Gary Johnson fails to name a single foreign leader he respects

Source: AP
Source: AP

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party's 2016 nominee for the presidency, attended a town hall forum in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday where MSNBC's Chris Matthews asked the candidate a real softball of a question: Who was his favorite foreign leader.

Johnson whiffed.

As he attempted to restate the question, Matthews cut him off, saying "Any one of the continents, any country. Name one foreign leader that you respect and look up to, anybody."

His V.P. nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, interjected, naming recently deceased Israeli leader Shimon Peres.

"I'm talking about living," Matthews shot back, turning again to Johnson. "You gotta do this. Anywhere, any continent. Canada, Mexico, Europe, over there, Asia, South America, Africa. Name a foreign leader that you respect."

"I guess I'm having an Aleppo moment," Johnson admitted in a reference to an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Sept. 8 in which he did not recognize the name of Syria's largest city. Finally, he settled on "the former president of Mexico."

Johnson was unable to specify which former president of Mexico he was referring to, until Weld again saved him, naming Vicente Fox.

The reaction on Twitter was fairly brutal, with one particularly scathing review proclaiming the nominee still the "smartest libertarian in the world".

Others compared Johnson's performance to a bad game show appearance, made reference to the candidate's well-known marijuana use, or simply mocked his preparedness for the interview.

As of Sept. 4, the New York Times reported, Johnson was polling nationally at up to 10%, putting him on track to do better than any third-party candidate in over two decades. His polling has since declined to 7.3% in an average of polls kept by Real Clear Politics.

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Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

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