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November 5, 2012

On the campaign trail, October 2012

On the campaign trail, October 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, October 2012

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Monday, November 5, 2012

The following is the twelfth and final edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: a fan of Wikinews asks a critical question at the Second presidential debate; Gary Johnson discusses Syria and foreign intervention with Wikinews, and three candidates give the their final plea to voters ahead of the November 6 election.


October opened with President Barack Obama comfortably leading Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in most polls. This changed following the first presidential debate, which opinion polls and commentators declared as a Romney victory. Around 67 million Americans watched the Jim Lehrer-moderated debate, which focused on economic matters. CBS News analysis described the debate as possibly the best night of the Romney campaign, finding him in control of the discourse and appearing “reasonable, pragmatic and respectful.” On the other hand, the analysis characterized Obama as cautious, lacking energy, and exercising poor body language, particularly in his propensity to look down at his podium while Romney spoke. One memorable exchange occurred when Romney argued that he would cut federal funding to Lehrer’s network PBS, prefacing that he actually liked Lehrer, the network, and its Sesame Street character Big Bird, but argued that he would not continue “to borrow money from China to pay for it.” Afterwards, Romney experienced a bounce in the national polls, surpassing Obama for the lead in several. Shortly after the debate, September’s economic report was released, revealing a fall in unemployment to 7.8 percent, the lowest rate since the beginning of the Obama presidency. However, the Obama campaign hit a potential stumbling block as State Department officials reported details on the September 11 embassy attack in Benghazi, Libya that led to the deaths of four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. The administration had earlier claimed the attacks resulted from Innocence of Muslims protests, but it emerged the attacks were planned. The report raised questions of what the administration knew and why better protection was not provided to the consulate. The story broke just shy of the one and only Vice Presidential Debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan, held in Danville, Kentucky. Though analysts drew contrasting conclusions on who won the debate with many believing Biden had won it on substance, much post-debate discussion focused on Biden’s aggression, use of the word “malarkey”, incessant smiling and laughing, and interruptions of both Ryan and the moderator Martha Raddatz of ABC News.

Third party candidates Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson, Virgil Goode, and Gary Johnson participate in the 2012 Free and Equal presidential debate.
Image: Connie Ma.

Shortly thereafter, the second presidential debate commenced in Hempstead, New York, moderated by CNN‘s Candy Crowley. The debate’s town hall format allowed the candidates to walk around the stage as they answered pre-selected questions from audience members. In contrast to the first debate, Obama appeared energetic and aggressive, as did Romney. CBS News described the debate as “contentious” with Obama and Romney attacking each other often and appearing to almost “come to blows” on one exchange. One such exchange occurred when Romney and Obama went back-and-forth about oil leases on federal lands. Obama claimed oil production increased during his administration; Romney agreed but countered that the increase was due only to private production, and that oil leases and production on federal lands actually decreased. The Benghazi attack presented another contentious topic at the debate with Obama claiming that he labeled the incident as a terrorist attack on the day after it happened, which Crowley confirmed, though she also noted the administration later claimed the incident was a reaction to the Innocence of Muslims. Before the next debate, the candidates appeared jointly at a less serious event, each taking part in the traditional Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner hosted by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, where they joked about the election, their opponent, and themselves. The final debate held at Florida’s Lynn University and hosted by CBS News’ Bob Schieffer focused on foreign affairs, which the candidates often appeared to agree on. Notably, Romney avoided criticism of the president for his handling of the September 11 Benghazi attack. One disagreement between the candidates concerned the issue of military strength. Romney accused Obama of proposing budget cuts for the military and criticized him for maintaining a Navy with the fewest battleships since 1917. Obama countered that “we also have fewer horses and bayonets. Because the nature of the military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”

The next day, four third party candidates excluded from the national debates for not meeting the Commission on Presidential Debates‘ polling threshold, but who satisfied the commission’s ballot access requirements, took part in a debate of their own sponsored by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation and broadcast on C-SPAN with Larry King as the moderator. Those taking part in the debate included former New Mexico governor and Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson, former congressman and Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode, former Salt Lake City Mayor and Justice Party nominee Rocky Anderson, and physician Jill Stein, presidential nominee of the Green Party. The two candidates that received the highest number of votes following the event, Johnson and Stein, were then invited to a one-on-one-debate scheduled for the next week. The event was postponed due to the Superstorm Hurricane Sandy. Sandy hit the northeast coast on the final week of campaigning, causing damages largely in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The destruction and lack of electricity in certain areas raised questions of how the election could take place on November 6 amid such chaos. Furthermore, analysts questioned whether Obama’s response to the crisis would help him win the race. As Election Day neared, Obama secured critical endorsements from former Secretary of State Colin Powell and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Nevertheless, in the RealClearPolitics average for October 31, Romney and Obama remained in a statistical tie. Polling also indicated that the most critical swing states were Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, New Hampshire, Florida, Virginia, Michigan, Nevada, and North Carolina.

Wikinews fan sparks controversy at second presidential debate

Kerry Ladka, a senior sales associate at Global Telecom Supply and self-professed fan of Wikinews, was one of the individuals picked to address President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at the October 16 presidential debate in Hempstead, New York. His question, which involved the September 11 attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, sparked one of the debate’s most contentious and controversial moments.

According to Ladka, the Gallup organization randomly selected him to ask a question, which he devised without their assistance. In fact, prior to asking, Ladka explained to viewers that his question arose during a discussion with his friends at work.

Kerry Ladka asks President Obama a question during the second presidential debate.
Image: The New York Times.

Speaking directly to President Obama, Ladka mentioned the reports that the U.S. State Department denied additional security forces to the Libyan embassy before it was breached. He then asked, “Who was it that denied enhanced security and why?”

Obama responded that upon hearing of the breach, he gave three instructions to his national security advisers: (1) increase security at the Libyan embassy and other U.S. embassies throughout the region; (2) investigate the matter; and (3) find and prosecute the culprits of the attack. He then criticized Romney’s reaction to the event as “trying to make political points.” Romney responded that it took the administration too long to label the break-in as a terrorist act while casting blame on a YouTube trailer. Obama countered that he actually did refer to the attack as a terrorist act at the Rose Garden on the subsequent day and expressed outrage that Romney would suggest “anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we’ve lost four of our own”. This remark led to a war of words between Romney, Obama, and moderator Candy Crowley.

Romney repeatedly asked Obama whether he actually said the attack was a terrorist act and not a “spontaneous demonstration.” Obama twice responded, “please proceed” before citing the transcript of his remarks from the Rose Garden. After the moderator confirmed the president’s statement, Obama asked her to do so “a little louder”. With Crowley doing so, Romney then argued that the administration instead had maintained the act was a reaction against a video, which Crowley also confirmed. Romney next attempted to question why the Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice “went on the Sunday television shows and spoke about how this was a spontaneous reaction”, but Crowley decided to move on to other questions.

Ladka told The Washington Post he did not believe Obama adequately answered the question during the debate, but noted that afterwards, Obama approached him and explained that he had wanted, in the days following the attack, to ensure the intelligence he received on the matter was correct, and that to avoid endangerment he did not want to explicitly name any individual in the State Department responsible for denying security.

To the Post, Ladka remained undecided on whom he would give his vote. But now after time for further deliberation, he tells Wikinews he has come to a decision. Though he felt Romney was “very impressive” at the debate, he believes President Obama was the winner and has decided to cast his ballot for the President on Election Day.

