Johnson campaign claims debate victory, sort of
October 4th, 2012
04:23 PM ET
8 years ago

Johnson campaign claims debate victory, sort of

Washington (CNN) - Not invited to participate? No problem. Just declare yourself the winner.

Following last night's debate between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson's campaign did just that in an email to supporters.

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"The candidate who WON last night was Gov. Gary Johnson – and he wasn't even allowed on the stage," wrote Ron Nielson, Johnson's campaign manager. "He wasn't allowed on the stage for the very same reason that he won. He told the truth, and the Republicans and Democrats didn't want any truth being told on the stage they had bought and paid for."

The Commission on Presidential Debates didn't invite Johnson to the forum because he did not meet the polling threshold needed to permit inclusion. The Johnson campaign has sued the commission because of this rule, arguing that it violated anti-trust laws.

In his email to supporters, Nielson brags about the reach Johnson had on social media.
"Last night, there was one candidate for president whose followers on Twitter increased by 7,000," the email stated.

In theory, Johnson is right – he is the only candidate that gained 7,000 followers. However, his intent – to brag about the number his campaign believes contrast with the other campaigns – is incorrect.

According to Twitter Counter, a web based application that counts the number of Twitter followers an account gains over a period of time, @Mitt Romney gained 12,131 followers on debate day and @BarackObama gained 81,381.

Last night, while Obama and Romney debated in front of a massive primetime audience, Johnson hosted an "on-line commentary" to supporters. Using Google+, the Johnson campaign says the former New Mexico governor would use the forum to respond to the major party candidates.

This won't be the last time Johnson uses this format. In an email to supporters, Johnson said he plans to use the format "during subsequent debates," too.

Filed under: 2012 • Gary Johnson • Presidential Debate
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. DENNA

    Okay, this of is just sad. I have never even heard of him.

    October 4, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. Frank

    First I heard of this guy. He's got to be better than either Romney or Obama though.

    October 4, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. Dave

    He's right. The faux Libertarian, Robmey, probably won the debate with all of the outright lying he did.

    October 4, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. Ray

    Do some research on Gary Johnson. He is by far the BEST candidate for President of the United States of America. Obama has a proven track record of failure, yeah Obama "changed" alot, in the wrong damn direction. Romney would be better than Obama without a doubt. But Johnson would bring real positive policies that re-focus the government on their responsibilities and establishes a safe and prosperous America.

    October 4, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. Thomas

    I wish they had let him debate , he would have stirred the pot !

    I'm still asking what state is Romney referring to when he calls his . He has homes it about five or six.

    October 4, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. Troy

    You're right Denna, it is sad. This guy is going to be on the ballot in every state and polls in the double digits in many of the critical swing states, and yet this is the first time I've seen him mentioned on CNN or really any major news outlet. Sad indeed.

    October 4, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. Estoril

    Google Gary Johnson 2012. He has my vote.

    October 4, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  8. HalluxSinister

    I've heard of him, visited his website, read what he (and/or his supporters) purport as the differences between him and the other candidates, and I have to admit he'd probably be a better president than Obama, or Romney, with whom, unfortunately, we're probably stuck, (with one or the other).

    However, I'm inclined to agree with Denna, this is just sad. It'd be like a football team that didn't make it to the Superbowl roping off an area the size of a football field in the parking lot of the stadium, and in that space running the plays they would have run if they had gone to the Superbowl, in response to an imaginary team opposite, who they get told what they're doing by someone watching the ACTUAL GAME, and then analyzing each play and concluding that they'd have won, (and therefore did win,) how many points they beat the other team by, if they played in the Superbowl.

    October 4, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. Silence DoGood

    Personally I am voting Green Party. But I am starting to think there has got to be lots of better choices than the slick liars Romney and Obama and the DNC-RNC single party system circus.

    October 4, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. Dj

    Perhaps if you gave him as much coverage as the other candidates, he'd be in the debates. The people deserve all of the information. They have a third choice who will be on enough ballots to win the election. Let them know, CNN. That's your job.

