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August 11, 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

2016 United States presidential election
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The following is the third edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: two individuals previously interviewed by Wikinews announce their candidacies for the Reform Party presidential nomination; a former Republican Congressman comments on the Republican National Convention; and Wikinews interviews an historic Democratic National Convention speaker.

Summary[]

As July started, presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton met with the FBI to discuss the private e-mail server she used as Secretary of State. A few days later, FBI Director James Comey held a press conference where he announced that charges would not be appropriate against Clinton. He noted, however, that Clinton had acted carelessly in installing a private e-mail server for State business and had risked compromising State secrets. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump tweeted that the lack of charges in the case showed “the system is totally rigged!” Polls from the early part of the month gave Clinton a slight lead in the race. She led the July 4 Real Clear Politics average 44.9% to 40.3%. At this time, media interest in the running-mate selections of Trump and Clinton intensified. The Washington Post speculated that New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were the leading contenders to be Trump’s running mate. However, other reports pointed to Indiana governor Mike Pence, who confirmed he would accept the position if asked. Trump commented that ten names were on the shortlist including some not mentioned in the media. In later days, General Michael Flynn was floated as a possibility in reports. Gingrich, Flynn, and Pence were apparently finalists for the position, with Pence believed to be the favorite. For the Democrats, Senator Cory Booker, Congressman Xavier Becerra and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro received mention as potential running mates for Clinton, but the shortlist reportedly included Senators Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Trump speaks at a July Iowa rally with Mike Pence’s name affixed to his logo
Image: Max Goldberg (flickr).

On July 7, Trump arrived in Washington D.C. and met with Republican members from the House of Representatives and Senate. During the meeting, Trump reportedly told the attendees if they did not support his candidacy, they were, in effect, supporting Clinton. Trump agreed to allow his former rival, Senator Ted Cruz, to speak at the convention, but he did not secure an endorsement from Cruz. The next day, both Trump and Clinton canceled campaign events as an African American shooter in Dallas killed five police officers. Trump’s state chairman in Virginia blamed the shooting on Clinton and others “who label police as racists.” In the aftermath, Trump proclaimed himself the “law and order candidate.” Ahead of its convention, the GOP platform committee approved a socially conservative platform that opposed same-sex marriage and identified pornography as a “public health crisis.” The convention’s host, Ohio governor John Kasich, a former presidential rival of Trump, would not endorse Trump and claimed through a spokesman that Trump had asked Kasich join the presidential ticket in May, but Kasich had declined. Trump’s spokesman denied the claim. Another former rival, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, said he might vote for Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson instead of Trump. On the other side, Hillary Clinton’s principle rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, dropped his campaign and officially endorsed Clinton. Clinton also seemingly received support from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who called Trump “a faker” and wondered why he has “gotten away” with not releasing his tax returns. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy questioned whether the country was “well served” with a Supreme Court justice openly discussing her political views. Trump referred to Ginsburg’s comments as “highly inappropriate.” Ginsburg later apologized.

Trump announced he would officially name his running mate on July 15. Though Pence was the favorite to receive the nod, Trump met with Senator Jeff Sessions, and had additional meetings with Christie and Gingrich. According to multiple news reports, Trump’s daughter Ivanka, her husband Jared Kushner, and financier Sheldon Adelson all tried to convince Trump to select Gingrich, while campaign manager Paul Manafort favored Pence, and pollster Tony Fabrizio wanted Flynn. CNN reported Trump had offered the position to Pence, who accepted. According to NBC, the purported leak of the news had left Trump “seething.” Due to the July 14 attack in Nice, France, Trump postponed the planned announcement. Both CNN and NBC reported Trump was looking for ways to get out of the selection of Pence. The campaign denied the report. The New York Times alleged the Pence selection was revisited because Christie had begged the campaign to reconsider its decision and replace Pence with himself. On July 15, Trump officially announced via Twitter that he had selected Pence. Through the selection, Trump said he hoped to unify the party. Manafort said the ticket would appeal to former supporters of Sanders. As the GOP convention approached, Manafort declared the #NeverTrump movement “gone,” as the GOP rules committee voted not to unbind delegates. Clinton announced she would reveal her vice presidential selection after the GOP convention. The Washington Post tapped Vilsack as the favorite.

RNC[]

Trump with Pence
Image: VOA.

As the GOP convention began in Cleveland, Ohio, Trump trailed Clinton in the July 18 Real Clear Politics average 40.6% to 43.8%. Although Ohio was hosting the convention, the state’s delegates were not placed in the front as is tradition. This was believed to be punishment for Governor Kasich’s refusal to endorse Trump or attend the convention. Manafort called Kasich’s absence a “big mistake” and “embarrassing [to] his state.” With the release of the lineup of speakers showing many members of Trump’s family, former RNC chairman Michael Steele called the convention “a [Trump] family affair.”

On the opening day, on the floor of the convention at Quicken Loans Arena, anti-Trump delegates unsuccessfully attempted to force a roll call vote on the convention rules. Protests outside were relatively minor with only 24 arrests throughout the entire convention. During the convention speeches, delegates frequently chanted “Lock her up!” in reference to Hillary Clinton. Patricia Smith, mother of diplomat Sean Smith who died in the 2012 Benghazi attack, blamed Clinton for her son’s death and exclaimed, “Hillary belongs in prison. She deserves to be in stripes.” In his speech, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani commented Clinton “would go to jail” if he were allowed to prosecute her. In the prime-time opening-night speech, Trump’s wife Melania delivered a speech that initially received acclaim. However, this changed once the media pointed out some lines were nearly identical to those from the speech of First Lady Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Quicken Loans Arena ahead of the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Image: Erik Drost.

The Trump campaign spent most of the second day of the convention explaining away the plagiarism flap as speechwriter Meredith McIver took the blame for the passages and offered to quit. Trump requested she remain. Trump officially received the presidential nomination on the second day of the convention and Pence received the vice-presidential nomination. Christie delivered a speech in which he held a mock trial prosecuting Clinton in absentia before the delegates. He was followed with prime-time speeches by Trump’s children Tiffany and Donald Jr.

View from the floor of the Convention
Image: VOA.

On the third day, The New York Times released a transcript of an interview with Trump in which he criticized NATO and questioned whether the US should honor the treaty if member nations do not contribute their share of funds. Several Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said they disagreed with Trump’s comments. Disagreements seeped into the convention as well when Cruz gave a speech in which he did not endorse Trump. When his refusal became evident, a chorus of boos erupted from the delegates, continuing until he left the stage. The speech overshadowed that of Pence who accepted the vice-presidential nomination later that night. Cruz received almost universal condemnation from prominent Republicans. However, Gingrich, who spoke after Trump’s son Eric, who followed Cruz, commented he did not take the speech to show a lack of support for Trump. Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. claimed it had helped Republicans unite behind Trump.

On the last day of the convention, after a formal introduction from Ivanka, Trump accepted the GOP nomination and delivered, CNN noted, the longest nominee acceptance speech in 40 years. In the speech, Trump emphasized “law and order”, and referenced his proposals of building a wall along the southern border and banning immigration from nations with a history of terrorism. Trump described the legacy of his opponent Clinton as one of “death, destruction, terrorism, and weakness.” President Barack Obama criticized the speech, accusing Trump of basing it on fear and inaccurately painting a bleak portrait of the nation. Nevertheless, a CNN/ORC instant poll showed 57% of respondents who watched the speech received it favorably and 56% were more likely to vote for Trump. According to pundit Joe Trippi, the speech and overall convention provided the GOP with about a 5.9% bounce in the polls, one point higher than the average. Most polls at this time showed Trump leading Clinton.

A day after the convention, Clinton announced her vice-presidential selection. The New York Times had reported that Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, wanted Clinton to pick Senator Tim Kaine. Indeed, she named Kaine, a centrist from Virginia, as her running mate. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus called Clinton-Kaine a “failed Democrat status quo” ticket.

DNC[]

Pro-Bernie Sanders protests of the DNC
Image: Becker1999.

Ahead of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wikileaks released nearly 20 thousand hacked Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mails. The e-mails showed favoritism of Clinton within the DNC and revealed plans to diminish the Sanders campaign. DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned her position as a result. Initially, she was to gavel-in the convention, but after a highly negative reception from her home state Florida delegation before the convention, she was replaced with DNC Secretary Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Media reports and the Clinton campaign itself blamed Russia for the hacking and leaking of e-mails. The DNC issued an apology to Sanders. Sanders urged his supporters not to protest on the floor of the convention. He was booed upon reiterating his support for Clinton before a group of delegates. Presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein invited Sanders to meet with her, but Sanders declined. Via Twitter, Trump said Sanders had “sold out.”

View of the floor of the DNC
Image: JefParker.

On the first day of the convention, the first speakers received boos upon mentioning Clinton with the crowd erupting into chants of “Bernie! Bernie!” and “Count our votes!” As the convention continued, the protests died down inside Wells Fargo Center, but continued outside. Overall, a total of 103 citations were issued in lieu of arrests, while the Secret Service arrested eleven. As the convention moved along, commentators oddly noted a common theme of “American exceptionalism” in speeches and more religious references than at the RNC. On the first night, Michelle Obama addressed the convention in a well received speech. She did not mention Trump by name, but referenced his slogan in proclaiming, “don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on earth!” She heaped praise upon Clinton, whom she called a leader “guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children.” She was followed by the keynote speaker Elizabeth Warren, who opened a blistering attack on Trump, accusing him of defrauding people. Sanders spoke. He expressed disappointment in the outcome of the primaries but heralded the “historical accomplishments” of his movement and urged his followers to get behind Clinton.

Clinton accepts the Democratic presidential nomination
Image: VOA.

In a historic moment on the second day, Clinton officially received the Democratic presidential nomination, making her the first woman to be nominated by a major party. That night, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, addressed the convention, discussing his relationship with his wife and highlighting her accomplishments. Before the convention convened on the third day, Trump held a press conference. Referencing the DNC hack leak, he remarked, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” The Clinton campaign attacked Trump for “actively encourag[ing] a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent,” though Trump claimed he was merely joking. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange commented in an interview that he timed the release of the hacked e-mails to hurt Clinton in the election.

On the third day, after a speech from Vice President Joe Biden, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, addressed the convention. He formally endorsed Clinton and referred to Trump as a “con,” arguing, “[t]he richest thing about Trump is his hypocrisy.” Later, Kaine officially accepted the vice-presidential nomination. President Obama followed with a speech to wrap up the third day. He argued that no one, himself included, was “more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.” He accused Trump of offering “no serious solutions to pressing problems — just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate.”

