Video: Stephen Colbert Gives Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson A Tongue-Lashing

Legalization supporters lost a powerful advocate when Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. Many began looking elsewhere for a champion, and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson seemed to be an obvious second choice.

After all, he was a legalization supporter and the CEO of a cannabis industry company before he resigned to run for president. Yes, he was running for a party that had never been a serious contender for the White House, but he was an experienced politician who had served two terms as governor of New Mexico, and he had picked a running mate in William Weld who also had experience as governor of Massachusetts. 

In an interview with Stephen Colbert a few months ago, Johnson said that the Libertarian Party, far from being a fringe option on the ballot, embraces values shared by most Americans. Libertarians are fiscally conservative politicians, he said, who believe in enhanced personal liberties for gay and lesbian Americans, women, and people who want the right to legally smoke marijuana.

In other words, things many progressives have longed to hear from a candidate they would support. Well, Colbert is back to tell them that Johnson may not be their man - something they may have already begun to realize after his recent comments that called into question his grasp of foreign affairs. First, there was the gaffe during an MSNBC interview where he didn't seem to know about Aleppo, the center of the refugee crisis in Syria. Then he had trouble naming any foreign leaders in an MSNBC town hall last week.

In a Late Show segment last week, Colbert highlights those events that call into question his fitness for the presidency, but he also talks about others that have shattered the illusion that he could be the progressive alternative for those not sold on Hillary Clinton.

"They've been long waiting for the smart, respectable candidate to represent their values...and the wait continues, because Gary Johnson says some crazy-ass stuff," said Colbert. 

In particular, Colbert plays a clip from a 2011 interview, in which Johnson talks about climate change and whether or not we need corrective action. Johnson says he takes the long-term view that in billions of year the sun is going to grow and encompass the earth anyway. And then he goes on to advocate for building more coal-fired power plants. To which Colbert says:

"That's the kind of excuse I use around the house. Sorry, honey, I would take out the trash, but in a couple of billion years the sun's going to engulf the earth, so what's the point?"

And that's not even the most amusing part of the Colbert segment. The best one needs to be seen to be believed, or understood for that matter. Check out Johnson's answer to a MSNBC reporter's question about how he would perform in the presidential debates. 


Saying you work in cannabis is sure to raise some eyebrows. Some people might be curious, others might not take you seriously, and still others might ask how they can invest. These cannabis executives dish on the reactions they get when they say they work in the space, and how those reactions have evolved over the past 10 years.

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