Gary Johnson speaks to Wikinews on Syria and foreign intervention

Though the fallout from the break-in at Benghazi was the main foreign policy focus in October, there was also some discussion, especially during the final two-party debate, about the unrest in Syria and actions of the Bashar al-Assad government, which led to the killings of roughly 30,000 people and displacement of 300,000.

Gary Johnson.
Image: Gary Johnson.

During the third and final debate between Obama and Romney, both seemed to agree that the United States should help the anti-government forces in Syria. Gary Johnson, in contrast, has a completely different viewpoint on both Syria and the question of foreign intervention.

In an exclusive interview with Wikinews, Johnson asserts that assistance for the Syrian rebels for humanitarian purposes may simply lead to the rise of a faction worse than the regime in power. Broadly speaking, he finds that “we intervene in the name of humanity, and the result is…more times than not, a situation that is worse, not better.”

Nevertheless, Johnson does not hold an absolutist view against foreign intervention. When questioned about the need to intervene in the case of a genocide, he responded “I don’t think any of us want to stand by and watch that happen.” However, for any kind of military intervention, Johnson favors congressional approval.

But for what actually constitutes a genocide requiring intervention, Johnson holds, “let me borrow from a Supreme Court justice that was asked his definition of pornography. [He said] You know, I can’t give you a definition of pornography but I’d like to think that when I see it I recognize it.”

The complete interview with Governor Johnson on these and other issues can be read here.

The final pleas…

With Gary Johnson and Jill Stein making their case to voters at the final Free and Equal debate, Wikinews provided the opportunity to the three other third party presidential candidates with enough ballot access and write-in certification to theoretically win the election.

Those making their final pleas include: former congressman Virgil Goode, nominee of the Constitution Party; America’s Party nominee Tom Hoefling; and former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, nominee of the Justice Party.

Ballot access maps for each of the three candidates appear below their respective statements.

Virgil Goode: Virgil Goode is the only candidate who will stop illegal immigration and block automatic citizenship for children born in the US of illegal aliens. He is also the only candidate who will protect jobs for US citizens by stopping so many green card holders from entering the United States. Lastly, he will work to stop the domination by Big Money PACs of federal elections. Save America and Vote for Virgil Goode.

Goode answers questions after the first Free and Equal debate.
Image: Connie Ma.
Ballot access (violet), write-in certification (light violet), no access (gray)
Image: Ariostos.

Tom Hoefling: Without faith there can be no justice. The two things are inextricably linked.

What is justice? To put it most simply, it is right-doing. In terms of the law and self-government, it is doing right to all persons equally and equitably.

But how can we possibly perfect justice in this country, as the framers of our Constitution purposed to do, if we pay no mind to the laws of nature and of nature’s God? It is not possible.

Is there a desire in your heart to help save this country and restore America’s greatness? Then trust God, seek His will, and do right. Join together with your fellow citizens who are of the same mind and heart, and retake the reins of your own self-government. If enough Americans will do this, without compromise, and do it in time, there is hope for this country and for our posterity. We can, if we choose to follow God and do right, once again be a shining city on a hill.

But if we refuse, and choose instead to be faithless and unjust by continuing to kill the babies and destroy God’s institution of marriage and the natural family, our children and grandchildren, those who survive our brutal savagery, will curse us. They will rightfully convict us of squandering their precious heritage, one that was dearly bought with blood, sweat, and tears by our just and faithful forebears.

Our generation is a link in the chain between the past and the future. Please, my fellow Americans, I beg you, don’t let it be broken. Strengthen the things that remain, before it is too late.

Tom Hoefling.
Image: Tom Hoefling.
Ballot access (cyan), write-in certification (light cyan), no access (gray)
Image: Ariostos.

Rocky Anderson: I propose an alternative to the corrupt two-party system that has created a militarist and corporatist government for sale to the highest bidders. My Justice Party campaign calls for people to demand a government that is genuinely of, by, and for the people.

Peace and prosperity require: (1) aggressive action on climate change; (2) creating a vibrant economy with living wage jobs through a WPA-like initiative, and returning outsourced jobs to the U.S.; (3) a significant reduction in military spending; (4) equal rights, regardless of race, religion, and sexual orientation; (5) a Medicare-for-all system providing better outcomes with lower costs; (6) prosecution of financial crimes, enforcement of financial regulations, including reinstatement of Glass-Steagall; (7) a restorative criminal justice system and an end to the disastrous “war on drugs”; (8) tax fairness; (9) Social Security and Medicare not be plundered; and (10) dismantlement of the imperial presidency and restoration of the U.S. Constitution.

My foreign policy will promote peace and respect for human rights, not the empire-building wars of aggression supported by both major parties. I will promote long-term U.S. security and build better relationships with other nations by ending the immoral drone killings that have already killed hundreds of innocent civilians and created more hatred and hostility toward the U.S.

Anderson poses with a supporter after the first Free and Equal debate.
Image: Connie Ma.
Ballot access (blue), write-in certification (light blue), no access (gray)
Image: Ariostos.

Related news


This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

August 5, 2012

On the campaign trail, July 2012

On the campaign trail, July 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, July 2012

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The following is the ninth in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: the rules of third party candidate polling are examined, a third party activist causes four other parties to lose their place on the Illinois presidential ballot, and the new vice presidential nominee of the Justice Party speaks with Wikinews.


Like June, July began with poor economic news as the monthly Jobs Report showed slow economic growth with unemployment remaining above eight percent, precipitating a fall in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and President Barack Obama’s re-election chances on Intrade. In response to the report, Obama proclaimed “It’s still tough out there”. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney responded that Obama’s “policies have not worked” and said it’s “time for Americans to choose whether they want more of the same.” Romney also reacted to June’s National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius Supreme Court ruling that upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He explicitly referred to the individual mandate as a tax, mirroring the decision, despite comments from campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, who deemed the individual mandate as a penalty, sharing the view of the Obama administration. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch criticized the Romney campaign, tweeting that it needed to hire political professionals and said it was doubtful Romney could win the election. After meeting with Romney early in July, Murdoch expressed dissatisfaction with the campaign’s message and its lack of attacks on the “incompetent” Obama administration.

Romney speaks at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City for which he served as Organizing Committee CEO.
Image: Uncleweed.

Additionally, speculation about Romney’s vice presidential selection intensified earlier in July as Romney’s wife Ann revealed that her husband was considering choosing a woman for the ticket. This came out before Romney appeared at a Fourth of July parade with Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who had been mentioned as a potential pick. Other women discussed as possibilities included South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, New Mexico governor Susanna Martinez, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who took herself out of contention last month. Others receiving speculation in July included Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal. Also in early July, Romney spoke at an NAACP convention. Despite the fact that most African Americans supported Obama in 2008, Romney said, as president he “hope[s] to represent all Americans, of every race, creed or sexual orientation, from the poorest to the richest and everyone in between.” During the address, after he mentioned his plan to repeal Obamacare, Romney was met with a chorus of boos. Nevertheless, he continued the speech and proclaimed that if elected, conditions would improve for African Americans. He received applause after arguing in favor of traditional marriage. The next day, vice president Joe Biden addressed the convention, and alluded to voter ID laws, asking the audience, “Did you think we’d be fighting these battles again?” President Obama was unable to attend the convention, but sent a taped message instead. Also, in mid-July, physician Jill Stein, who previously challenged Romney for governor of Massachusetts, won the presidential nomination of the left-wing Green Party. She selected homelessness activist Cheri Honkala as her running mate.

