Gary Johnson, who is running for president as a Libertarian candidate and is the former governor of New Mexico, has been hurting his campaign one gaffe at a time. Last night during a town hall interview at the University of New Hampshire, MSNBC's Chris Matthews asked Johnson who his favorite foreign leader is, and Johnson was unable to answer.
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 28, 2016
Matthews pressed Johnson, "Just name anyone . . . any one of the continents, any country, name one foreign leader that you respect and look up to, anybody." The Libertarian candidate blew air as he struggled to answer, finally saying, "I guess I'm having an Aleppo moment in the former president of Mexico." Matthews followed up, asking, "Which one?"
"I'm having a brain freeze," Johnson said. His running mate, former Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld, interjected and provided Johnson with some options: "Fox? Zedillo? Calderón?"
"Fox, thank you, thank you. He was terrific," Johnson said.
Matthews then turned to Weld and said, "Who's your favorite foreign leader? Get him off the hook." Weld answered that the leader he respects most is Angela Merkel, the German chancellor.
It's bad enough that a presidential nominee is incapable of naming a single world leader when put on the spot, but it's not the first time Johnson has struggled with a question about foreign nations. In fact, Johnson even referred to the moment during the Matthews interview when he said he was having an "Aleppo moment."
Earlier in September, a commenter on MSNBC's Morning Joe asked Johnson what he would do about the ongoing Syrian civil war, saying, "What would you do if you were elected about Aleppo?" Unable to place the capital of Syria, Johnson stumbled and asked, "And what is Aleppo?" Understandably, Johnson was sharply criticized for his lack of foreign policy knowledge, which he demonstrated again during the Matthews interview.
— POLITICO (@politico) September 8, 2016
Johnson has several positive qualities and an impressive track record, to be sure. During his tenure as governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, Johnson nearly eradicated the state's deficit and left it with a $1 billion surplus. According to the Los Alamos Monitor, Johnson was "arguably the most popular governor of the decade." He has been outspoken about decreasing unnecessary government spending throughout his presidential campaign, just as he was in his governorship. Before Johnson was a Libertarian, he was a socially liberal Republican; he has pushed for an end to the War on Drugs and stated that addiction should be treated as a mental health issue, not as a crime.
Johnson and Weld hold a little over seven percent of the projected popular vote, according to a Real Clear Politics average of all the political polls. Their ticket is particularly appealing to millennials who do not trust Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton but who also support Johnson's left-leaning social platforms. Despite his pro-marijuana, pro-choice, small-government approach, Johnson's recent examples of buckling under pressure are of major concern; indeed, they are not presidential qualities.