On the final day, Chelsea Clinton spoke and introduced her mother, Hillary Clinton, who accepted the Democratic nomination. During her speech, Clinton laid out policy proposals and attacked Trump for making some of his products overseas. In addition, she argued that Trump cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons. Clinton’s speech was deemed a success. A CNN instant poll revealed 71% of viewers had a favorable opinion of the speech with 60% more likely to vote for her after watching. Although Trump’s speech received higher television ratings, Clinton overtook Trump in post-convention polls.

Khizr and Ghazala Khan
Image: VOA.

Press coverage of Clinton’s speech was overshadowed by an earlier speech from Khizr and Ghazala Khan, a Muslim couple whose son died in Iraq in 2004. The speech set off a back-and-forth between Trump and Khan that lasted several days. With his wife at his side on the convention stage, Khizr Khan delivered a stinging attack on Trump for his earlier proposal to ban Muslim immigration and wondered whether Trump had ever read the U.S. Constitution. Trump responded, attacking Khizr for his comments and questioning whether Khizr’s wife remained silent during the speech because she was not allowed to speak. Trump’s comments were condemned by Democrats and Republicans alike. Khizr labeled Trump “void of decency” and accused him of having a “dark heart.” Ghazala responded with an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she attributed her silence at the convention to grief.

As July came to a close, Trump had additional setbacks. First, he mistakenly asserted that no Russian troops were currently in Ukraine. Second, he made an unsupported claim that the NFL had complained to him about the presidential debate schedule coinciding with NFL games. Nevertheless, Trump received some positive news with the announcement that Julian Assange had “extremely interesting” information on Clinton that had yet to be released through Wikileaks. In the July 31 Real Clear Politics average, Clinton, who had just received the endorsement of billionaire Mark Cuban, held a 1.1% lead over Trump .

Reform Party race features two Wikinews interviewees[]

Two candidates who each previously spoke with Wikinews have both announced their candidacies for the 2016 presidential nomination of the Reform Party of the United States. Historian Darcy Richardson and businessman Rocky De La Fuente each decided to seek the nomination in July. Both have previously run for president as Democrats.

Logo for the Reform Party of the United States of America.
Image: Reform Party National Committee.

[T]here was and is a party that was opposed to NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO and other unfair trade agreements and which is still deeply committed to the Hamiltonian idea of protecting U.S. jobs and industry as we proceed into the 21st Century
Darcy Richardson on the Reform Party

Richardson, a veteran of third-party politics, sought the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2012 and briefly vied for the Reform Party presidential nomination that same year. He is the author of “The Others” anthology, covering third-party candidates, and has written books on such political topics as the 1968 presidential election and the presidential candidacies of Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, and recently, Bernie Sanders. He served as campaign manager during McCarthy’s 1988 presidential bid. In addition, he ran for Pennsylvania Auditor General in 1980, and was the Consumer Party’s 1988 nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. In 2010, he ran for Lieutenant Governor of Florida as the running mate of gubernatorial candidate Farid Khavari.

Richardson has a history within the Reform Party beyond his 2012 run. He participated in the party’s 1996 and 2000 mail-in primaries, was part of the 2004 nominating conference calls, donated to candidates nominated by the party, and contributed to the Reform National Committee. Richardson says Reform Party Secretary Nicholas Hensley encouraged him to enter the 2016 race. As the nominee, he plans to spread the party message through television, radio, and speaking engagements.

“In short, my candidacy is designed to remind older folks about the Reform Party’s important role in American politics”, says Richardson, “and to inform younger millennials — those facing a low-paying, if not jobless, future — that there was and is a party that was opposed to NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO and other unfair trade agreements and which is still deeply committed to the Hamiltonian idea of protecting U.S. jobs and industry as we proceed into the 21st Century.”

De La Fuente, a San Diego businessman with properties throughout the world, got his start in the automobile industry and has since branched into the banking and real estate markets. Before his 2016 Democratic Party campaign for president, he had not sought political office, but did serve as the first-ever Hispanic superdelegate, at the 1992 Democratic National Convention. During his 2016 presidential campaign, which he began largely as a reaction to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, De La Fuente qualified for the ballot in 48 Democratic primary contests. In addition to seeking the Reform Party nomination, he is current attempting to qualify for the general election ballot in several states as an independent or as the nominee of the new “American Delta Party,” which he founded. De La Fuente is currently running in the Democratic Party primary for U.S. Senate in Florida as well. According to Hensley, in remarks to Wikinews’, ballot access expert Richard Winger encouraged De La Fuente to seek the Reform Party nomination.

Rocky De La Fuente in January 2016.
Image: Marc Nozell.

Darcy Richardson in 2010
Image: Darcy Richardson.

According to Richardson, De La Fuente entered the race a mere 24 hours after he did. Moreover, Richardson distinguishes himself from De La Fuente, arguing that while those within the Reform party encouraged him to run, De La Fuente ran at the insistence of “a partisan Libertarian [Winger] […] who personally has little interest in the Reform Party’s current fortunes or its future”, and who sees the Reform Party as “just an available ballot line”.

Richardson’s preferred running mate, activist Thomas Knapp, founder of the now-defunct Boston Tea Party, draws an even greater contrast between Richardson and De La Fuente.

“[There were] five states that both Mr. [De La] Fuente [in 2016] and Mr. Richardson [in 2012] appeared on a Democratic primary ballot [in different election cycles] […],” explains Knapp, comparing De La Fuente and Richardson’s Democratic Party candidacies, “Richardson outpolled [De La] Fuente and did so on a budget two full orders of magnitude smaller, even though Richardson was running against a popular incumbent president [Barack Obama] and [De La] Fuente was running against one of the most hated politicians in America [Hillary Clinton].”

“In his presidential campaign so far [De La Fuente] has spent $6.4 million to get 67,000 votes”, Knapp continues. “That’s $95.50 per vote.”

De La Fuente was asked to respond to these statements and to comment on this report, but he has yet to do so.

The Reform Party was founded in 1995 by industrialist Ross Perot. Perot ran as the party’s first presidential nominee in 1996, and won over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third-party candidate since. In 1998, professional wrestler Jesse Ventura ran on the Reform Party ticket and was elected Governor of Minnesota. The party fell in prominence during the lead-up to the 2000 presidential election when it was plagued by infighting between ideological factions. In 2000, Donald Trump briefly sought the party’s presidential nomination, but it was ultimately won by paleoconservative icon Pat Buchanan, who went on to receive only 0.4% of the popular vote in the general election. In 2004, the party opted to endorse consumer advocate Ralph Nader, but ended the year nearly bankrupt. Ted Weill won the party’s 2008 presidential nomination, but appeared on the ballot in only one state and won a total of 481 votes. In 2012, the party’s presidential nominee, fitness model Andre Barnett, on the ballot only in Florida with write-in status elsewhere, received a total of 952 votes. The party is currently on the ballot in New York and Florida, but, according to Ballot Access News, the New York affiliate is expected to nominate Trump.

The party held its 2016 convention the last weekend in July. It had planned to formally announce its presidential ticket on August 8. According to Knapp, Richardson and De La Fuente were the two leading contenders for the nomination. Others seeking the nomination included 2012 vice presidential nominee Kenneth Cross and psychologist Lynn Kahn.

“I was approached about entering the contest very recently”, says Richardson. “I plan to support whatever ticket the party nominates.”

Former Congressman responds to Cruz RNC speech[]

Congressman Tancredo
Image: United States Congress.

As Senator Ted Cruz delivered his much-discussed speech before the Republican National Convention, former Congressman Tom Tancredo, an early supporter of Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign, watched with disappointment. In an exclusive interview with Wikinews, Tancredo argued that Cruz’s refusal to endorse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the speech, which prompted what was perhaps one of the most negative crowd reactions to a convention speech in recent memory, was a mistake.

“He needs to realize and appreciate the bigger picture”, said Tancredo about Cruz, “[y]ou can still hate Donald Trump for the things he says [but] he has to recognize what will happen to the country if the Supreme Court is under the control of Hillary Clinton.”

Ted Cruz delivering his convention speech
Image: VOA.

Tancredo, who represented Colorado’s 6th congressional district from 1999 to 2009, endorsed Cruz in January, writing an op-ed for Breitbart.com in which he touted Cruz as an outsider and “the real deal.” Tancredo himself ran for president in 2008 as an outsider Republican, focusing on securing the U.S.–Mexico border and enforcing laws against illegal immigration. Notably, during his campaign, Tancredo had a September 2007 interview with Wikinews.

Cruz’s speech affected more than just Tancredo’s opinion. Though some praised the speech as principled and politically astute — including Hillary Clinton, who tweeted “vote your conscience”, repeating what Cruz had said — many prominent Republicans offered rebukes. Former Congressman Joe Walsh called for a Texas Republican to “primary” Cruz in 2018, when his Senate seat goes up for re-election, as a consequence for not honoring the GOP endorsement pledge. Chris Christie described Cruz as “selfish” for refusing to endorse. Congressman Peter King called Cruz an “asshole”, a term which RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said was apt. Polls from before and after the speech showed Cruz’s approval rating among Republicans fall from 60% to 33%.

Addressing the backlash, Cruz defended his decision, arguing “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.” Moreover, he claimed the GOP endorsement pledge “was not a blanket commitment that, if you go and slander and attack Heidi [his wife], that I’m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say thank you very much for maligning my wife and my father”.

The attacks Cruz refers to are Trump’s re-tweeting in March of a graphic comparing an unflattering photo of Cruz’s wife, Heidi, to a glamour shot of Melania Trump, as well as Trump’s mention last May of a National Enquirer report connecting Cruz’s father to Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of President John F. Kennedy.

Tancredo said he believes the issues facing the nation are “more important than [Cruz’s] personal feelings about his wife or father.” He maintained that Cruz “could have avoided the problem and ‘lived with himself’ by passing on the invitation to speak. Apparently the few minutes still in the spotlight was too alluring”.

A new view on Cruz was not Tancredo’s only takeaway from July’s convention. He appreciated Trump’s acceptance speech as well, calling it the “[b]est I’ve heard from him”.

Wikinews interviews history-making DNC speaker[]

Before Hillary Clinton’s historic moment on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention, as she became the first woman to accept the presidential nomination of a major US political party, another woman, much younger than Clinton, made history of her own. Sarah McBride, national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), became the first openly transgender person to address a major political party’s national convention when she spoke before the Democratic National Convention. Wikinews contacted McBride to find out more about her groundbreaking speech.

Sarah McBride
Image: Human Rights Campaign.

McBride, a native of Delaware in her mid-20s, came out as a transgender woman during her term at American University as student body president. Before HRC, an LGBT lobbying group, McBride was employed by the Center for American Progress, a progressive advocacy organization, and was the first openly transgender woman to intern at the White House. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the LGBT activist group Equality Delaware, through which she successfully lobbied the legislature of Delaware to expand the state’s anti-discrimination and hate-crimes acts to include gender identity and expression.