Obama meets with a victim of the 2012 Aurora shooting
Image: Pete Souza.

Throughout the month, Obama continued his attacks on Romney for allegedly outsourcing jobs while at Bain Capital, releasing a new advertisement referring to Romney as an ‘outsourcing pioneer.’ However, the Romney campaign disputed the attacks as misleading. and Romney himself said that the alleged outsourcing took place during an absence from the company while focusing on the operation of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Obama heightened attacks on Romney’s refusal to release all of his tax records, with one surrogate calling Romney’s actions possibly “felonious.” Romney described the comment as “beneath the dignity of the president” and asked Obama for an apology. Obama refused, suggesting, “Mr. Romney claims he’s Mr. Fix-It for the economy because of his business experience, so I think voters entirely, legitimately want to know what is exactly his business experience.” Furthermore, Obama argued that entrepreneurs like Romney should not take all the credit for their successes since others chipped in: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the internet so then all the companies could make money off the internet.” Romney highlighted the comments to go on the offensive against Obama; he referred to them as “insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America”. Later, citing 100 Obama fundraisers versus zero meetings with his jobs council in the last six months, Romney delivered a fiery speech in the swing state of Ohio in which he suggested that Obama’s “priority is not creating jobs for you [but]…trying to keep his own job. And that’s why he’s going to lose it.”

Following the July 20 Aurora shooting, both Obama and Romney suspended campaign rhetoric out of respect to the victims. The next week, foreign policy came to the forefront as Romney embarked on an international tour to meet with foreign leaders. While in London, ahead of the 2012 Summer Olympics, Romney suggested the city was not ready for the event, which prompted British Prime Minister David Cameron to argue that London is “one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world” and that, as with Romney’s 2002 Salt Lake City games, “it is easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.” After this, Romney visited Israel, where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and voiced his support for Israeli actions against Iran to prevent nuclear proliferation in that nation. Romney received some criticism after a meeting in Israel in which he argued that cultural differences impacted the economic disparity between Israel and its neighbors. He completed his trip in Poland, where he received a warm reception, and endorsed a missile defense system in the nation that President Obama scrapped in 2009. In response to the trip, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs argued that Romney “both offended our closest ally and triggered a troubling reaction in the most sensitive region of the world…He certainly didn’t prove to anyone that he passed the commander-in-chief test.” The Obama campaign announced at the end of the month that former President Bill Clinton would be given a prime-time slot at September’s Democratic National Convention, while San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro was slated to deliver the keynote address. On July 31, Obama led Romney in the national RealClearPolitics average, 47.0 percent to 45.0 percent.

Polling rules restrict and fuel third party campaigns

Third party presidential candidates are often excluded from most presidential preference polls. However, because of the criteria of the Commission on Presidential Debates, strong showings in polls are critical for third party candidates to effectively communicate their message to voters. In addition to the constitutional requirements to be president and the attainment of enough ballot access to potentially win the election, the Commission requires a 15 percent average in five nationwide polls to participate in October’s three presidential debates. Since these rules were adopted in 2000, no third party candidate has been invited to the debates due to the inability to meet the polling standard.

Gary Johnson speaks at the “Conservatives Against Unconstitutional Wars” rally in July.
Image: Gary Johnson campaign.

In early July, for the first time in this election cycle, Gallup released a national poll that included the three third party presidential nominees with the most ballot access. In addition to Romney and Obama, who registered 40 and 47 percent, respectively, the poll gauged three percent support for the Libertarian Party presidential nominee, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson; one percent for Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein; and less than half a percentage point for the Constitution Party presidential nominee, former Congressman Virgil Goode. According to Communication Specialist Alyssa Brown, the Gallup organization uses “editorial judgment…including assessments of news coverage of third party and independent candidates” to determine whether or not to include certain candidates. Brown says her firm also measures inclusion through the interpretation of “responses to open-ended vote preference questions…[and] name identification of third party candidates.”

Two other polling firms have included just Johnson in their nationwide polls for a three-way race: an April Public Policy Polling survey showed him with six percent support, and a July JZ Analytics poll found a five percent backing. JZ Analytics Senior Analyst John Zogby says that third party candidates are included in polls usually to see how they affect the race between the two main candidates. His firm added Johnson because “libertarianism appears to be growing in support among young people…[and] we wonder if he can be a factor.” Zogby says that additional candidates will likely be included as the election draws nearer. When asked why JZ Analytics does not simply include all ballot-qualified candidates on a state-by-state basis, he gave three reasons: expense from the time taken to read all the names; questions on how to deal with candidates that appear multiple times on the ballot; and the lack of any significant support for certain candidates, which provide no useful data when applying the view that “the value of a poll is not to predict but to create accurate results that can be interpreted.” Wikinews attempted unsuccessfully to contact other firms about their inclusion criteria for third party candidates.

Gary Johnson supporters picket outside CNN headquarters in July to protest the lack of campaign coverage.
Image: Gary Johnson campaign.

Despite his inclusion in some polls, Johnson does not believe it is enough. He feels that because “only three polling organizations out of 18 are including my name,” debate participation looks to be a nearly insurmountable task. However, he clings to the hope that if he can qualify for the debates, he can possibly win the election. Another kind of poll may assist that goal.

Statewide polls, which measure voter support in individual states, do not count toward the average for the presidential debate qualification; but polling high enough in them could significantly improve a third party candidate’s chances. Russ Verney, who worked on the 1992 presidential campaign of the last third party candidate to appear at the presidential debates, industrialist Ross Perot, and who later served as the campaign manager for 2008 Libertarian Party presidential nominee Bob Barr, says the Barr campaign’s ideal strategy was to utilize local media in western states that were already “predisposed to Libertarian viewpoints” to work to improve statewide polling above 20 percent. Though this was never implemented due to low campaign funds, Verney believes it could have created a national news story that would have boosted the campaign’s national profile and exposure, perhaps improving the showings in national polls, and like Perot, leading to debate inclusion.

Though third party inclusion in statewide polls remains infrequent, such polls often reflect broader support. For example, in his homestate of Virginia, Virgil Goode has nine percent support in a July Public Policy Polling survey, substantially more than his national average. Jill Stein tripled her national standing with three percent in her homestate of Massachusetts in a late June Public Policy Polling poll. Nevertheless, no other third party candidate is faring as well as Johnson in multiple states: a July poll from Public Policy Polling showed him with 13 percent in his homestate of New Mexico (down from 23 percent in December); he stood at nine percent in Arizona in May; and had an eight percent backing in Montana during the same month. These showings in western states are significantly better than Johnson’s national showings. Since his campaign, unlike the 2008 Barr campaign, has access to federal funding, Johnson could possibly employ the Verney strategy, and improve his chances.

Ballot access denied in Illinois

The state of Illinois, which accounts for 20 Electoral College votes, automatically grants ballot access to any presidential candidate that files a petition on time. However, if a petition is challenged and does not list 25,000 valid signatures, ballot access is denied. In 2008, an individual named John Joseph Polachek took advantage of this law and submitted a petition with no signatures. No one challenged this and so Polachek appeared on the ballot.

