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Political Notebook

Former N.M. governor in Fla. debate

CAUSE FOR CONCERN - Ian Smith (center) and hundreds of other people with disabilities, along with their family members and allies, rallied against possible cuts to Medicaid in front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., yesterday. With Congress debating ways to cut the deficit, millions of disabled people could be impacted by a potential decrease in funding. CAUSE FOR CONCERN - Ian Smith (center) and hundreds of other people with disabilities, along with their family members and allies, rallied against possible cuts to Medicaid in front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., yesterday. With Congress debating ways to cut the deficit, millions of disabled people could be impacted by a potential decrease in funding. (Win Mcnamee/Getty Images)
September 22, 2011

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Tonight, Gary Johnson will get the opportunity to reintroduce himself.

The former New Mexico governor joins eight other Republican presidential candidates at a debate in Florida. Johnson participated in the first forum of the presidential race, in May in South Carolina, but he has been excluded from five subsequent debates.

Tonight’s debate is sponsored by Google and Fox News.

“I am bringing forward a voice to the debate that has gone largely unheard thus far, and I am convinced that a lot of voters are ready to listen,’’ Johnson said in a statement.

As to his message, Johnson said he promises to submit a balanced budget in 2013 and to veto any spending legislation that exceeds revenue.

Johnson, who served two terms as New Mexico governor from 1994 to 2002, has a libertarian-leaning philosophy. On social issues, he advocated for the repeal of the ban on openly gay individuals serving in the military. He supports civil unions for gay couples, abortion rights, and the legalization of marijuana.

On fiscal matters, Johnson is an advocate for limited government and supports major cuts to entitlement programs and defense. He would abolish the federal Department of Education, turning the subject over to the states.

Johnson, who is staking his candidacy on performing well in New Hampshire, has protested his exclusion from previous debates.

While deciding who gets to participate is often based on polling, Johnson has pointed to polls where he has ranked above other included candidates. For example, a CNN poll from Aug. 24-25 put Johnson at 2 percent - above former Utah governor Jon Huntsman Jr. and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.

The website Politico reported that Fox News invited Johnson over the objection of the Florida Republican Party. The party said the rules require a candidate to receive at least 1 percent support in five recent national polls; Fox interpreted the criteria in a way more favorable to Johnson - requiring candidates to poll 1 percent only in the polls where they were listed as an option.

Kerry, Mass. delegation discuss deficit cuts Senator John Kerry, a member of the congressional debt supercommittee, met yesterday with colleagues from the state’s delegation to discuss issues before the panel, which seeks to cut $1.5 trillion from the projected federal budget deficit.

The group - which included Senator Scott Brown and Representatives Edward J. Markey, John Olver, John Tierney, Jim McGovern, Niki Tsongas, and William Keating - met at Kerry’s home in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood. They spoke over Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and doughnuts, said one congressional aide.

A spokeswoman said the senator valued their input because all have served on various committees and offer differing perspectives on how to cut the deficit.

“They also discussed Massachusetts industries and what effect different scenarios would have on them,’’ said the aide, who requested anonymity to discuss the private meeting.

The 12-member House-Senate supercommittee has until Nov. 23 to develop a plan. Congress must then approve it by Dec. 23, or $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts will be enacted in January 2013.

The panel was created as part of an initial $1 trillion deal to settle this summer’s debt-reduction standoff between the White House and Congress.

Buffett to help raise money for Obama reelection NEW YORK - Billionaire investor Warren Buffett will headline a pair of campaign fund-raisers for President Obama in the coming weeks.

Obama’s reelection campaign says Buffett will help raise money at an event Sept. 30 in New York City. The longtime Obama adviser will also headline an event Oct. 27 in Obama’s Chicago hometown. Obama was not expected to attend either.

When Obama outlined his recommendations this week for a special congressional committee charged with finding up to $1.5 trillion in deficit cuts, he added as a suggestion that a minimum tax be imposed on millionaires.

The White House is calling it the “Buffett Rule.’’ Buffett has complained that Congress coddles the wealthy. He also has said it’s unfair that his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does.

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