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Election 2012 Wed Oct 24 2012
The day after the final debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, four third party candidates made their case for why they should be the next president of the United States at the Hilton Hotel here in Chicago.
Jill Stein of the Green Party, Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party answered questions put to them by moderator Larry King that were submitted via social media.
Issues discussed included electoral reform, climate change and civil liberties -- many topics never mentioned during the four preceding presidential and vice presidential debates.
The candidates universally decried the impact of the two-party system and the influence of large amounts of money paid by Political Action Committees (PACs) during elections in the United States.
"Big Money that filters through the PACs is the biggest hindrance in my opinion to free and open elections, and freedom and democracy in this country," said Virgil Goode.
They also largely agreed on ending the war in Afghanistan, reducing military spending, repealing the PATRIOT Act and similar legislation, marriage equality for gays and lesbians. When it came to the War on Drugs, three of the four candidates endorsed legalizing marijuana.
"I have drank alcohol, I have smoked marijuana," said Gary Johnson. "In no category is marijuana more dangerous than alcohol, and yet we are arresting 1.8 million people a year on drug-related crimes," Johnson said.
After being arrested for trying to participate in the presidential debate at Hofstra University on October 16, physician and Green Party nominee Jill Stein used this debate to call for a "Green New Deal," Medicare for all, and free college education.
"Instead of bailing out Wall Street banks again, let's bail out the students," she said.
Rocky Anderson, Justice Party nominee and former mayor of Salt Lake City, endorsed healthcare for all, an equal rights amendment to the Constitution, and addressing climate change. He also cautioned against legislation like the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which he said gives the president the power to indefinitely detain people without trial.
"We are on the road towards totalitarianism and that is not an exaggeration," he said.
Conservative former U.S. House member and Constitution party nominee Virgil Goode kept his answers short and to the point, focusing on balancing the U.S. budget, ending super PACs, and imposing term limits. He also called for a moratorium on green cards until U.S. unemployment is below 5 percent.
"It makes no sense to bring in so many foreign workers when we need jobs for American citizens first," Goode said.
Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico and Libertarian Party nominee, called for abolishing the IRS, repealing the PATRIOT Act and balancing the budget, including a 43 percent reduction in military spending, which he says would take it back to 2003 spending levels.
"If we don't do this now we're going to find ourselves in a monetary collapse," he said.
While the odds of these candidates winning is slim-to-none, and some may even be seen as "spoilers" in what is sure to be a tight presidential race, they are nevertheless determined to earn the support of voters.
"Wasting your vote is voting for someone you don't believe in," said Gary Johnson.
For a more complete breakdown of the debate, check out the Storify below.