In this election cycle, Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode; Justice Party nominee, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson; Socialist Party USA nominee Stewart Alexander; and candidate Michael W. Hawkins all submitted petitions with less than 25,000 signatures in hopes that they would not be contested. However, on July 2, Cook County Green Party chairman Rob Sherman filed a challenge to the four petitions, arguing the candidates did not put in the same amount of effort as the Green Party petitioners, who, along with the Libertarian Party, collected more than 25,000 signatures. He also reasoned that additional candidates would divert potential votes from the Green Party.

Virgil Goode collects signatures for his petition to appear on the Virginia ballot.
Image: Brian D. Hill.

Several third party activists and even some members of the Green Party condemned the actions, and asked that Sherman withdraw his challenges. He initially remained unwavering, but attempted to withdraw the challenges just ahead of the final court decision. The court would not allow Sherman to voice his change of heart, and proceeded to remove the four candidates from the ballot.

According to Sherman, Illinois Green Party counsel Andy Finko requested that he be the main objector. He further claims that before this, Finko contacted then-presumptive presidential nominee Jill Stein’s campaign chairman Ben Manski, who purportedly labeled the challenge as a “decision for the Illinois Green Party and not one for the Stein campaign.” However, Sherman says that both Manski and Stein personally contacted him a few days later, and asked that he withdraw the challenges. Sherman argued to them that he “had staked [his] national reputation on it” and that a withdrawal would hurt the Green Party ticket. He did not decide to withdraw the challenges until he felt the Stein campaign had completely deliberated over his arguments, which eventually came a couple of weeks later. Wikinews was unable to contact Manski or Stein to confirm that these conversations actually took place.

Virgil Goode offers a different perspective on the challenges. He says that Sherman, a self-identified atheist, offered to drop the Constitution Party petition challenge if Goode gave his support for the removal of “In God We Trust” from U.S. currency and “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. To this, Goode replied “no deal”, explaining that he co-sponsored “legislation in the House to put ‘In God We Trust’ back on the face of the Presidential dollars so that it could be readily seen by the public.” It is not known if the other candidates were given this same opportunity, but Rocky Anderson says that he personally was not. Sherman did not respond to inquiries concerning such a deal.

For Goode, the decision may have affected his ability to participate in the presidential debates. Without Illinois’ 20 electoral votes, he may fall short of the Commission on Presidential Debates ballot access requirements. Goode currently has access in 18 states for a total of 169 electoral votes, over 100 less than the required 270. Nevertheless, the campaign is still working to get on the ballot in additional states. Furthermore, the removal may affect Green Party ballot access elsewhere. According to ballot access expert Richard Winger, the party is currently a co-plaintiff with the Constitution Party in five states in cases where ballot access laws are being challenged. He says that “state attorneys…attack the plaintiff parties …[using] the number of states in which each of the parties is on the ballot nationwide” as evidence of strength or lack thereof.

“It’s tough enough to get on state ballots without other third parties undermining the efforts” says Anderson, whose Justice Party has thus far attained ballot access in Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Mississippi, New Mexico, and New Jersey, Anderson does not fault the entire Green Party for Sherman’s “unfortunate behavior”, but the events do affirm one thing for him: “In my view, third parties should all hang together in promoting ballot access.”

August 1, 2012 LP, GP, CP Ballot access.png

Wikinews interviews newly-selected Justice Party VP nominee

Justice Party Vice presidential nominee Luis Rodriguez.
Image: Rocky Anderson campaign.

On July 17, Rocky Anderson announced his selection of Chicano writer and community activist Luis J. Rodriguez of California as his running mate on the Justice Party presidential ticket. Rodriguez is a published poet, columnist, and author of such books as the 1993 bestseller Always Running, which documents his youth and involvement in the street gangs of East Los Angeles.

As an advocate for urban social change, Rodriguez hosts readings and workshops, and frequently speaks at schools, prisons, churches, homeless shelters, and migrant camps. For his activism, he has received numerous awards including KCET-TV‘s “Local Hero of Community”, and the “Unsung Heroes of Compassion” from the Dalai Lama.

Anderson described the vice presidential selection process as “arduous”, but held that Rodriguez exceeded his personal expectations. He proclaimed that his running mate “brings with him a wealth of knowledge and real-life experience, inspirational personal growth, and proven commitment to social, economic, and environmental justice.”

With Wikinews, Rodriguez discusses his initial reaction and reason for accepting the nomination, his responsibilities as the vice presidential nominee, and how he hopes to complement Anderson on the Justice Party ticket.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhy did you accept the Justice Party’s vice presidential nomination, and how exactly did that nomination come about?

Luis Rodriguez: I was quite surprised by the invitation to be Rocky Anderson’s running mate, and honored. I’m convinced that we need to have a strong voice in the political arena for justice in all its forms–in our social and civil relationships, in the environment, and in the economy. I see this ticket as an opportunity to express new ideas and new ways of organizing for concerns of mine such as urban peace, the arts, labor rights, and immigrant rights as well as those espoused by the Justice Party, which I agree with. As far as how my name came up, I’m sure it was from within Rocky’s team, somebody who knew my work around the country and the many talks I do to open up a new vision for America. I’m convinced the two-party system we have today has pushed out too many voices and concerns of vital importance from the conversation and from actual policies.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat are your responsibilities as the Justice Party vice presidential nominee?

Luis Rodriguez: Being that the election is only a few months away, I see my main role as speaking out as articulately and rationally as I can on these very issues… in the mass media, the Internet, social media, and blogs. I’m also a published writer/essayist and speaker and will try to get our views as a ticket out in as many forms as possible.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow will you complement Rocky Anderson on the ticket?

Luis Rodriguez: America is a very diverse and vibrant country. This ticket is in the direction of encompassing how this country is actually made up while finding the unity-in-diversity necessary to move everyone forward toward true justice in all areas of our civic and political life. I think Rocky Anderson is brave and insightful to select someone like myself, not for celebrity or to cater to any “winnable” ticket, but one that is real, addresses what really matters, and actively works to bring in those constituencies often forgotten. Rocky as a former mayor of Salt Lake City will be complemented by someone who has never held political office yet has spent more than forty years in grassroots organizing and community building.

Related news


This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

May 5, 2012

On the campaign trail, April 2012

On the campaign trail, April 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, April 2012

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The following is the sixth in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail, a candidate that ended his presidential campaign speaks to Wikinews about what he learned from the experience and his new plan to run for U.S. Congress, Wikinews gets the reaction of the new presidential and vice presidential nominees of the Constitution Party, and the campaign manager for the top Americans Elect presidential candidate provides insight on the campaign’s list of potential running mates.


At the beginning of April, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won primaries in Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., and Maryland, pushing him further ahead of his rivals. A week later, former Senator Rick Santorum, the candidate with the second highest number of delegates, ended his campaign, avoiding a loss to Romney in his home state of Pennsylvania. With the withdrawal, the press began to identify Romney as the presumptive Republican Party nominee, though he had yet to secure enough delegates to clinch the nomination. Thereafter, Romney appointed adviser Beth Meyers to begin the search for a running mate.