During her convention speech, McBride discussed her relationship with a transgender man, Andrew, who continued LGBT activism despite having terminal cancer. McBride married the man just a few days before his death. McBride’s speech received widespread coverage with feature stories from Time Magazine, The Washington Post, Daily Mail, CNN, ABC News, NBC News, Rolling Stone, New York, and others.

With Wikinews, McBride discusses the speech, her experience at the convention, and any future political plans.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png How did you find out the DNC wanted you to speak at the convention? What were your initial thoughts?

McBride: I found out that I was speaking about a week before the convention started. The Congressional LGBT Caucus was granted six minutes on the main stage of the convention and they decided that they wanted to dedicate half of that time to having a transgender person speak, breaking that barrier of finally having an openly trans speaker at a major party convention. When I found out, I was excited, nervous, and honored. Throughout the week leading up to the convention and during the week of the convention, my main thought was that I wanted to do the trans community proud and do them justice.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png How did you prepare for the speech and what did it feel like to deliver it before millions of people?

McBride: For the last few years, much of my advocacy has been about telling my personal story and weaving it in to the larger effort for LGBTQ equality. In writing my speech for the DNC, I took some of the themes, thoughts, and experiences that I’ve spoken about before and condensed them for the speech. During the week of the convention, I didn’t have much time to really focus on the upcoming speech. Instead, I went from interview to interview, talking with various outlets about this opportunity and the stakes of this election for LGBTQ people.
Standing on the stage and delivering my remarks was one of the most empowering and inspiring experiences of my life. While I was nervous beforehand, once I got on the stage and started speaking, I felt calm and determined to utilize those three minutes to effectively speak to the audience, both in and out of the arena. Throughout the speech and right afterward, I kept on thinking about a young transgender person in North Carolina who may be watching, who is wondering whether this country has a place for them too, and hoping that my speech could give that person, and anyone like them, just a little comfort and hope that things are changing, that they matter, and that their dreams and identity are not mutually exclusive.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What did you hope to achieve with the speech and what reaction have you received thus far?

McBride: I really hoped to drive two major points home. The first was that there is a lot of unfinished work for the LGBTQ equality movement and that Hillary Clinton is the champion and fighter we need to deliver the change so many of us still need. The second point was that I wanted to reinforce that behind this national conversation on transgender rights, are real people who hurt when we are mocked, who hurt when we are discriminated against, and who just want to be treated with dignity and fairness.
The energy in the arena was palpable as I stood on stage and I hope that the trans community could see and hear the love in that space. [The] response was and has been overwhelming and heartening. I hope that my speech helped open some hearts and change some minds, even if it was just one person.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Other than the speech, how was your experience at the convention?

McBride: This was the first convention I had ever attended and needless to say it was an incredible experience. Watching the first woman nominee of a major party stand up and accept the nomination of her party for President of the United States was a sight and experience I will never forget. I feel so lucky to have witnessed so much history in Philadelphia.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png After participating in the convention, do you personally have any interest in pursuing political office?

McBride: I’ve always been interested in politics and government and I definitely plan on returning to my home state of Delaware at some point, but I don’t know if running for office is ever in my future. Right now, I’m incredibly focused on contributing whatever I can to push equality forward for LGBTQ people and if there is anything I’ve learned in the last few years, it’s that making long term plans is usually a pretty fruitless exercise.



Related articles[]

Sources[]

Wikinews
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.

March 13, 2016

Wikinews interviews three figures from Donald Trump\’s political past

Wikinews interviews three figures from Donald Trump’s political past

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
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Sunday, March 13, 2016

2016 United States presidential election
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Donald Trump in 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Wikinews spoke with three people associated with the early political career of U.S. businessman Donald Trump, the front-runner for the U.S. Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination. Those interviewed include longtime political operative Roger Stone, a close associate of Trump and director of Trump’s 2000 presidential exploratory committee; journalist Dave Shiflett, co-writer of Trump’s 2000 campaign book The America We Deserve; and political consultant Russ Verney, who served as chairman of the Reform Party of the United States of America which Trump briefly joined.

In Trump’s highly publicized 2016 campaign, he has run under the banner of Make America Great Again, advocating a Mexican-funded wall along the U.S.–Mexico border, renegotiation of trade terms with other nations, and a temporary halt on the immigration of Muslims to the United States. He holds a considerable lead in Republican National Convention delegates over his opponents, winning 15 of the first 24 primary and caucus contests. Though this is Trump’s most visible campaign, it is not his first foray into electoral politics. He flirted with Republican presidential runs: first in 1987, when he purchased newspaper advertisements on foreign policy and delivered a campaign-like speech in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire; and then in 2011, when he briefly led nationwide opinion polls for the presidential nomination after questioning the citizenship of President Barack Obama. Trump’s most extensive campaign before now came during the 2000 presidential election when he opened an exploratory committee to consider seeking the presidential nomination of the Reform Party.

For 2000, Trump conducted various speeches and media appearances in support of his potential presidential campaign. He placed Stone in charge of his exploratory committee and hired Shiflett to work on what would become The America We Deserve. His chief opponent for the nomination was paleoconservative icon and eventual nominee Pat Buchanan who entered the race after ending his third unsuccessful campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Based on Buchanan’s comments against American involvement in World War II, Trump attacked Buchanan as a “Hitler lover” and anti-Semite. Trump’s campaign received support from then-Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura, the highest ranking elected official in the Reform Party. This placed Trump at odds with the faction of industrialist Ross Perot, the party’s founder and two time presidential candidate. Verney, a Perot confidante, was chairman of the party during Trump’s exploration. Though initially dismissive of the campaign, Verney eventually welcomed Trump into the race. However, the deep divisions within the party precipitated the exit of Ventura, and Trump did not seek the nomination. Despite leaving the race, Trump still appeared on Reform Party presidential primary ballots in California and Michigan, winning both states.

Over a five month period, Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn contacted the three previously involved in Trump’s politics to get their thoughts on his current presidential campaign, learn more about Trump’s political past including the true nature of his 2000 effort, and obtain details on his personality.

Roger Stone[]

Stone in 2014.
Image: Lizzie Ochoa.

Wikinews first contacted Roger Stone in October. In addition to his association with Trump, for whom he has worked as a lobbyist and advisor, Stone has a long history as a Republican Party operative, known for “dirty tricks“. He worked on the infamous Committee for the Re-Election of the President for President Richard Nixon in 1972, during which he performed such tasks as planting a spy in the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey, and sending a donation to a potential Republican primary opponent of Nixon under the name of a socialist organization. After Nixon’s resignation, Stone served as Nixon’s “man in Washington.” He has a tattoo of Nixon’s face on his back. Among many campaigns, Stone worked on the 1980 presidential campaign of Ronald Reagan, for which he purportedly brought a suitcase, presumably filled with cash, to the office of an influential lawyer associated with the Liberal Party of New York in order to secure the party’s nomination for Independent presidential candidate John B. Anderson, effectively splitting opposition to Reagan in the state. Stone has also worked for President George H. W. Bush, Congressman Jack Kemp, Senator Bob Dole, and was employed by the George W. Bush campaign to organize against the Florida recount during the disputed 2000 presidential election. In 2004, Stone volunteered for the presidential campaign of Democrat Al Sharpton. And, ahead of the 2008 presidential election, he founded an anti-Hillary Clinton group with the acronym C.U.N.T. Recently, Stone joined the Libertarian Party, and has authored a series of political books including one accusing President Lyndon Johnson of involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Stone served on Trump’s current presidential campaign before a well-publicized split last August. He remains a supporter of the campaign and discusses his association with Trump and thoughts on the current campaign.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWilliam S. SaturnWikinews waves Right.png Until a few months ago you were a long-time associate of Donald Trump. When did you first meet him and how would you describe him as a person?

  • Roger Stone: I met Donald in 1979 when I was sent to New York to organize Ronald Reagan’s campaign for President. He and his father Fred Trump were members of the Reagan for President finance committee. We became good friends. I was invited to two of his weddings. He attended my wedding in Washington DC. He is very smart, very tough and can be very very funny. He is also very tall.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png I’ve been writing an article on Wikipedia about Trump’s 2000 presidential campaign. You were director of his presidential exploratory committee. Do you recall when Trump first mentioned to you that he wanted to run?

  • Stone: I have wanted Donald to run since 1988 when I arranged for him to speak to the Portsmouth, New Hampshire Chamber of Commerce. I wanted him to run in 2000 — probably more than he did. The leaders of the Reform Party begged him to run but the time was not right in his business. I wanted him to run in 2012 and told him Mitt Romney was a stone-cold loser. All those who said he would never run, like that turkey McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed, look like assholes now.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Why were you willing to join Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign after he was quoted in 2008 by The New Yorker describing you as a “stone cold loser” who “always tries taking credit for things he never did”?

  • Stone: I probably said some awful things about him too. We had a brief falling out over my outspoken opposition to [former New York governor] Eliot Spitzer who was/is a criminal. Trump was friends with Spitzer’s father from the New York real estate world. We were subsequently reconciled and remain friends.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What are your thoughts on the 2016 presidential race thus far? Can Trump pull off a victory?

  • Stone: I strongly support Donald Trump for President. I think only Trump has the financial independence to take on the special interests. Trump doesn’t need the lobbyists or the special interest money with the strings attached. He is the only one who can fix a broken system. Trump’s pro-growth tax reform plan will supercharge the economy. Trump can actually cut waste because he is not beholden to the special pleaders. Trump will get in Hillary’s face and confront her with her lies. Jeb [Bush] gave Hillary [Clinton] a medal. The Bush and Clinton families profiteer off public service together. Is it civility or shared criminality? Only Trump can make America great again! It will be #yuge!

Stone refused to answer additional questions on his recent activities including his potential run for the Libertarian Party’s 2016 nomination for U.S. Senate in Florida and his October 2015 book The Clintons’ War on Women. Stone also did not address the conspiracy theory espoused by 1996 Reform Party vice presidential nominee Pat Choate that Trump’s 2000 presidential exploration was a “dirty trick” to sabotage the Pat Buchanan campaign and eliminate the Reform Party as an electoral threat to the Republican Party. Russ Verney addresses the theory further below.

Dave Shiflett[]

Cover of The America We Deserve
Image: Renaissance Books.

