As Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump prepare to square off in a televised debate later this month, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson is hoping to attract voters dissatisfied with both parties by running for president on the Libertarian Party line.
NY1 Political Anchor Errol Louis got an exclusive interview with Johnson on Friday.
Among the questions asked: The high-profile gaffe he made on national television on Thursday. When asked what he would do about the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo, Syria, Johnson blanked on the name of the city and had to be reminded about why it's important. A day later, Johnson says he should not be judged by a momentary goof.
"You're going to make a mistake, and I did, and I completely own up to it. I sat down, I didn't know the context in which the conversation was taking place. And when I heard the question Aleppo, I'm thinking in terms of acronym - what does that stand for? American Latin going through my mind. OK, Aleppo. But I think more important is understanding the policies that underly Syria right now," Johnson said.
During the interview, Johnson also talked at length about the Libertarian philosophy of dialing back American troop commitments around the world, and about his call to abolish the IRS and do away with income taxes.
Additionally, he got into his belief that medicinal and recreational marijuana should be fully legalized. Johnson was also asked about whether that stance presented a conflict of interest, as he once ran and still owns stock in, a company that markets marijuana products.
"I've never viewed this from a standpoint of financial advantage and I never believed I would have the opportunity to serve as the CEO of a publicly traded company but was given that opportunity and I jumped on it. From the standpoint of making the world a better place and believing a better place from the standpoint of the medical side of cannabis and from the recreational side," Johnson said.
Johnson's hoping to get to 15 percent in the polls in order to participate in the first presidential debate later this month.