These developments set the stage for an election contest between Romney and President Barack Obama, who had secured the nomination of the Democratic Party with victories in Maryland and Washington, D.C. The Washington Post proclaimed the “Buffett Rule” as the “opening act in Obama-Romney election battle” as Obama pushed for the Senate to pass a tax increase on wealthy Americans, named for billionaire Warren Buffett, who argued it was unfair that because of loopholes, his secretary had to pay a higher effective tax rate than him. The Romney campaign attacked the proposed tax increase as a “politically motivated” and “gussied-up” increase on capital gains taxes.

President Obama’s dog, Bo walks on the White House lawn in April 2012.
Image: Glyn Lowe.

Other stories in April distracted from the discussion of political issues. First, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen described Romney’s wife, Ann Romney, as having “never worked a day in her life.” Ann Romney responded that “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.” Next, The Obama campaign renewed the story that Romney transported his dog Seamus in a kennel on top of his vehicle in 1983, with campaign strategist David Axelrod posting a Twitter photo of Obama in a vehicle with his dog Bo, with the caption, “How loving owners transport their dogs.” The Romney campaign countered that Obama had eaten dog meat while living in Indonesia as discussed in his autobiography Dreams from My Father. Romney strategist Eric Fehrstrom retweeted Axelrod’s original photo with the caption, “In hindsight, a chilling photo.” Then, Rock musician and Romney supporter Ted Nugent said at a National Rifle Association event that he would be “dead or in jail” if Obama won re-election, earning him a visit from the Secret Service. The Secret Service itself was embroiled in controversy in April after it was revealed that agents had retained the services of prostitutes while protecting the President during his trip to Colombia.

Despite the portrayal of Romney as the presumptive nominee, delegate contests continued. Romney won additional races in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York, after which former House Speaker Newt Gingrich announced he planned to end his campaign. Texas governor Rick Perry, who supported Gingrich, formally endorsed Romney. However, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas continued his campaign. He won the majority of the Minnesota delegates up for grabs at conventions across the state and did the same in Louisiana, pushing his delegate count to 80. Romney has secured 847, which is just short of the required 1,144. 962 delegates remain available.

Presidential candidate drops bid; announces congressional run

In April, former air traffic controller RJ Harris ended his campaign for the 2012 presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party (LP), citing fundraising difficulties. He announced that instead, he would run an independent campaign to represent Oklahoma’s 4th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives against incumbent Congressman Tom Cole. Harris previously challenged Cole for the seat in 2010, but lost in the Republican Party primary.

Congressional candidate RJ Harris.
Image: RJ Harris.

Harris opened his presidential candidacy last year, and was the first LP candidate to speak with Wikinews. His exit leaves activist R. Lee Wrights and former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson as the two main contenders for the LP nomination at the party’s May 5 National Convention.

Since exiting, Harris spoke to Wikinews once again, discussing what he learned from his presidential campaign, what he wishes to happen at the LP National Convention, and how his new congressional campaign will differ from his 2010 run.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat did you learn from the experience of running for president?

Harris: I learned that I am Libertarian to the core by having to research each and every position on the issues and realizing that I almost never saw the answers in any other light than that cast by the Philosophy of Liberty or the Constitution of the United States. Certainly I will run again when I have built a bigger base and I look forwards to once again being able to fight for Liberty with the courage of informed conviction. I also learned that no party, even the smaller ones, are immune from party politics and I will spend the rest of my political life attempting to live the admonition of Washington and Jefferson against them and the evils they create.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWho would you now like to see win the Libertarian Party presidential nomination?

Harris: I have already stated publicly that I think both Lee Wrights and Gov. Gary Johnson are great men who would serve the Libertarian Party very well. I would like to see a ticket with them both included on it. I refrain from making a direct endorsement of either as that smacks of the very party politics I have come to loathe. Let them articulate their messages to the delegates and the delegates decide without the interference of one of the failed candidates, or the party machine, who should be their standard bearer.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow will your 2012 congressional campaign differ from your 2010 run?

Harris: My 2012 Congressional Campaign will not end until November this time rather than in July. This should give us the time we need to attract wider support from the Liberty movement than we had last time since it is very difficult to get folks fired up so far in advance of the actual election. I will also be spending much more effort in district with various civic organizations, not political parties, and focusing on the registered voters who vote most often. Certainly I will highlight my opponents atrocious voting record which includes voting for the bailouts, the stimulus, raising the debt ceiling, the president’s budget, the Patriot Act and the NDAA. Aside from that though what is most important is that we get the message of Liberty out to the constituents of Oklahoma’s 4th District so that they have something positive to consider up against the incumbent.

Constitution Party presidential and vice presidential picks react to nomination

Virgil Goode of Virginia and Jim Clymer of Pennsylvania, the new presidential and vice presidential nominees of the Constitution Party (CP), each responded to Wikinews inquiries requesting their thoughts on their respective nominations.

Official photo of Goode during the 109th United States Congress.
Image: United States Congress.

Goode, who served in Congress for over a decade before joining the CP in 2010, announced his presidential candidacy this past February. At the 2012 National Convention in April, he won the party’s presidential nomination on the first ballot over former Savannah State football coach Robby Wells and 2008 vice presidential nominee Darrell Castle.

Afterwards, Goode echoed his reaction to Wikinews: “I am honored to be the nominee of the Constitution Party for the 2012 election. I offer a real difference from Romney and Obama.” He differentiated himself from Romney and Obama, calling for a balanced federal budget, border security, the elimination of illegal immigration, the decrease of legal immigration, support for the Alabama and Arizona immigration laws, and the reduction of money in politics. He proclaimed, “I am not taking any PAC donations, and am also limiting individual donations to $200 per person…I favor the many over the special few.”

At the convention, Goode selected outgoing CP chairman Jim Clymer as his running mate. Clymer, an attorney from Lancaster, announced earlier this year that he would step down as chairman of the CP. During his chairmanship, Clymer welcomed Goode into the CP in 2010, and encouraged him to run for president. This is not Clymer’s first campaign for public office, having run for Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania in both 1994 and 1998.

Concerning the CP vice presidential nomination, Clymer told Wikinews, “I wasn’t seeking it, but how can one say no to a request like that, especially after I had been urging him [Goode] to step forward to make the sacrifice of being our presidential candidate. It’s a case of duty calling and I intend to do all I can to answer that call!”

A Public Policy Polling survey conducted at the end of April shows the CP ticket with 5 percent support in Goode’s home state of Virginia, behind Mitt Romney with 38 percent and President Barack Obama with 50 percent. In 2008, the ticket of pastor Chuck Baldwin and Darrell Castle appeared on 37 state ballots, and received 199,314 votes or 0.15 percent of the total popular vote.

Top Americans Elect candidate announces ’23’ potential running mates

Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer, the current leader in supporters for the Americans Elect presidential nomination, announced on MSNBC‘s Morning Joe in April that he has compiled a list of “23” potential running mates for his campaign. He says the list will remain a secret until the conclusion of the first round of voting on the Americans Elect website. The vote was scheduled to happen on May 8, but has been postponed to May 15. According to Americans Elect rules, Roemer must select a running mate that is a political Independent or from the Democratic Party since Roemer has been associated with the Republican Party for most of his career. He recently changed his affiliation to the Reform Party of the United States in order to seek that party’s presidential nomination.

Roemer’s campaign manager Carlos Sierra told Wikinews that he personally knows who makes up the 23 individuals on the list, but would not disclose any names. He added that “some of them [the potential candidates] are aware they are on the list.”