Last December, Wikinews reached out to writer Dave Shiflett to talk about his experience with Trump in co-writing The America We Deserve. According to Shiflett in The American Spectator, Shiflett was approached by Roger Stone who was on assignment from Trump to find the “most eminent hack writer in America” to write a book about a potential presidential campaign. Shiflett met with Trump for the first time in Spring 1999 to work on the book. It was released in January 2000, a month before Trump announced he would not run. Though not as well known as Trump’s first book The Art of the Deal, The America We Deserve has had more relevance to his current run. In November, Trump pointed to the book to claim he recognized the threat of terrorism before the attacks of 9/11; the book does warn of attacks by suitcase nuclear device and anthrax. Some of Trump’s political positions and policy proposals outlined in the book have led to attacks from his Republican primary opponents as being at odds with his 2016 platform including a pro-choice position on abortion (while noting his opposition to partial birth abortion), a ban on assault weapon ownership (as was the law at the time under the Federal Assault Weapons Ban), and the implementation of single-payer health care. Other positions in the book match his current platform including increased pressure on China, fair trade, and border control. Shiflett says he is not closely following Trump’s 2016 campaign and no longer has any interest in politics. Instead, he is focused on making music, which he posts on his website www.daveshiflett.com. He discusses what he remembers about working with Trump.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWilliam S. SaturnWikinews waves Right.png Why were you specifically selected to co-write The America We Deserve?

  • Dave Shiflett: Got the job through the White House Writer’s Group. I don’t know if this organization still exists. [As of March 12, 2016, the group has a functioning website at www.whwg.com]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What was it like to work with Donald Trump?

  • Shiflett: Trump was a lot of fun. Didn’t seem to take himself too seriously. He was most passionate about his fear of a terrorist attack on New York, which he talks about in the book.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png How much input did Roger Stone have in the content of The America We Deserve?

  • Shiflett: I wrote the book without any input from Stone.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Was there any indication that Trump was not serious about the campaign or did not want to run?

  • Shiflett: I was under the impression that he was on a lark. As I recall he ended his pursuit of the White House fairly soon after the book came out.

Russ Verney[]

Verney in 2008.
Image: Bob Barr.

Wikinews reached out early this month to Russ Verney, who served as chairman of the Reform Party during Trump’s exploratory bid for the party’s presidential nomination in 2000. Verney previously worked on the 1992 presidential campaign of Ross Perot and became chairman of the Reform Party upon its founding by Perot in 1995. When Perot ran as the party’s presidential nominee in 1996, he named Verney as campaign director. Later, Verney headed the Perot faction of the party when a schism between Perot’s supporters and the supporters of Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura threatened to split the party. With Trump potentially running as a member of the Ventura faction, Verney was initially dismissive of a Trump candidacy. In a July 1999 interview with New York Daily News, he said party members were not drafting Trump for president and “never spent one second thinking about him.” Later in the year, Verney commented he had not heard a “compelling reason […] for [Trump] to seek the presidency.” After Trump invited members of the Reform Party, including Verney, to his compound outside Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida in January 2000, Verney praised Trump, expressing “[t]his is him reaching out to all parts of the Reform Party, and that’s good.” However, Trump continued attacks on Pat Buchanan, focusing largely on the support Buchanan garnered from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. These comments received greater attention in 2016 when Trump himself received an endorsement from Duke and the Ku Klux Klan. Trump’s seeming inability to disavow the support in an interview with CNN (despite an earlier disavowal) formed part of the basis of the March 2016 speech in which Mitt Romney urged Republicans not to vote for Trump. After Trump dropped out of the 2000 race, ceasing his attacks on Buchanan, Buchanan received 0.42% of the general election vote, far below Perot’s 1996 showing of 8.40%. After the 2000 election, Verney left the party and began working as a regional director and national adviser for the conservative foundation Judicial Watch. In 2008, he worked as campaign manager for the presidential run of Libertarian Party nominee Bob Barr. Recently, he was hired as executive director for Project Veritas, a conservative group known for investigative film journalism. Verney answers questions about his meetings with Trump, responds to the accusation that Trump’s 2000 exploratory committee was a “dirty trick” to hurt the Reform Party, and analyzes Trump’s rise in the 2016 campaign.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWilliam S. SaturnWikinews waves Right.png You were the chairman of the Reform Party in 1999 when Donald Trump opened an exploratory committee to run for the party’s presidential nomination. He invited you and other party members to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. What do you recall about this meeting?

  • Russ Verney: I don’t believe the meeting he invited Reform Party leaders was at Mar-a-Lago. I recall it being in a function room but not at Mar-a-Lago. He was a warm gracious host who took time to listen to the people in the room.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What was your impression of Donald Trump upon meeting him?

  • Verney: I met Donald Trump once in his office, a second time at that meeting in Florida and a third time when my wife and I were his guests at Mar-a-Lago for a weekend. I think he is very personable.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Pat Choate, Ross Perot’s 1996 running mate who became Chairman of the Reform Party in 2000 accused Trump of being a GOP plant to sabotage the Pat Buchanan campaign and eliminate the Reform Party as an electoral threat. Considering that Trump often referred to Buchanan as a “Hitler-lover” and that Buchanan did worse than projected in the general election from which the Reform Party never fully recovered, is there any merit to Choate’s accusation?

  • Verney: Donald Trump never became a candidate for the Reform Party nomination. In fact it was Pat Buchanan who orchestrated a hostile takeover of the Reform Party and once he secured the public financing available to the Reform Party nominee he went underground with his campaign so he wouldn’t jeopardize George Bush in the General Election. Pat Buchanan got more votes to be the Reform Party nominee than he got on Election Day.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What are your thoughts on Trump’s 2016 campaign?

  • Verney: I think Trump is tapping into the anti-establishment vote that is huge and just waiting for an opportunity to express itself. The more the establishment tries to stop him like Romney’s speech today, the stronger his support will grow. People are supporting him because he isn’t “one of them” and they don’t care what his issues are.

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  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Donald Trump presidential campaign, 2000

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August 14, 2012

Reform Party of the United States nominates fitness model Andre Barnett for president

Reform Party of the United States nominates fitness model Andre Barnett for president

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Andre Barnett
Image: Andre Barnett 2012.

Fitness model Andre Barnett of Poughkeepsie, New York won the presidential nomination of the Reform Party of the United States at its national convention in Philadelphia last weekend. Consultant Kenneth Cross was selected as his running mate.

Barnett, who founded the company WiseDome, became a fitness model after suffering an injury in a 2000 helicopter incident while serving in the U.S. Army. He participated in last January’s Wikinews Reform Party USA presidential candidates forum, along with then-candidates former Savannah State football coach Robby Wells and Earth Intelligence Network CEO Robert David Steele.

Both Wells and Steele withdrew long before the convention as did others who later announced their candidacies, notably former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer and former Council of Economic Advisers Senior Economist Laurence Kotlikoff. As Wikinews reported in June, historian Darcy Richardson also sought the nomination, but he tells Wikinews that he did not attend the convention and withdrew from the race in July, “once it became clear the party wasn’t going to qualify for the ballot in Arkansas, New Jersey and a few of the other relatively easy states.”

Two other candidates — Cross, who later won the vice presidential nomination, and Dow Chemical worker Edward Chlapowski — attended the convention, where they debated Barnett before the delegate vote.

In his acceptance speech, Barnett referred to the Reform Party as “the microcosm of America”, and proclaimed that as the party’s nominee, he would not focus on social issues that “[belong] outside of politics”, but instead would center his campaign on the economy, defense, and education.

The Reform Party currently has ballot access in four states: Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Kansas; but in June, the disaffiliated Kansas Reform Party chose to nominate 2008 Constitution Party presidential nominee Chuck Baldwin.


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June 15, 2012

Darcy Richardson to seek Reform Party presidential nomination

Darcy Richardson to seek Reform Party presidential nomination

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Darcy Richardson, the historian who challenged U.S. President Barack Obama in several 2012 Democratic Party primary races, has notified Wikinews he will now “actively seek” the presidential nominations of the Reform Party of the United States of America and several third parties with single-state ballot access.

Reform Party presidential candidate Darcy Richardson.
Image: Darcy Richardson.

Richardson initially ran as a progressive alternative to Obama, concerned largely with the president’s economic policies. Discussing his qualms in detail during a November 2011 Wikinews interview, Richardson cited Obama’s extension of the Bush tax cuts, his inability to include a public option in his health care bill, his failure to renew the Glass-Steagall Act and pass cap-and-trade legislation, and his seeming reluctance to defend Social Security and Medicare. He also mentioned Obama’s continued use of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and prosecution of the War in Afghanistan.

As a Democrat, Richardson qualified for primary ballots in New Hampshire, Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas. His strongest showing proportionally came in Oklahoma, where he won 6.36 percent of the vote. Overall he received a total of 41,386 votes in the five states, 25,296 of which came during the May 29 Texas primary, after he had already suspended his campaign.

Last April, Richardson ceased all campaign operations, and shifted focus to his news blog Uncovered Politics. At the time, he said he planned to support Americans Elect and Reform Party presidential candidate Buddy Roemer, in part due to his economic plans, such as the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall. Richardson described Roemer as a “straight-talking, anti-Wall Street former governor of Louisiana who is … head and shoulders above any other potential third-party candidate in his conception of the current economic crisis.”

After Roemer ended his presidential campaign as a whole following Americans Elect’s board decision to not nominate a 2012 ticket, Richardson was left to decide whether to support Obama’s re-election or reconsider his own campaign. He ultimately chose to relaunch his campaign, and like Roemer, run for Reform Party nomination. He concluded:

I can’t in good conscience support President Obama’s re-election. He’s a good man, but entirely out of his league in putting the country on a path to economic recovery. The American people are hurting, and they’re hurting badly. President Obama squandered the first two years of his presidency on a health care bill that nobody wanted while essentially ignoring the private sector in his $787 billion stimulus package in 2009 — legislation that did little other than preserve the bloated payrolls of public sector employees across the country. We need a President who understands what it will take to end this depression, somebody with extensive private sector experience. Unlike President Obama, I have spent my entire life in the business community.

Currently, six other individuals are seeking the Reform Party presidential nomination: Blake Ashby, who challenged President Bush in the 2004 Republican primaries; fitness model Andre Barnett, the only candidate remaining who participated in the January 2012 Wikinews Reform Party forum; Dow Chemical worker Edward Chlapowski; consultant Kenneth Cross; economic adviser Dick McCormick; and estimator Michael Edwin Whitley.

The Reform Party currently has ballot access in four states, but with the aim of achieving access in a dozen, Richardson will also compete for the nominations of ballot-qualified third parties with single-state access elsewhere.



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June 5, 2012

On the campaign trail, May 2012

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

On the campaign trail, May 2012

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The following is the seventh 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 leading candidates for the Americans Elect presidential nomination respond to a major announcement from that organization’s board of directors, two presidential candidates in favor of same-sex marriage react to President Barack Obama’s announcement of support for the practice, and Wikinews interviews the newly-selected Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee.

Summary

May began with the expected withdrawal of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who felt the continuation of his campaign to be fruitless. He endorsed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, whom the press had already designated as the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee. Shortly thereafter, former candidate Rick Santorum also threw his support to Romney. Another former Republican candidate, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, took a different path. He won the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party to continue his campaign into the general election. Congressman Ron Paul remained a candidate in the Republican race, but scaled back his campaign, announcing the suspension of active campaigning while still competing in state conventions to amass delegates.

