Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson announced the launch of a presidential campaign for the next election cycle on Thursday in the early primary state of New Hampshire, CNN reports.
"I have the qualifications, the ability and the know-how to do the job. I also have a track record," said Johnson, who will vie for the Republican presidential nomination, according to Reuters. "America needs a 'President Veto' right now -- someone who will say 'no' to insane spending and stop the madness that has become Washington."
Johnson wrote of his ambitions for 2012 on Facebook:
It is with great excitement that I announce my candidacy for president. America needs someone who will say 'NO' to the insane spending and stop the madness that has become Washington It is time we put one of our own in the White House. I have the qualifications, the ability and the know-how to do the job.
The Nashua Telegraph notes:
Over the past 18 months, Johnson has visited 34 states with a main focus on the nation's finances through his OUR America Initiative that promoted what he called "fiscal responsibility, civil liberties and rational public policy."
Johnson served as governor from 1995 through 2003. Before that, he started a one-person fix-it business that grew to 1,000 employees. He says he can fix the nation by asking two simple questions: What are we spending our money on? And what are we getting in return?
"Everything should be a cost-benefit analysis," he said. "My entire life, I've watched government spend more money than it takes in, and I've just always though there would be a day of reckoning with regard to that spending. I think that day of reckoning is here. It's right now, and it needs to be fixed."
Johnson mentioned President Barack Obama just once on Thursday, saying he supports repealing Obama's health care overhaul legislation. But he also criticized Republicans, saying they also are to blame for out-of-control spending.
"I think Republicans would gain a lot of credibility in this argument if Republicans would offer a repeal of the prescription health care benefit they passed when they controlled both houses of Congress and ran up record deficits," he said.
Johnson said he would bring spending down by raising the retirement age and making other changes to Social Security and reducing spending on defense, Medicare and Medicaid by 43 percent each. The latter two programs would become block grants controlled by the states, he said.
"That would be 50 laboratories of innovation," he said.
He said he opposed the Iraq war from the start and though he initially supported the war in Afghanistan, he no longer believes American troops should be there. He also supports legalizing marijuana as a way to eliminate much of the violence along the Mexico border.
CNN reports that Johnson will court supporters and visit local businesses in the Granite State for the remainder of the week.
Johnson, who has climbed Mount Everest and is an avid skier and bicyclist, planned to follow up his announcement with some spring skiing Saturday in New Hampshire's Tuckerman Ravine, a large glacial cirque on 6,288-foot Mount Washington, the tallest mountain in the Northeast.