Maybe comedy is a better career choice for Gary…
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee for president, had been raring for Wednesday night’s “town hall” on MSNBC. He had been cut from the first televised debate after missing the polling threshold, and he had not been invited when the network hosted a “commander-in-chief forum” with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
“This was their consolation prize,” Johnson told The Washington Post this week when asked about the MSNBC special. “It was put to us that, look, you weren’t in this initial program. Here’s what we’d like to offer in lieu of being with the two major-party candidates. And I said, ‘An hour of prime time Chris Matthews? I’ll take it.’ ”
But the hour didn’t go as planned. Johnson, who had been pilloried for blanking on the relevance of the Syrian city of Aleppo in another MSNBC interview, whiffed his way through an even easier foreign policy question.
“Who’s your favorite foreign leader?” Matthews asked.
“Who’s my favorite?” Johnson replied.
“Anywhere in the continents,” Matthews said. “Any country. Name one foreign leader that you look up to.”
William Weld, Johnson’s running mate, chimed in with an assist: “I’m with Shimon Peres.”
“I’m talking about living, okay?” Matthews said. “You gotta do this. Any continent. Canada, Mexico?”
“I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment,” Johnson said.
“In the whole world!” Matthews said. “Anybody in the world.”
“I know, I know,” Johnson said.
“Pick any leader,” Matthews said.
“The former president of Mexico,” Johnson said.
“Which one?” Matthews said.
“I’m having a brain freeze,” Johnson said.
Weld, who had left the governor’s office in Massachusetts in an unsuccessful attempt to become ambassador to Mexico, began naming the country’s former presidents. “Fox? Zedillo? Calderon?”
“Fox,” Johnson said with a combination of jubilation and relief. “He was terrific.”
Johnson’s inability to remember the full name of Vicente Fox was a genuine surprise. Johnson governed New Mexico, which shares a small border with Mexico, from 1995 to 2003. Fox, a former Coca-Cola executive, won Mexico’s 2000 presidential election with an unusual amount of fanfare, as his center-right National Action Party (PAN) broke generations of one-party rule by the center-left Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). – Washington Post