Heavily circulated publicity photo of prison inmate Keith Russell Judd from March 15, 2008.
Image: Keith Russell Judd.

Romney swept the Republican primaries in West Virginia, North Carolina, and Indiana, but President Obama had some difficulty in the Democratic primaries in the first two states. 41 percent of Democrats in West Virginia favored prison inmate Keith Russell Judd over the president and 21 percent in North Carolina voted uncommitted over Obama. North Carolina voters also passed an amendment defining marriage as an institution between a man and woman despite vice president Joe Biden’s vocal support for same-sex marriage prior to the vote. Biden’s statement and the North Carolina result prompted Obama to make an announcement. During an ABC News interview with Robin Roberts, Obama explained that his views had “evolved” and that he now supports same-sex marriage. Romney countered, responding that “marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman.”

Obama’s primary difficulties continued later in May, as attorney John Wolfe, Jr. of Tennessee won 42 percent against him in the Arkansas primary, and as a similar margin of voters supported uncommitted over the president in Kentucky. Romney easily won the two states’ Republican contests, but later faced potential troubles of his own. The Washington Post published a lengthy article alleging that Romney bullied a student while in high school. Romney said he did not remember the episode and apologized for the “dumb things” he did in school. Subsequently, the alleged victim’s family disputed the story. Next, the Obama campaign attempted to make an issue of Romney’s venture capital activities as CEO of Bain Capital. Cory Booker, the Democratic Mayor of Newark, criticized this attempt, arguing on Meet the Press that advertisements against the firm left him “uncomfortable.” Booker later clarified that he supported and still intended to help re-elect Obama as president. In what Real Clear Politics described as an attempt to counter the attacks on Bain and highlight high unemployment as an issue, Romney predicted that if elected, unemployment would fall to six percent at the end of his first term. The Obama campaign and supporters said the announcement was nothing new since it simply mirrored the Congressional Budget Office‘s projections for 2016, regardless of who wins the election.

In late May, Romney won the endorsements of former President George W. Bush and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice’s immediate predecessor, General Colin Powell, who endorsed Obama in 2008, withheld an official endorsement, but like Obama, announced his support for same-sex marriage. In the final primary of the month, both Obama and Romney each handily won their respective party’s contest in Texas. As a result, Romney surpassed the required number of delegates to secure the Republican nomination and Obama faced his last contested primary on the Democratic side. However, the question of whether Obama’s nomination would be unanimous remained unanswered as lawsuits from Judd and Wolfe disputed the party’s decision to not award them delegates for which they qualified in the aforementioned West Virginia and Arkansas primaries.

Americans Elect makes major decision; leading candidates respond

Americans Elect, the non-profit organization that spent an estimated $35 million to attain ballot access in 29 states with hopes of nominating a bipartisan 2012 presidential ticket, decided in May to forego the 2012 presidential race. Via press release, the organization’s board announced that none of its candidates had met the minimum threshold, which required the accumulation of 10,000 pledged supporters for “experienced” candidates, and 50,000 supporters for other candidates, prior to the May 15 deadline. Though this decision drew criticism, the board claimed its actions were to maintain the integrity of the organization’s rules.

Americans Elect logo.
Image: Americans Elect.

As a result, candidates that actively sought the organization’s nomination including former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, activist Michealene Risley, and economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff were forced to reassess how to continue their campaigns.

Roemer, who led all candidates with 6,293 supporters, called the decision disappointing and commented that “Americans Elect’s procedure was ripe with difficulty related to access, validation and security.” Though he simultaneously sought the Reform Party’s nomination, Roemer ultimately decided that the party’s ballot access in four states was not enough, and suspended his campaign at the end of May.

Anderson, who finished second in supporters with 3,390, referred to the Americans Elect process as “discriminatory”, and announced his support for a movement within the organization, headed by delegate Andrew Evans, attempting to overturn the board’s decision. Meanwhile, Anderson removed all references to Americans Elect from the front page of his campaign website, and has focused his energies on the Justice Party, which he founded last year. It currently has ballot access in Mississippi and Utah. Anderson is also a candidate for the Peace and Freedom Party, which will appear on the California ballot.

Risley, who came in third with 2,351 supporters, argued that “people feel really used and manipulated” by Americans Elect. In a letter to the board, she wrote that the organization “will be stigmatized as the latest example of third party failure”, “Instead of being the prototype for high tech democracy”. Like Anderson, she supports the actions of Evans, and has even opened a petition for it on change.org. Since Risley is not competing for another party’s presidential nomination, this is now the crux of her campaign.

Kotlikoff, who finished fourth with 2,027 supporters, told Wikinews that he felt the Americans Elect board was more interested in attracting “big names” than focusing on the issues. He cited this as “the most disappointing aspect” of the decision, adding that “big names don’t necessarily equate to big ideas or good ideas for moving the country ahead. And all big names start small.” Like Roemer, Kotlikoff had decided to also seek the Reform Party nomination, and following the decision, choose to end his Reform Party bid and his presidential campaign as a whole. He opted instead to promote his “Purple Plan”, which combines elements of Republican and Democratic solutions to resolve political issues.


Two candidates react to President Obama’s same-sex marriage backing

After President Obama announced his personal support of same-sex marriage while maintaining it should be decided on a state-by-state basis, two candidates already supporting marriage equality reacted in two very different ways.

Republican Fred Karger, the first openly gay person to seek a major political party’s presidential nomination, sent an e-mail to supporters praising Obama for the announcement, saying that “he will be a great advocate as we do battle [against marriage definition propositions] in four states this November.” He added, “It’s nice to have another presidential candidate on board for full equality.”

Gary Johnson in December 2011.
Image: Gary Johnson.

Fred Karger in August 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party presidential nominee, had an opposite interpretation of Obama’s announcement. He commented, “while I commend [Obama] for supporting the concept of gay marriage equality, I am profoundly disappointed in the President.” “Instead of insisting on equality as a U.S. Constitutional guarantee, the President has thrown this question back to the states.” Johnson speculated that Obama cared more about not alienating voters in the swing states of Ohio, Colorado, North Carolina, and Virginia, than supporting change on a federal level.

When approached with this view, Karger argued, “sure, [I] would rather [Obama] came out for a federal marriage solution…[but]” “just his coming out for marriage equality is the key.” Karger maintained that the issue would ultimately be decided in the courts rather than in Congress.

Karger is currently campaigning as an alternative to Mitt Romney in California ahead of that state’s June 5 GOP primary, while Johnson, whom Karger has described as a friend, is hoping to achieve ballot access in all 50 states to challenge President Obama and the Republican nominee in the general election.

The Libertarian Party’s newly-christened VP nominee discusses his role

After the Libertarian Party nominated former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson for president at May’s Libertarian National Convention, upon Johnson’s request, the party selected Judge Jim Gray of California for Vice President to complete the ticket.

Gray has worked as a judge since 1983 when Governor George Deukmejian appointed him to the Santa Ana Municipal Court in Orange County, California. Six years later he was appointed to the Superior Court of Orange County. His work in court earned him two “Judge of the Year” awards: first in 1992 from the Business Litigation Section of the Orange County Bar Association, and then in 1995 from the Orange County Constitutional Rights Foundation.

Judge Jim Gray.
Image: Jim Gray.

In addition to his work as a jurist, Gray has been involved in Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and has advocated against the federal government’s prosecution of the War on Drugs. Moreover, Gray’s vice presidential campaign is not his first experience in politics. He ran for U.S. Congress as a Republican in 1998, and was the Libertarian Party’s 2004 nominee for U.S. Senate in California.

Johnson described him as “not only a highly-respected jurist, but he is also a proven leader on issues of concern to Americans – from drug policy to civil liberties to ethics. I am proud he is joining me to offer America a real choice in this election, and excited that his forceful and extremely credible voice will be a vital part of our campaign. Judge Gray is a reformer with the track record and credentials to prove it”.

Gray reserved some time to speak with Wikinews about his role as the Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee, what he adds to the Johnson ticket, and what Johnson-Gray can do to better than the 0.4 percent former Congressman Bob Barr and businessman Wayne Allyn Root won as the 2008 representatives of the Libertarian Party.

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

Judge Gray: As the Vice Presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party, I am a team member under the leadership of our Presidential nominee, Governor Gary Johnson, as we campaign to restore Prosperity, Equal Opportunity and Liberty to the United States of America.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow do you complement Gary Johnson on the ticket?

Judge Gray: It is amazing. In 2010 I wrote a book entitled A Voter’s Handbook: Effective Solutions to America’s Problems (The Forum Press, 2010), which I never considered using in a political campaign. However, in looking at my documented views of our problems and solutions, they are almost completely consistent with those of Governor Johnson. But my background as a federal prosecutor, Navy JAG attorney, trial court judge and former Peace Corps Volunteer is quite different from Governor Johnson’s. Therefore I bring a balance and perspective to the ticket that no other vice presidential candidate will likely have.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow do you plan to achieve more electoral success than the 2008 Barr-Root campaign?

Judge Gray: Candidly, our strategy is to be polling at 15 percent or above at the end of this coming September. This will qualify us to be in the national presidential and vice presidential debates. If that occurs, all of the common wisdom will change. And during the convention … in Nevada Governor Johnson was polling at 7 percent. Now he is polling at 8 percent. I deeply believe that when the American people see and understand what Governor Johnson and I not only stand for, but what he has actually done while a sitting two-term governor for eight years, they will rally in droves to our campaign, because they will see the truth that the Republican and the Democratic candidates are almost parallel in the important issues which have led us into financial ruin and despair, and Governor Johnson stands out in front for positive change.



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June 1, 2012

Buddy Roemer suspends U.S. presidential campaign

Buddy Roemer suspends U.S. presidential campaign

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer suspended his 2012 presidential campaign Thursday morning in an e-mail sent to supporters. He cited the lack of ballot access after Americans Elect decided to not field a 2012 presidential candidate.

Roemer opened his presidential campaign in July 2011 as a Republican, focusing on campaign finance reform and fair trade. He limited campaign contributions to $100 and rejected Political Action Committee (PAC) money, arguing “I have deliberately chosen a path requiring the help of many because that’s the way to win and, more importantly, that’s the way to get these mighty things done after the election.”

Roemer in June 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

He failed to make much of an impact on Republican preference polls, and was excluded from all GOP debates. Though he continued his GOP campaign, in November, he decided to seek the nomination of Americans Elect, a non-profit organization attempting to field a ticket that would be “responsive to the vast majority of citizens while remaining independent of special interests and the partisan interests of either major political party.”

Roemer finally ended his Republican bid in February and announced a switch to the Reform Party, while continuing his quest for the Americans Elect nomination. He led the organization by the number of supporters, but, like all other candidates, failed to meet the party’s threshold for support. As a result, the party decided earlier this month to not nominate a 2012 ticket.