    October 4, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  11. Phil

    Any one who votes for libertarian or Green party is just wasting a vote. Neither of those parties will win and the votes that will matter will fall under the Republican or Democratic party. Being a rebel isn't bringing change. It's just shooting blanks in the wind. Follow Romney or Obama and cast your vote between the 2. Thats where your voice will be heard. Thats where you will make a difference. Sorry Libs and greens, thats reality

    October 4, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  12. WakeUpAmerica

    The Commission on Presidential Debates undermines our democracy. Because of the Commission's subservience to the Republican and Democratic campaigns, the presidential debates are structured to accommodate the wishes of risk-averse candidates, not voters.

    October 4, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  13. Fred

    Asking who won the debate is like asking which turd smells better. I don't think Gary Johnson is a turd. Does that make him the winner by default, I don't know.

    October 4, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  14. Patrice Thibodeau

    George H.W. Bush & Bill Clinton invited Ross Perot to Debates in 1992 with only 5% (which is what Gov. Gary Johnson is already polling at nationally), but he wasn't invited to the Debates in 1996 because Dole knew he would take away votes from him & Clinton wanted to have a non-changer debate, finished with approx. half votes (8.5%), than he did in 1992 (19.6%). Could being in the Presidential Debates effect the outcome of an election? Yes.

    After, Ross Perot was denied to be in the debates in 96', the League of Women Voters withdrew sponsorship from the Presidential Debates, & the Commission on Presidential Debates was established by former chairs of both the Republican & Democrat Party, with the polling rule threshold of 15% in at least 5 national polls.

    GQ Magazine declared Gary Johnson: "The sanest man running for president"...& "absurdly honest & smart." He'll be on the ballots in all 50 States & the District of Columbia.

    Gary Johnson takes votes away from Romney & Obama in many swing states & is the only candidate that is talking about issues that Romney & Obama won't. I wonder why they don't want him in the debates, & why won't they invite him, like Bush & Clinton did with Perot in 92'?

    October 4, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  15. scott

    You mean their are other candidates, why? They have no chance at all.

    October 4, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  16. Silence DoGood

    @Phil " just wasting a vote"

    There are 100's of small to medium elected politicians from these parties. How do you think they got there? Thinking people VOTED. The wasted vote is a myth of the media and corporate DNC-RNC single party system. The "main" parties have changed over time and will change again.

    AND more people in my state get out to vote every year and NOT for the DNC-RNC party. Only a matter of time.

    October 4, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  17. jaimie

    Romney and Ryan ........ Laurel and Hardy of the 2012 Presidential Campaign

    October 4, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  18. jaimie

    Romney ........ No honesty No integrity

    October 4, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  19. jaimie

    Romneyhood ......... Give to the Rich take from the poor

    October 4, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  20. George

    Phil, your logic is why we are stuck with 2 awful candidates who have no aspiration for balancing the budget and saving our currency.

    Gary Johnson is an order of magnitude better than the 2 forced on us by the Republicans and Democrats. But keep drinking the kool-aid and voting for who your told to vote for.

    October 4, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  21. Ron Paul Forever!

    Those of us who are Ron Paul supporters will gladly vote for Gary Johnson! It's time the Democrats and Republicans took a third party candidate seriously.

    October 4, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  22. rebel

    Gary's record alone makes him more qualified than either of these 2 losers. neither obama, or romney could last 5 mins in a fair and honest debate.Gary Johnson2012 has my vote.
    Phil's logic below suggests he's self destructive and unwilling to change to anything that doesn't resemble a socialist police state. A vote for what YOU like is never wasted. It's just sad people are willing to take others down with them.

    October 4, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  23. Ron Paul Forever!


    Any one who votes for libertarian or Green party is just wasting a vote. Neither of those parties will win and the votes that will matter will fall under the Republican or Democratic party. Being a rebel isn't bringing change. It's just shooting blanks in the wind. Follow Romney or Obama and cast your vote between the 2. Thats where your voice will be heard. Thats where you will make a difference.
    Your viewpoint is practical. However, a protest vote is meant to make a point. In Texas (and other "red states") the outcome isn't in question. Republicans could run a blithering idiot and he'd get elected – just ask Rick perry about that situation. A vote for Johnson is a vote for somebody supporting real conservative values – not just a lap-dog for the rich who pretends to be everything from ultra-conservative to liberal.

    October 4, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  24. jane

    Gary Johnson 2012!!!!!!!

    October 4, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  25. morgino

    I am always perplexed by people who say you are wasting your vote if you vote for the person that you think is the most competent for the job. Aren't you wasting your vote if you don't?

    October 4, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
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