Americans Elect is attempting to appear on the Election Day ballot in all 50 states and has currently secured access in 26. Candidates on the website are rated by the number of supporters. Roemer currently leads with 4,632 followed by former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson with 2,824 supporters, activist Michealene Risley is third with 1,791, and economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff is close behind with 1,726. Ron Paul leads all draft candidates with 8,889, but there is no indication he will seek the nomination.

Related articles

  • “U.S. Constitution Party nominates former Congressman Virgil Goode for president” — Wikinews, April 22, 2012
  • “US Secret Service agents face investigation for Colombian sex scandal” — Wikinews, April 19, 2012
  • “Rick Santorum drops U.S. presidential bid” — Wikinews, April 11, 2012
  • Buddy Roemer ends Republican presidential bid to seek Reform Party nomination” — Wikinews, February 23, 2012
  • “U.S. presidential candidate Gary Johnson leaves GOP to vie for the LP nom” — Wikinews, December 29, 2011
  • “Wikinews interviews U.S. Libertarian Party potential presidential candidate R.J. Harris” — Wikinews, June 17, 2011


This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

April 22, 2012

U.S. Constitution Party nominates former Congressman Virgil Goode for president

U.S. Constitution Party nominates former Congressman Virgil Goode for president

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Official congressional photo of Goode.

Former U.S. Representative Virgil Goode of Virginia received the presidential nomination of the Constitution Party (CP) Saturday at the party’s National Convention in Nashville. He was selected on the first ballot over former Savannah State football coach Robby Wells and the 2008 CP Vice presidential nominee Darrell Castle, who announced his candidacy Friday. Goode picked outgoing CP National Chairman Jim Clymer as his running mate.

Goode served in the Virginia State Senate for twenty-three years before being elected to represent Virginia’s Fifth U.S. congressional district as a Democrat in 1996. He was re-elected two years later, and left the Democratic Party before his second re-election campaign in 2000, when he ran as an Independent. He joined the Republican Party ahead of the 2002 election, and was re-elected three additional times until his defeat in 2008. Since then, Goode has joined the Constitution Party, and has served on its executive committee. In February, he announced his intentions to seek the party’s presidential nomination, and spoke with Wikinews later that month.

At the convention, Goode won a total of 203 out of the 403 votes cast while Castle received 120 and Wells secured 58. Candidates Susan Ducey and Laurie Roth received 15 and 6 votes, respectively. Had Goode received two less votes, the nomination would have gone to a second ballot.

The Constitution Party was founded in 1991 as the U.S. Taxpayers Party, and changed to its current name eight years later. The party advocates states’ rights, gun rights, limited government, protectionism, and non-interventionism. It strongly opposes abortion and illegal immigration. In terms of voter registration, it is the third largest U.S. political party with 367,000 members. Pastor Chuck Baldwin won the party’s 2008 presidential nomination and appeared on 37 state ballots, receiving 199,314 votes or 0.15 percent.

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

March 3, 2012

On the campaign trail, February 2012

On the campaign trail, February 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, February 2012

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
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Saturday, March 3, 2012

The following is the fourth in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail, the Libertarian Party holds a primary in Missouri, Wikinews interviews a lesser-known Republican candidate focused on the nuclear situation in Iran, and a Democratic candidate disputes a “one-dimensional” label.


In February 2012, three well-known figures announced third party runs. Comedienne Roseanne Barr announced she would seek the Green Party‘s presidential nomination. Former Congressman Virgil Goode opened a Constitution Party campaign. And former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer proclaimed he would seek the Reform Party presidential nomination in addition to Americans Elect.

Santorum bows his head to pray during a February fundraiser in Arizona.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Mitt Romney won the endorsement of businessman Donald Trump, and was victorious in the February 4 Nevada caucus. Three days later, Rick Santorum gained momentum with a sweep of three non-binding contests in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri. Though Romney gained a victory in the Maine caucus, Santorum’s momentum pushed him ahead. He led the polls in Romney’s former homestate of Michigan, shot to first place in national opinion polls, and won the endorsement of former Senator and current Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who retracted his support for Romney. Talk increased of someone else entering the GOP race if Romney lost Michigan.

Santorum’s rise and the Obama administration’s new contraceptive mandate brought social issues to the forefront of the GOP race. The role of church and state gained prominence as Santorum remarked that hearing President John F. Kennedy‘s 1960 speech on separation of two, “makes him throw up”. After a poor performance in the month’s final GOP debate, Santorum began to fall in the Michigan polls. However, members of the Democratic Party planned to vote for Santorum in the open primary, and Santorum ran robo-calls to Democrats asking for their support. In the end, Romney won in both Michigan and Arizona.

Newt Gingrich, who largely skipped Michigan and Arizona, focused early on the Super Tuesday states, which hold their primaries in the first week of March. Ron Paul continued his run as well following a close second place finish in Maine. At the end of the month, rumors spread of a Paul-Romney alliance after an analysis of previous debates showed that Paul never attacked Romney directly, and after Paul’s son Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said “it would be an honor to be considered” as Romney’s running mate. A spokesman for Ron Paul’s campaign denied the rumors.

Missouri Libertarian Party primary results

In Missouri, the Libertarian Party held its first primary of the 2012 election cycle. Parliamentary advocate James Ogle, the only candidate listed on the ballot, edged “uncommitted” 52.7 percent to 47.3 percent to win the majority of votes. This was something a Libertarian candidate could not accomplish during the 2008 primary, when “uncommitted” won a plurality.

██ James Ogle

██ Uncommitted

Image: William S. Saturn.

Ogle has operated and promoted a fantasy government project based on the Sainte-Laguë method of voting since 1993. It is known as the USA Parliament. Ogle believes his username for the project — Joogle, a combination of his surname and first and middle initials — served as a basis for the name of the search engine Google; for his campaign, he uses the slogan “Go Ogle”.

To appear on the Missouri ballot, Ogle paid a filing fee of $1000. He was the only Libertarian candidate to do so. Ogle thinks this happened because he is “accessible” in comparison to his opponents, “perhaps the other candidates couldn’t be reached, and since there was about a 48 hour deadline to file the papers, they either didn’t want to spend the $30 on overnight postage, they simply didn’t know or else they didn’t want to file.” Other candidates for the Libertarian Party nomination, who missed the ballot, include former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, former air traffic controller RJ Harris, and activist R. Lee Wrights.

Just before the primary, an article in the Missourian newspaper chronicled Ogle’s campaign. He believes this contributed to his victory. In the story, he “was able to explain about ranked choice voting, the Libertarian’s philosophy of the non initiation of force, smaller government and more liberty.” In addition, the report mentioned Ogle’s desire to be the running mate of Green Party presidential candidate Roseanne Barr.

According to Ogle: “the combination of all these events, somehow could have prompted more to ask for the Libertarian ballot when they went to the voting booth.”

The non-binding primary is the only contest the Libertarian Party will hold before its nominating convention in May. California is also to hold a primary, but it is scheduled after the nomination. Ogle is to appear on the California ballot.

Republican focuses on Iran

Republican presidential candidate Hugh Cort, a psychiatrist and President of the non-profit American Foundation for Counter-Terrorism Policy and Research, describes his campaign’s status as “wait-and-see”. In December, he participated in the Republican Party’s lesser-known candidates forum, and was included on the New Hampshire Republican primary ballot. He received a total of three votes.

