Gary Johnson’s closing pitch: ‘Waste your vote on me’

October 23, 2012

The candidates’ closing pitches, unlike their opening statements, came right on time, several minutes out from the debate’s end.

Goode reiterated his positions on term limits and immigration. Stein urged attendees to vote, quoting poet and activist Alice Walker as saying, “The biggest way people give up power is by not knowing we have it to start with.” She also returned to the issue of student debt, telling the crowd that recent graduates are “indentured servants,” and for the second time tonight declared that “corporations are not people.”

Johnson, who has caused some agita among Republicans who fear he may cost GOP nominee Mitt Romney some votes on Nov. 6, addressed head on the question of whether he might act as a “spoiler.”

“Wasting your vote is voting for somebody that you don’t believe in,” an impassioned Johnson said. “That’s wasting your vote. I’m asking everybody here, I’m asking everybody watching this nationwide to waste your vote on me.”

The line was one of several memorable ones uttered by the libertarian White House hopeful Tuesday evening. Earlier in the debate, in taking aim at the war on drugs, he cited Whitney Houston as an example of the dangers of cocaine use. He also stated that he believes political candidates should wear “NASCAR-like jackets” displaying the names of the corporations and individuals that have funded their campaigns.

Moderator Larry King had the last word for the night: “You’re kind of Don Quixotes in a way, but the windmills have a way of stopping, and we have a way of saluting you just for getting into the fray.”

Tuesday's debate won’t be the last third-party face-off of the campaign. Another debate sponsored by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation is expected next week, this one in Washington, D.C., featuring the two candidates who receive the most online votes after tonight’s debate.

Four third-party candidates held their own presidential debate in Chicago. It was moderated by former CNN host Larry King.

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Felicia Sonmez | October 23, 2012