After the decision, Roemer expressed his displeasure to Uncovered Politics, and said he would “take a couple of days to reassess the campaign” on whether to continue seeking the presidential nomination of the Reform Party. He ultimately decided to end the campaign due to insufficient ballot access. Though Americans Elect was hoping to achieve ballot access in all 50 states, the Reform Party currently has access in only four states.

In the e-mail, Roemer thanked campaign staff, supporters, and his family. He criticized the system of “special interests” in Washington, and called for the creation of a “team of reformers” to “re-energize our republic.” To conclude, he advised supporters, “Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Together, we will continue to reform our country and make America great once again. We are just getting started.”



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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

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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.

Summary

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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February 23, 2012

Buddy Roemer ends Republican presidential bid to seek Reform Party nomination

Buddy Roemer ends Republican presidential bid to seek Reform Party nomination

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Roemer speaks to the Reform Party of New Jersey in December 2011.
Image: Greenguy89.

Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer ended his campaign for the Republican Party (GOP) presidential nomination yesterday to seek the backing of the Reform Party of the United States of America. He plans to make the official announcement at a press conference later today, and also reaffirms his quest for the Americans Elect nod.

Roemer, who limits campaign contributions to $100.00 and does not accept money from Political Action Committees, has made campaign finance reform a centerpiece of his run. He announced his candidacy last July, but was unable to make headway in presidential polls. As a result, he was not invited to any GOP debates.

Last December, Roemer announced that he would seek the nomination of Americans Elect, an independent organization hoping to field a nonpartisan presidential ticket. Later that month, he addressed the Reform Party of New Jersey, fueling speculation that he would seek the party’s nomination. However, after the meeting, campaign manager Carlos Sierra told Wikinews that Roemer “does not intend to seek their nomination”. He now says that Roemer changed his mind after “[n]ot getting into any of the GOP debates.”

Industrialist Ross Perot founded the Reform Party in 1995. As the party’s first presidential nominee in 1996, he received over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third party candidate since. After this, the party was plagued by infighting, and decreased in prominence. In 2008, Ted Weill was nominated for president, but appeared on the ballot in only Mississippi, receiving 481 votes. Since then, the party has revived somewhat, and has already attained ballot access in four states.

Wikinews held a forum in January for the candidates seeking the party’s presidential nomination. All three then-candidates participated, including former college football coach Robby Wells, Earth Intelligence Network CEO Robert David Steele, and small business owner Andre Barnett.

Since then, Steele ended his campaign, and Wells dropped out to seek the Constitution Party nomination. For now, Roemer will face Barnett, as well as economist Dick McCormick, who recently announced his candidacy.

Roemer plans to make his announcement today in Santa Monica, California. His campaign manager looks forward to the next stage, explaining, “we believe we can form a powerful coalition of Americans who are tired of the status quo.”



Related articles

  • “Former Congressman Virgil Goode enters race for Constitution Party presidential nomination” — Wikinews, February 18, 2012
  • Wikinews holds Reform Party USA presidential candidates forum” — Wikinews, January 3, 2012
  • “On the campaign trail, December 2011” — Wikinews, January 1, 2012
  • “Campaign manager: 100 percent chance Buddy Roemer will run for Americans Elect presidential nomination” — Wikinews, December 1, 2011
  • “Wikinews interviews Buddy Roemer, U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate” — Wikinews, October 30, 2011
  • “Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer announces run for president” — Wikinews, July 22, 2011

Sources

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

January 3, 2012

Wikinews holds Reform Party USA presidential candidates forum

Wikinews holds Reform Party USA presidential candidates forum

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Logo for the Reform Party of the United States of America.
Image: Reform Party National Committee.

Three men are currently seeking the presidential nomination of the Reform Party of the United States of America: small business owner Andre Barnett, Earth Intelligence Network CEO Robert Steele, and former college football coach Robby Wells. Wikinews reached out to these candidates and asked each of them five questions about their campaigns. There were no space limits placed on the responses, and no candidate was exposed to another’s responses before making their own. The answers are posted below in unedited form for comparison of the candidates.

The Reform Party is a United States third party that was founded in 1995 by industrialist Ross Perot. Perot ran as the party’s first presidential nominee in 1996, and won over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third party candidate since. In 1998, professional wrestler Jesse Ventura ran on the Reform Party ticket and was elected Governor of Minnesota. The party fell in prominence during the lead-up to the 2000 presidential election when it was plagued by infighting between ideological factions. In 2000, paleoconservative Pat Buchanan won the presidential nomination, and went on to receive only 0.4 percent of the popular vote in the general election. In 2004, the party opted to endorse consumer advocate Ralph Nader, but ended the year nearly bankrupt. In 2008, Ted Weill won the party’s presidential nomination, but appeared on the ballot in only one state and won a total of 481 votes.

The party is currently trying to rebuild and has opened several new state chapters. They will attempt to appear on the ballot in more states for the 2012 presidential election. The party is expected to nominate its presidential ticket during the National Convention this summer.

The candidates

Candidates for the Reform Party USA presidential nomination
Image: Andre Barnett. Andre Barnett of Poughkeepsie, New York served in the U.S. Army until he was injured in a helicopter incident in 2000. Since that time, he has worked as a fitness model, has assisted several federal agencies and corporations in information technology services, and founded the company WiseDome, Inc. He considers himself a conservative.
Image: Reform Party National Committee. Robert Steele of Oakton, Virginia is CEO of the non-profit Earth Intelligence Network, which promotes “public intelligence in the public interest”. He previously served as a Marine Corps infantry officer, national intelligence officer, and in Marine Corps intelligence. For his presidential campaign, he focuses on his plans for electoral reform, the creation of a coalition cabinet, and the creation of an open forum for participatory democracy.
Image: Robby Wells. Robby Wells of Charlotte, North Carolina is the former head football coach for Savannah State University and former assistant coach for Benedict College, South Carolina State University, and the University of South Carolina. He joined the Army National Guard in 2006, and has worked as a motivational speaker. He bases his campaign on a platform called the “gameplan”.

Forum

Question 1

Wikinews waves Left.pngWIKINEWSWikinews waves Right.png Why did you decide to run for president?

Andre Barnett: Though it may seem a bit selfish, my decision was more of a conviction of heart, mind and spirit after seeing what my own family and friends were enduring during this economic downturn. As I began speaking with my fellow veterans and hearing about the lost jobs, homes, and families many issues came into focus. The time I spent living overseas in different countries allowed me to studying their economies, governments, military capabilities, and learn what other countries really think about the US.
We can no longer accept the notion we are on a path of no return. Our government has an obligation to the people of this nation to address the needs and concerns they are facing.
Robert Steele: Multiple reasons. The economy killed my business, so I’ve been working on Electoral Reform. The Occupy movement raised my hopes that America was ready to wake up. I had also been sickened by the Republican clown show. The time seemed right for something better. While there are politicians I admire, none of them were offering the public a coherent, complete approach to restoring the Republic and the integrity of our government. That’s what I’m looking for, and that’s why I decided to run. Some will say I am a long shot but I actually believe that We the People can come together and win this in unconventional ways, and of course I believe very strongly that someone has to say what needs to be said: we live in a two-party tyranny, all three branches of the government have been captured by banks and corporations–hence the US Government no longer represents We the People. And – this is the big one – we have ONE SHOT, between now and 4 July 2012, to force the issue of Electoral Reform and take our government back.
Robby Wells: There are several reasons why I chose to run for President. I chose to run after observing the path our elected officials have been taking. It is obvious that the policies of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are not effective anymore. The 14 million that are unemployed, the 25 million that are underemployed, the 49 million that live in poverty, and the 149 million that are considered low income is proof that our two party system has failed. It is time for America to have strong leadership from someone that has the best interest of the citizens of this country. It is time for our country to move in a different direction. It is time for our country to make a “Real Change”. I believe that I am that candidate because I understand the pressures that 99% of our citizens face. Most of the top candidates for the GOP and President Obama are wealthy, and are out of touch with the vast majority of this country. I am just like most Americans. I consider myself middle class, have been unemployed, have been underemployed, and woke up every morning concerned about how I was going to provide for my family. Just like millions of Americans, I felt like the American Dream had been replaced with an Economic Nightmare. Someone had to take a stand. I love my country, and I know that my plan, “The Gameplan,” will bring our country back to economic greatness. You can view “The Gameplan” on my campaign web site : www.electrobbywells.com.

Question 2

Wikinews waves Left.pngWIKINEWSWikinews waves Right.png Why did you choose the Reform Party?

Andre Barnett: The Reform Party the party of solutions. This party is ready to propose to America a more excellent debate on the issues, a united and all-encompassing solution to address the issues of this great nation.
Robert Steele: Of the three excluded parties that are credible in America–Libertarian, Green, and Reform–only the Reform Party leadership was interested in a “complete” approach to reform. The others focus on important issues but don’t go far enough — Libertarians focus on civil liberties and the Constitution, and really do not think in strategic holistic terms; Greens have a lot of promise, and I am watching Jill Stein with interest, but they don’t have a coherent approach to governance either. The Reform Party is aptly named by its founder, Ross Perot, and after overcoming years of internal legal battles is now ready to come out and represent ALL of us, or as they put it, everyone between the two extremes. The USA needs the Reform Party now.
Robby Wells: I chose the Reform Party for several reasons. In 1992, Ross Perot ran for President, and he recieved almost 20% of the vote as an Independent Candidate. In 1996, Mr. Perot had formed the Reform Party, and he once again ran on that ticket. I supported Ross Perot, and I believe that he was about 15 years ahead of his time. I truly believe that America is sick and tired of being sick and tired of our elected Republicans and Democrats actions in Washington. We have too many politicians that go to Washington trying to keep their job in lieu of doing their job. The Reform Party believes in balancing the Federal Budget, spending only what we have, creating jobs in America for Americans, government reform (term limits), and tax reform. Their philosophies are in line with my philosophies, and it seemed like a great fit when the leadership of the Reform Party contacted me and asked me to be a part of their party.

Question 3

Wikinews waves Left.pngWIKINEWSWikinews waves Right.png Why would you be a better candidate than your two opponents for the nomination?