Nevertheless, Cort’s main area of concern is the nuclear situation in Iran, which garnered significant press in February. Iran, which claims it is enriching uranium for peaceful purposes, blocked International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors from monitoring a site suspected of containing nuclear weapons research. Increasing western sanctions against the country have resulted in threats from the government that it will cut off oil exports to Europe and/or close the strategic Strait of Hormuz. This talk has affected the price of crude oil. Commentators have suggested that war is looming.

Republican Hugh Cort
Image: Marc Nozell.

Cort, who has written a book entitled The American Hiroshima: Iran’s Plan for a Nuclear Attack on the United States, which he gave to Mitt Romney, believes Iran already has a nuclear weapon and that an attack on the United States is “very likely to happen in the very near future.” He tells Wikinews that if “Iran does detonate some nuclear bombs in American cities, I would consider continuing my run for President, under the assumption that perhaps America would like to elect someone who knows something about counter-terrorism.”

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow should the president address the nuclear situation in Iran?

Hugh Cort: The President should say that America will help Israel to take out Iran’s nuclear sites. He should also prepare America for the possibility that Iran may have nuclear bombs already here, giving instructions on how to cope if a nuclear bomb should go off. Although some would say not to take out Iran’s nuclear sites for fear of retaliation from Iran, if we let Iran get nuclear weapons, they will then make much more devastating nuclear bombs, such as plutonium bombs with a 5 Megaton yield (350 times the size of a Hiroshima blast). With the bombs that Iran may already have now, they could damage America, but America would survive. If they are allowed to make the bigger bombs (for example 100 Megaton bombs) they would destroy America. Remember, Iran’s leaders have a suicide bomber’s mentality—they do not fear death. In fact, Ahmadinejad has said the role of Iran is to be a martyr, in order to bring about the destruction of America and Israel which will usher in the coming of his messiah, the “12th Imam”, or “Mahdi“. The leaders of Iran are religious fanatics who will not listen to reason.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow did Mitt Romney react when you handed him your book?

Hugh Cort: I did not personally give my book to Mitt Romney—a friend of mine in Florida did. She said he took it seriously, as have two Governors of Alabama, several Senators, and many others. When I met in the Eisenhower Office Building in the White House compound with the Senior Director for Counter-Terrorism of the National Security Council, Nick Rasmussen, he took our research very seriously.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhich of the presidential candidates is best equipped to handle the Iran situation?

Hugh Cort: I believe the Presidential candidate best able to handle the Iran situation, other than myself, is Newt Gingrich, closely followed by Rick Santorum, closely followed by Mitt Romney. All three would do a much better job than Obama. Ron Paul, unfortunately, although he is good on the economy, is a dismal failure in foreign policy and is totally naïve on the very grave threat of the Iran situation.

More than one-dimensional?

Democratic presidential candidate Randall Terry is best known as an anti-abortion advocate. However, he says he is not the “one-dimensional” character portrayed in the press. He tells Wikinews that in addition to his activism, he has experience in theology, foreign policy, and music.

Randall Terry
Image: Marc Nozell.

Terry finished second in the Missouri Democratic primary in February and ranks above all primary challengers to President Barack Obama. He received some media attention this month for attempting to run Super Bowl advertisements in Chicago that showed aborted fetuses. A Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling prevented him from showing the ads since he is not on the Illinois Democratic primary ballot. However, after the Super Bowl, Terry was able to target the ads in Oklahoma. He will be on that state’s March 6 primary ballot, and federal law requires stations to show paid advertisements for “legally qualified candidates”.

After this and a February 22 Daily Caller report that conservative icon Ann Coulter planned to speak at a Terry fundraiser, Wikinews caught up with Terry.

“I have obtained a one-dimensional personality in the news”, says Terry, “I have a Masters in Diplomacy and International Terrorism from Norwich University…I have a BA in Theology. A BA in Communications from the SUNY [State University of New York]. A daily TV show seen in 44 markets. [And] I have lectured at the Vatican.”

He mentions that he authored two papers on Islamic terrorism, which are accessible from his campaign website. These are titled, “How do the words and deeds of Islamic terrorists, or Muslims who call for acts of terror and violence, emulate the words and deeds of Muhammad?” and “Is Islamic Shaira [sic] Law Incompatible With International Laws of Human Rights for Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Religion and Expression?”

Terry adds, “I used to be an accomplished musician.” His songs “I’m Cryin for you Baby”, “I Do”, “Te Deum”, “United We Stand”, and “Let Those Cookies Burn” can be heard on his website.

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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

February 27, 2012

Wikinews interviews former Congressman Virgil Goode, Constitution Party presidential candidate

Wikinews interviews former Congressman Virgil Goode, Constitution Party presidential candidate

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Official congressional photo of Goode.

Former Congressman Virgil Goode of Virginia spoke with Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn about his newly announced 2012 presidential campaign. Goode is currently seeking the nomination of the Constitution Party, a U.S. third party.

Goode served in the Virginia State Senate for twenty-three years. In 1996, he was elected to represent Virginia’s Fifth U.S. congressional district as a Democrat, and was re-elected two years later. Goode left the Democratic Party before his second re-election campaign in 2000, and ran as an Independent. He joined the Republican Party ahead of the 2002 election, and was re-elected three additional times until his defeat in 2008. Since then, Goode has joined the Constitution Party, and has served on its executive committee.

The Constitution Party was founded in 1991 as the U.S. Taxpayers Party. Eight years later, it changed to its current name. The party advocates states’ rights, gun rights, limited government, protectionism, and non-interventionism. It strongly opposes abortion and illegal immigration. In terms of voter registration, it is the third largest U.S. political party with 367,000 members. Pastor Chuck Baldwin won the party’s 2008 presidential nomination, and appeared on 37 state ballots receiving 199,314 votes (0.15%).

Goode had been speculated to make a run for the party’s presidential nomination since last year. In fact, the executive committee passed a resolution last spring to convince him to run. Goode filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on February 10, and announced his candidacy to the Daily Caller six days later.

The 2012 Constitution Party National Convention will be held in April. Other candidates seeking the nomination include former Savannah State football coach Robby Wells. National chairman Jim Clymer described Goode last summer as the frontrunner for the party’s nomination.

To Wikinews, Goode affirmed his credentials for the presidency and shared his view on the Obama administration. Among other issues, he addressed immigration, spending, energy, and foreign policy.


Wikinews waves Left.pngWilliam S. SaturnWikinews waves Right.pngFirst, I’d like to get some background. What are your proudest political accomplishments?

Virgil Goode: I served in the Virginia State Senate from December 1973 to January 1997. 23 years. Then I was in the United States House of Representatives from January 1997 to January 2009.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat exactly did you do during those years?

Goode: Well, in the Virginia Senate, I served on a number of different committees, and became familiar with the operation of the Virginia State government. And then the U.S. House of Representatives where I served twelve years, I became familiar with the operation of the federal government. I was on the Appropriations Committee for several congresses, and that helped with the understanding of the budget and the need that we have to make a serious cut in order to achieve balance.
One of my main points is to achieve a balanced budget, sooner not later, not five years down the road, not ten years down the road. We need to do that now.
I also understand the need for secure borders. And I am the only candidate that is in favor of totally stopping illegal immigration, and reducing legal immigration. Immigration costs this country billions of dollars. We should not be bringing in more green card holders while our unemployment rate is between eight and nine percent. We need jobs in America, and U.S. citizens first, and not bring in so many from other countries that take jobs from U.S. citizens.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhy did you decide to join the Constitution Party and seek its nomination?

