Gary Johnson appears at National Press Club: “We went to the moon, we can balance the budget”

By Rob Nikolewski on August 19, 2011
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Gary Johnson at National Press Club, 8/19/11

Longshot Republican presidential candidate received some national attention Friday (Aug. 19) but appearing for nearly an hour at the in Washington, DC.

His speech was televised by and can be seen by .

The former New Mexico governor reiterated his libertarian stances on such matters as cutting the federal budget (Johnson wants to see a 43 percent reduction in spending), legalizing marijuana, slashing military spending (“what are we doing with 100,000 troops in Europe,” he asked), scrapping the current tax system in favor of a and urging GOP candidates to avoid socially conservative messages Johnson thinks alienate independent voters (“concentrate on pocketbook issues,” Johnson told press club members).

Johnson’s campaign is struggling to gain some traction but Johnson emphasized that “I’m not frustrated and I’m not angry” and said he’s concentrating his efforts on New Hampshire

But the overarching message Johnson hammered home was his belief that the country is “on the verge of a monetary collapse.”

“That’s the unsexy message,” Johnson said. “We’re going to find ourselves with nothing at the end of the day … we can do it. We went to the moon; we can balance the budget.”

Johnson acquitted himself very well Friday, clearly spelling out his stance on a number of issues in an unscripted speech and answering a number of questions in a relaxed manner.

We’ll see if the appearance generates any buzz in the national media and — most important for the Johnson campaign — if it translates into any bump in the polls.

The Washington correspondent Michael Coleman attended the Press Club luncheon and posted this photograph of the dessert, which provided a nice tribute to New Mexico (chile) and Johnson (a cyclist, a nod to Johnson’s devotion to fitness):

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