Andre Barnett: I do not intend to engage in “1 upper” politics. I am about the movement this party is moving towards. I am interested in redirecting this conversation towards the solutions we have to offer and working with the other candidates to show a stability this country is longing for.
Robert Steele: The other two candidates for the Reform Party nomination are good-hearted individuals who share my commitment to reform. I have the experience to back it up. I have a deep understanding of how government corruption works and what can be done about it; an understanding of why Occupy matters and how to work with them; and I know how to address patterns of failure, how to recover the substance of governance, how respond to legitimate grievances, and how to begin to roll back much more that is hurting this country. This is all discussed in my book, ELECTION 2008: Lipstick on the Pig (Earth Intelligence Network, 2008), on sale at Amazon and also free online.
I have a fully articulated strategy that we need now: Electoral Reform, a Coalition Cabinet and a Balanced Budget announced by 4 July 2011, and a commitment to True Cost Economics–this is an approach that seeks to create a We the People Reform Coalition that is attractive to moderates from both parties, to Independents, and to all the parties excluded from US politics today, Libertarians and Greens included. I am running less as a Reform Party candidate and more as a team-building candidate. I have already named my preferred Cabinet members—subject of course to changes as the coalition evolves—and I am well on my way to crowd-sourcing a balanced budget that connects the true needs and priorities of the public with their money – the two-party tyranny has been using the public’s money to enrich themselves and their cronies across America (not just Wall Street); the two-party tyranny is out of touch with ethics, the public, and reality. I have the capacity to engage Independents and all others with a new direction not offered elsewhere – not from any party including the Democratic Party.
Robby Wells: Coaching is a complex job involving strategic thinking, leadership ability, obtaining and keeping respect, and judging the abilities of the people you have at your disposal. My career in coaching has well prepared me for a leadership position in government. A good coach knows that his players have skills he doesn’t have, but he understands what abilities they DO have. He uses good judgement in choosing the right people for the task at hand, and knows how to use them effectively. He knows when to let them do their job while he watches, and when to step in and take a hands-on approach.
As president, I will bring the same mentality to the White House. I will look across the political spectrum and choose the best partisan and nonpartisan people; people with knowledge, expertise, and credibility who have already earned your trust, for all cabinet positions. And I will use my long years of leadership to know when to let them do their job, and when to step in and take a more direct role to get the most out of that team for the American people. Because we all deserve a White House that can go up against America’s problems and WIN – not fumble at 4th and ten.

Question 4

Wikinews waves Left.pngWIKINEWSWikinews waves Right.png If nominated, what will you do to gain ballot access?

Andre Barnett: I will be working to unify this party during the course of this campaign. With unification we will better be able to utilize the ground game for petitioning. I also believe I will be able to acquire other ballot access lines.
Robert Steele: BEFORE anyone is elected, I am working hard to present every single politician up for reelection with an Electoral Reform Pledge. I am the one who presented the original Statement of Demand and Electoral Reform Act to Occupy in NYC. It has since been crowd-sourced and attracted a range of very serious proponents from across the country. Tomorrow there is an Inter-Occupy telephone conference call to discuss Occupy’s morphing toward political activism. Our goal is simple: to get an Occupy political liaison in each of the 50 states, and to then recruit citizen delegations in each of the Congressional districts. BEFORE Congress returns to Washington in January, I want a simple table showing where every one of the Representatives and Senators stands on Electoral Reform: red, yellow, or green. The rest is up to the public.
Ideally, Congress would be forced to pass the Electoral Reform Act in January 2012, in time for the first half of the provisions to apply to November 2012. I think Americans Elect–a good idea corrupted in its implementation–will be litigated into oblivion by the two-party tyranny. We have to force Congress to be honest. The documents can be seen online.
AT A MINIMUM and in time for November 2012 I want Congress to mandate that all states be required to put the presidential candidates on the state ballot for each and every party that has achieved national party status. In addition, Electoral College votes should be apportioned across the party spectrum, not in a winner takes all manner, but that’s going to be harder. Both of these corrections are Constitutional and within the power of Congress to enact.
The corruption of the electoral process at both the state and federal levels has made a mockery of our Founding Fathers, the concept of a Republic, and all because our elected politicians and their appointees are completely lacking in integrity. They have sold out their public for a bit of gold. If I am nominated, I will work with Occupy and others (veterans, young people who should have the vote) to SHUT DOWN any Presidential debate that does not have me and other third party candidates fully integrated into anything televised over public air waves. Litigation has not worked in the past because the courts–including the Supreme Court—just go along… What will work is Occupy. Organized people will defeat organized money every time. Now is that time.
Robby Wells: I have friends and business colleagues all over the country. I am relying on them, and volunteers to help us gain access on the ballaots in each state. Every state has different guidelines, and I am relying on the people of our country to take a stand for our future by helping us get on every state’s ballot. We will be holding a petition drive to make this a reality. The Reform Party is already on the ballot in five states, and has easy access in another 25 states. That leaves us some hard work to gain access on all 50 states, but I believe the people of America are ready to be heard.

Question 5

Wikinews waves Left.pngWIKINEWSWikinews waves Right.png What are some of your policy proposals, and how will you implement them as President?

Andre Barnett: My policy is based around all-encompassing solutions. It is impossible for us to pick out one portion of the larger overshadowing issue and try to fix just that part. The economy is connected to healthcare which is connected to entitlements, which is connected to jobs, which is connected to education, etc… I will provide you with an excerpt of what is on my site.
Enhancing Health Care
Healthcare in the US is so overpriced in comparison to other modern developed nations. Our healthcare system, though we claim it to be the best in the world, is out reach for too many that will never experience its benefits. Insurance companies have been able to drive up cost as well as double dipping billers (doctors and doctor’s groups) have taken advantage of the general public. With this in mind many who cannot afford healthcare have no choice but to take advantage of whatever treatment they can get and the bill is passed to the rest of the tax payers.
The medical industry justifies the cost by flashing new technology costs and pharmaceutical development cost. Truth be told, that cost is recouped many times over as physicians receive kickbacks from prescribing various drugs in their infancy stages that have not been fully tested. I am aware of this from firsthand experience. Here is what I support:
  • Healthcare insurance premiums need to be regulated and driven down to affordable levels. This need not be the battle of the federal government as it is one of the major factors in the exploding cost. Intra-business sector checks and balances is one of the best ways to manage any flocculation in cost. Allowing business to bear the burden of the premium cost (not pass it onto the employee) would allow for much lower premiums and also elimination of the government’s role in these negotiation processes. This in turn would allow for the only foreseeable tax deduction for corporations lowering the tax rate to below the 12% threshold.
This is capitalism in its truest form and the only way to dramatically reduce the size of government. This also permits all family members to be covered and fewer uninsured greatly increasing the pool size driving down cost. To allow small businesses to take part in these savings, they would be placed in the same pools with larger companies to drive down cost even further. What better way to negotiate lower premiums than to have business sectors performing the negotiations of prices they are willing to pay.
  • Healthcare funded by the government should be subject to the same rules as the GSA, in that the lowest price offered to any customer must be the price made available to the government for provisioning to those not working (for a finite period of time). This would be in the cases where an employee has been laid off and cannot afford healthcare insurance on their own and would last for the duration of unemployment.
Though this is only a portion of the plan, I am sure you can see where I am going. Reducing the government’s role in this entire process and letting the economy perform as it was meant to, that is what I support. This process should be adapted to all sectors to eliminate the government’s role as a micromanaging resource hog. http://bit.ly/t2th4j
Robert Steele: I am the only candidate–including the incumbent—who has a concept of operations for modern governance. I have presented much of this in my chapters in ELECTION 2008: Lipstick on the Pig, and point to The Substance of Governance as well as Candidates on the Issues, where my populist and centrist views are clearly outlined in the summary section for each issue area. However, for the purposes of your excellent question, I will summarize my policy proposals at four levels.
At the highest strategic level, America must restore integrity to its electoral process, its government, and its commercial community. This integrity demands that we apply True Cost Economics–calculating the cost of all externalities and of now devalued precious elements such as drinkable water–in every transaction. A Balanced Budget is what sane responsible people do–for the two-party tyranny and its banking and media partners to have sanctioned by omission the FACT that we have been borrowing a third of our federal budget each year for over thirty years shames me for my prolonged ignorance, and angers me as a responsible citizen. That stops immediately. Governance with integrity is not possible under a winner take all “do as I say” system. A Coalition Cabinet that can achieve responsible informed consensus is essential. I have already selected my Cabinet, and I believe you will find the specifics very revealing about both my competence and my ethics. The Federal Reserve will be turned over to someone like Ron Paul, and as soon as he has done what needs to be done, he will be my nominee for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court–I anticipate at least four justices finding compelling reasons to resign from the court in my first two years in office. For one third of what we spend on war we can achieve a prosperous world at peace–I am fed up with the corruption in the military, prison, health, and energy complexes. Our coalition administration will be one that makes decisions based on public intelligence in the public interest.
At the operational level, we need to eliminate substantial portions of the existing government including the Department of Homeland Security, the Internal Revenue Agency, half or more of the Departments of Education, Health & Human Services, and etcetera. All of it needs to be scrubbed. The US Government is not a “government,” but rather a series of Cabinet Departments and agency stove-pipes that exist to protect “budget share” for their stakeholders–their stakeholders are NOT the public as one might expect, but rather those that receive public funds via a Congress that discounts the Treasury by 95%, earmarking treasure for things we do not need and cannot afford, solely to “earn” their 5% “cut” (bribe). I have written extensively on how to restructure the government and reallocate our precious funds. I would start by appointing two Deputies. The first–and Michael Bloomberg gets this job if he wants it–will be Deputy for Education, Intelligence, and Research, responsible for stripping two thirds of the money from the ineffective corrupt secret intelligence world, and applying that toward holistic integrative education and research such that we become a Smart Nation, a concept I developed in 1994. The second will be Deputy for Global Engagement, with oversight of commerce, diplomacy, and the military. Two thirds of the military budget will be stripped down and away from corporate vapor-ware, with half being pure savings that lower the debt, and the other half funding what we need to be credible and competitive world-wide. Our infantry, 4% of the force, takes 80% of the casualties and receives 1% of the Pentagon budget. I will redirect 20% of the surviving military budget to the infantry, sponsor a 450-ship Navy that is truly expeditionary, closes down all of our overseas bases without exception, create a long-haul Air Force, and end our dependence on very vulnerable and costly satellites for all communications. If should mention that in ending personal and business taxes—in fact most taxes—we will be substituting the Automatic Payment Transaction (APT) Tax, that yields a much higher revenue stream across a broader base, while drastically reducing the contributions of individuals and small businesses.
At the tactical level–the grassroots level where America is nearly comatose, I want to work with the Governors, whom I will elevate to be co-equal to the Senate as an advisory chamber–there is a great deal to be done. 46 million Americans are on food stamps today, we have destroyed not just the middle class but also the once proud and vital senior blue collar class, and we have lost an entire generation if not too to an educational system that is mediocre at best, pathologically inept at worst. I have been developing a plan with a former Deputy Secretary of Labor to fund a full year of employment and training for every unemployed American, using a mix of academic, private sector, and military induction centers to get every citizen off the streets, on a payroll, and learning what they need to know to make their own way in the 21st Century. We need to kill most of the regulations that prevent state-based businesses from flourishing–butchers, for example–we need to push back hard on absentee and mega farming, and we need to work very very hard toward resilience across every state. Larger cities need to be broken up into smaller cities, suburbs need to be restored to farming, I could go on–we need to redesign our Republic for people–for the good of the many–rather than what we have now, a pig farm that profits only a few.
Technically I am very enthusiastic about Open Everything. I have a book coming out from Random House / Evolver Editions, the same group that published Charles Eisenstein’s Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition. My title is THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth, & Trust. The book will come out in June 2012, and it is a manifesto for all of us–it is a book that along with others marks the beginning of Epoch B, the restoration of bottom-up multi-cultural consensus, of decisions made by people of good will acting on all available information and thinking long-term. I will turn the US Government into the world’s first open source software, open source hardware, and open spectrum engine of prosperity, migrating all of this out to the other intelligence tribes (academia, commerce, local and state government, law enforcement, media, military, and non-government / non-profit). My primary instrument for doing this will be the Open Source Agency that I have advocated since the early 1990’s. We will create the World Brain Institute and the Global Game–I have Medard Gabel, co-creator of the analog World Game with Buckminster Fuller ready to go–and we will harness the distributed intelligence of every human mind in every language all of the time. This will eradicate corruption and be the technical foundation for creating a prosperous world at peace.
I know how to do all of this. What I do not know how to do is raise money. All I can do at this point in time is show myself to be engaged, and hope that kindred spirits find me.
I will do what I can. The rest is in the hands of the public.
Learn more at http://tinyurl.com/Reform-Steele-2012
Robby Wells: Please go to my campaign web site: www.electrobbywells.com and click on “The Gameplan”. This is my step by step, common sense approach to bringing the United States of America back to economic greatness. I cover job creation / Getting Americans Back to Work, becoming and Energy Independent Nation, Foreclosure Credit Forgiveness, Securing our border with Mexico, National Defense, Tax Reform, and Government Reform. These are the main issues that concern most Americans, and my plan is very effective, and moves our country in a positive direction.