Goode: I have been going to the National Committee meetings. I am a member of the National Committee of the Constitution Party, and I’ve attended about ten meetings. The Constitution National Committee, unlike the Republican National Committee and unlike the Democratic National Committee, was willing to take a stand and support the Arizona legislation to counteract illegal immigration. I think the federal government should be supportive of the efforts of states to deal with the problems, and of course the current administration does not. And the Republican National Committee did not do a resolution supporting Arizona like the Constitution Party National Committee.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngIf you win the nomination, are you concerned you will take votes away from the Republicans and help re-elect Barack Obama?

Goode: No. I think I’ll take votes from Obama. I just talked to the guy that filled my tanks with gas. I’ve known him for many years. He’s gonna vote for Obama — he was — but he says now, he’s gonna vote for me. So I think I’ll take as many votes from Obama as I will from the Republican.
I think when people focus on our campaign, we’re gonna get a lot of votes from both Democrats and Republicans. My campaign is only taking donations of $200 and less. That’s a grassroots campaign. Running a grassroots campaign should be very appealing to Democrats who do not favor the big money that’s backing President Obama. He’s lowering the ethics with big PAC donations , and he has maximum limit donations, which I believe is about $10,000 per couple now. Our limit is $200, so I think we’ll take votes from President Obama and with those who really want to balance the budget right away will vote with us too.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngIf you were elected in 2008, what would you have done differently than Obama?

Goode: I would not have pushed for Obamacare. I would have secured the borders, stopped illegal immigration, reduced legal immigration, done away with diversity visas, supported legislation to stop automatic birthright citizenship for those born of illegals that come into this country. And I would not have adopted the stimulus bill that he approved with all deficit spending. There are many areas that need to be cut. When I was in Congress, I was often among the lowest spenders of the Congressional expense money. We need to do that across all levels of the federal government. Instead of expanding government, we need to have less regulation, and encourage the private sector.
I also would have supported drilling off the coast. For example, I’m from Virginia. The Virginia General Assembly has passed resolutions indicating its support of drilling off the coast of Virginia. I would have allowed that instead of blocking it like President Obama. I will also support the Keystone Pipeline, which he is opposing. We need to have lower energy costs. Lower energy costs would do most to enhance jobs, and most little small initiatives done by the president in other areas.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWould you have ordered the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen?

Goode: I don’t know if the president ordered that. Our national defense forces found him and he was fought in parcel with Osama bin Laden, and I think they did the right thing in taking out Osama bin Laden.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngBut was it right to take out Anwar al-Awlaki?

Goode: Let’s make sure we’re taking about the same one. Is that the guy in Yemen?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngYes, the internet al-Qaeda leader.

Goode: I would want more intelligence than I have available to me right now.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWell he was an American citizen, so do you believe that we should treat American citizens overseas that are considered to be dangerous differently than others?

Goode: Well let me ask you this: Did President Obama order his killing?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngI believe he did.

Goode: Well I want to know more facts before I say yes or no. Did he do an act that effectively renounced his citizenship? He may have and may have committed treason. So to answer that precisely, I would have to have more. I would have to be privy to the intelligence briefings that president Obama had and that the members of the House and Senate intelligence committees had. And I would like to also get the opinions of the members of the intelligence committee of the House and the Senate. And I would want to ascertain whether he was truly a citizen of the United States. Was he a dual-citizen? You don’t know that do you?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngI don’t know for sure.

Goode: Yeah, I don’t either so I want to know more facts before I could say flat out one way or another.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngOkay, let’s talk more about foreign policy. In 2002, you voted to authorize the Iraq War and you supported the troop surge in 2007. However, the Constitution Party platform opposes undeclared wars, and supports a non-interventionist foreign policy. Do you stand by your previous votes?

Goode: Now if I was voting on that situation in 2008, 2009, 2010, I would have said we shouldn’t go forward unless Congress debates the issue and declares war.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngAs president, how would you address the nuclear situation in Iran?

Goode: Well again, I would want to have more intelligence than I have about the status of their situation. And I don’t think the United States should commit an act of war unless Congress authorizes it.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow will you turn around the American economy?

Goode: Much greater energy exploration in this country, more drilling, the Keystone Pipeline, and hopefully bringing us independence with a surplus of energy production like that of Canada. Canada’s economic situation has improved significantly since they are producing so much oil, and they are going forward with that. And it has significantly helped Canada’s economic situation. And I believe that we need to be energy independent and we cannot do it by waving off so much oil from many areas of the United States and off the shores for exploration. We’ve got to go forward with that. And I also support alternative energies like wind and solar, and reduce regulations on them. But we can’t do what has been done recently because of the budget deficit in making loans and grants in seeking alternative energy forms.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngMy last question is what necessary freedoms are currently lacking in American society?

Goode: Give me an example of a necessary freedom, and I can answer your question.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngSuch as any of our natural human rights.

Goode: What’s a natural human right? I believe we need freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of speech…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngBut do you believe any of those are being hindered right now in the United States?

Goode: I’m sure there are instances where they are, but I believe that our Constitutional rights as set forth in the bill of rights and in the amendments to the Constitution need to be preserved and protected.

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February 18, 2012

Former Congressman Virgil Goode enters race for Constitution Party presidential nomination

Former Congressman Virgil Goode enters race for Constitution Party presidential nomination

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Congressional photo of Virgil Goode
Image: U.S. Congress.

Former U.S. Republican Party Congressman Virgil Goode of Virginia announced he is running for President of the United States. He told the The Daily Caller on Thursday that he is seeking the 2012 nomination of the Constitution Party on a platform of limited government, a balanced budget, term limits for Congress, and border security.

If he wins the party’s nomination, he expects to take votes away from both President Barack Obama and the Republican Party nominee. Goode filed his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on February 10, and had been speculated to make a run since last year.

Goode was elected to Virginia’s Fifth U.S. congressional district in 1996 as a Democrat. He was re-elected in 1998, and left the party before the 2000 election to run as an Independent. He joined the Republican Party ahead of the 2002 election, and was re-elected three times until his defeat in 2008. Since then, Goode has joined the Constitution Party, and has served on its executive committee for two years.

The Constitution Party advocates states’ rights, gun rights, limited government, protectionism, and non-interventionism, and strongly opposes abortion and illegal immigration. It was founded with the name U.S. Taxpayers Party in 1991, and changed to today’s name eight years later. Its voter registration is the third largest among United States political parties with 367,000 members. For the 2008 presidential election, the party nominated pastor Chuck Baldwin, who appeared on 37 state ballots and received 199,314 votes (0.15%).

The party will hold its 2012 nominating convention in April. Others seeking the nomination include former Savannah State football coach Robby Wells.

Political consultant Dave “Mudcat” Saunders suggests Goode’s presence on the ballot would take votes away from Republicans, particularly in his home state of Virginia, a potential battleground state that traditionally votes Republican but backed Obama in 2008. “[H]e’s going to get some votes down there in the southern end of the 5th District [of Virginia]. No question” says Saunders. “[T]hat’s an area that’s tough on Democrats”. “Whoever votes for Virgil was going to vote for a Republican, so in that region of the state it could be good for Obama”.



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