nomination instead.

The two-term governor made the announcement at a press conference at the state Capitol in Santa Fe, New Mexico, expressing his frustration over the GOP nomination process. He has been excluded from all but two GOP presidential debates and has barely registered in the polls.

"Frankly, I have been deeply disappointed by the treatment I received in the Republican nomination process," he said. "I had hoped to lay out a real libertarian message on all the issues in the Republican contest. The process was not fair and open."

"I am a Libertarian -- that is, someone who is fiscally very conservative but holds freedom-based positions on the issues that govern our personal behavior," he added.

Johnson is fiscally conservative but holds liberal views on some social issues including support for abortion, gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana. Similar to House Representative Ron Paul of Texas, a Libertarian and the current front-runner in the GOP nomination race in Iowa, he opposes overseas military engagement like the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Johnson is seen as almost having no chance of winning the presidency, however, he is not irrelevant in the race. A third- party candidate could grab some of the support from major-party candidates. In Johnson's case, he could potentially siphon support from the eventual Republican nominee.

"The tired old two-party system has failed America," he said. " I believe the American people will see that a credible Libertarian candidate for president is the real path to liberty, economic growth, opportunity, and a government that is put into its proper and limited role."

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