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January 1, 2012

On the campaign trail, December 2011

On the campaign trail, December 2011 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, December 2011

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

The following is the second 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 campaign manager for a candidate already seeking two presidential nominations discusses the likelihood his candidate will run for the Reform Party’s nomination; a lesser known candidates forum reveals an alternative fuel possibility and concludes in a dramatic fashion; and the newly nominated candidate for the Boston Tea Party talks with Wikinews.

Summary

Ron Paul speaks at an Iowa campaign event, December 28.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

In December 2011, businessman Herman Cain ended his campaign for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination amid allegations of sexual harassment and an extramarital affair. Hoping to appeal to social conservatives, Texas governor Rick Perry released a commercial in Iowa entitled “Strong”, in which he states, “there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.” While the video received 24,407 likes by the end of the month, it received 725,698 dislikes.

Frontrunner Newt Gingrich had trouble of his own after he suggested during an interview with The Jewish Channel that Palestinians were an “invented people”. He refused to retract the comments at the final GOP debate before the January 3 Iowa Caucus. Gingrich’s lead in the polls disappeared as Mitt Romney won big endorsements from South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, former Senator Bob Dole, and former president George H.W. Bush.

Meanwhile, Congressman Ron Paul rose in the polls as well, trailing Romney by two points in the final NBC/Marist poll of the year with Rick Santorum surging and Rick Perry close behind. However, Paul encountered his own troubles as the media reported on articles published in his newsletters from the 1980s and 1990s that included incendiary comments about blacks, gays, and Israel. Paul says he did not write the articles and has publicly disavowed them in the past. Additionally, Paul won the backing of Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson, who previously served as the state chairman for Michele Bachmann, who continued to sag in the polls since winning the Ames Straw Poll in August.

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, another candidate who had been low in the Republican polls, announced a switch to the Libertarian Party to run for that party’s presidential nomination. Analysts have suggested that if Johnson wins the Libertarian nomination, he could possibly take votes away from the Republican nominee and help President Barack Obama win re-election.

Possible Reform Party candidate?

Roemer speaks to the Reform Party of New Jersey on December 10.
Image: Greenguy89.

Presidential candidate Buddy Roemer addressed members of the Reform Party of New Jersey on December 10 at a joint Reform Party-Tea Party event. The meeting raised speculation that Roemer, who is currently running for the presidential nominations of both the Republican Party and Americans Elect, would also seek the nomination of the Reform Party of the United States of America.

Dennis Mikolay, a member of the New Jersey party’s leadership, wrote on his blog that “there are efforts within the Reform Party to draft him [Roemer] as their candidate”. However, Roemer, who served as Governor of Louisiana as a Republican, does not seem interested in the nomination. According to campaign manager Carlos Sierra, the Reform Party has “reached out to us…but the Governor does not intend to seek their nomination. He is focused primarily on the GOP nomination. We think once his message gets a stage and an audience, that it will resonate with the Republican Party and Independents. The problem is he keeps getting shut out of the debates.”

Industrialist Ross Perot founded the Reform Party in 1995. He won the party’s presidential nomination the next year and received over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third party candidate since. After this, the party was plagued by infighting, and decreased in prominence. In 2008, Ted Weill was nominated for president, but appeared only on the ballot in Mississippi and received 481 votes.

For 2012, three candidates have announced their intentions to seek the party’s nomination: former college football coach Robby Wells, Earth Intelligence Network CEO Robert David Steele, and small business owner Andre Barnett.

Lesser-known candidates forum

On December 19, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics hosted a forum at St. Anselm College to present lesser-known candidates for the Republican and Democratic Party presidential nominations. Wikinews covered the Democratic Party forum that showcased candidates challenging President Barack Obama for that party’s presidential nomination, including anti-abortion activist Randall Terry and performance artist Vermin Supreme.

Vermin Supreme glitter bombs Randall Terry during the Democratic Party presidential candidates forum as John Wolfe looks on.
Image: Marc Nozell.

A high point of the forum occurred after Vermin Supreme delivered his final statement. He exclaimed, “Jesus told me to make Randall Terry gay” and proceeded to glitter bomb Terry while shouting, “he’s turning gay.” Terry had earlier affirmed his opposition to same-sex marriage, comparing it to slavery and abortion. Supreme later told Wikinews that Terry “took his glittering like a man, a gay man. I don’t know if the fairy dust turned him gay right away, but he took his medicine, and he seemed to enjoy it on some level.” Though Terry could not be reached for comment, he wrote on his blog that the glitter bombing “appeared to have no impact on me becoming homosexual.” Supreme claims he was threatened by a Terry supporter after the forum and is now “seeking Secret Service protection.” He has no plans to glitter bomb anyone else.

Supreme says that he had previously met Terry at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and “was given the distinct impression that he (Terry) wanted to perform fellatio on me.” He says that prior to the forum, he offered “to have ‘homosexual gay sex’ in the lavatory stall”, but Terry declined. During the forum, Supreme said that he planned to write-in Terry, but said afterwards that his support “depends how gay he [Terry] gets.”

Dr. Bob Greene, a physicist who also participated in the forum, commented that the glitter bombing “was inappropriate for the circumstances.” During the forum, Greene differentiated himself from his opponents by discussing the use of thorium as an alternative fuel, saying “we have enough thorium for all of our energy needs for well over a thousand years.” He elaborated further after the forum, explaining that thorium could be used by bombarding it with neutrons, after which it fissions. “The fuel”, he explained, “is a molten salt, really Thorium Fluoride with a couple of stable-izers.” Greene says that it is safer and produces less waste than conventional methods, but “the military favored the uranium cycle because you could get lots of plutonium out of it, which they wanted for bombs. Thorium – not so.”

Others that participated in the Democratic forum include writer Ed Cowan, lawyer John Haywood, activist Edward O’Donnell Jr., and lawyer John Wolfe.


Boston Tea Party presidential nomination

On December 23, the Boston Tea Party (BTP) nominated Howard Community College trustee Tiffany Briscoe of Maryland as its second presidential nominee. The BTP was formed in 2006 and “supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.” In 2008, the party nominated boxing manager Charles Jay, who appeared on three state ballots and won a total of 2,422 votes.

Briscoe’s platform calls for the legalization of drugs, a repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act, and an end to subsidies and foreign aid. Former radio host Kimberly Johnson was selected as her running mate.

Briscoe took some time to speak with Wikinews about her campaign and the BTP.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow do you plan to gain ballot access for the BTP?

Briscoe: The BTP is a fairly new political party. Yet, it has great potential. Its message of individual freedom and free markets resonates with a great majority of the American people that do not seem to be content with the current Establishment. We need to campaign massively, which we are already doing, to collect enough petition signatures and get on as many ballots as possible. I will myself contribute financially to help get the party on the ballot in such states as Colorado and Louisiana. At the end of the day, we will probably be able to appear on 14 to 15 states throughout the country, and stay as a write-in candidate in virtually all the others.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngIdeologically, how are you different from Ron Paul or Gary Johnson?

Briscoe: Ron Paul and Gary Johnson are two great men that have helped the cause of liberty by working from the inside of the government. But they do not reflect the true nature of libertarianism. Paul has become a typical politician, taking pork barrel to his district to get reelected, wants to restrict immigration, and wants to plague the economy with an entire new series of tax credits and corporate loopholes for energy and health care reform. Gary Johnson, while he did veto more laws than any other governor in the 1990s, also encounters the same problem: he wants to keep Guantanamo Bay open with the so-called “enemy combatant” inside, he opposes the end of the Federal Reserve that is creating so much troubles with our economy, and even wants to establish a FairTax that would increase consumer prices in a way that will slow economic development. So while I do consider myself as an ideological ally of these two men, I don’t believe they’re doing the best they can when it comes to promoting the philosophy of freedom.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat do you hope to accomplish with this campaign, and what would constitute a success?

Briscoe: Of course, I am not running just to get my name or the party’s name out there, even though the latter is also a goal. I am running to show that there are actually some people outside of Washington that still care about the future of our country, to show that all these independent-minded folks are not alone in their daily fight against the federal government. But with 60% of the people wishing to see a third party play a more important role and with an even greater portion saying they would consider voting for a third party in 2012, we might have more chances to reach success than we may think. Of course, the ultimate success would be paving the way to the White House but at this point, I believe only taking away votes from the true “spoilers” that the Establishment represents in a way that would change the ultimate course of the election would already make us proud.



Related articles

  • “U.S. presidential candidate Gary Johnson leaves GOP to vie for the LP nom” — Wikinews, December 29, 2011
  • “South Carolina governor Nikki Haley endorses Mitt Romney for U.S. president” — Wikinews, December 17, 2011
  • “Republican hopeful Gingrich fuels controversy over Palestinian ‘invented people’ remarks” — Wikinews, December 11, 2011
  • Campaign manager: 100 percent chance Buddy Roemer will run for Americans Elect presidential nomination” — Wikinews, December 1, 2011
  • “U.S. Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann narrowly edges Ron Paul in Ames Straw Poll‎” — Wikinews, August 15, 2011

Sources

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