Gary John­son can’t name fa­vorite world leader

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - The As­so­ci­ated Press

Call it a brain freeze or an­other “Aleppo mo­ment,” but Gary John­son has stum­bled again in his quixotic pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

The third-party can­di­date, in a tele­vi­sion ap­pear­ance Wed­nes­day, was un­able to pro­duce the name of a sin­gle for­eign leader he re­spected. Prod­ded to come up with some­thing, he fi­nally set­tled on a for­mer pres­i­dent of Mex­ico — but couldn’t re­call his name.

“I guess I’m hav­ing an Aleppo mo­ment,” John­son said, ref­er­enc­ing an episode ear­lier this month in which he ridiculed when he came up blank when ques­tioned about the be­sieged city that has be­come a fo­cal point of Syria’s civil war.

John­son’s lat­est mis­step played out dur­ing an ex­tra­or­di­nary and awk­ward 50 sec­onds of live tele­vi­sion on MSNBC, where John­son and run­ning mate Wil­liam Weld were ap­pear­ing in a town hall. Host Chris Matthews ticked through a list of re­gions, hop­ing to jog the Lib­er­tar­ian Party can­di­date’s mem­o­ries, but to no avail.

“You’ve got to do this,” Matthews said. “Any­where, any con­ti­nent: Canada, Mex­ico, Europe, over there, Asia, South Amer­ica, Africa. Name a for­eign leader that you re­spect.”

John­son hung his head slightly — “I’m hav­ing a brain freeze” — be­fore Weld came to his res­cue, of­fer­ing the names of three for­mer Mex­i­can pres­i­dents. John­son set­tled quickly on Vi­cente Fox, call­ing him “ter­rific” be­fore Weld named his own fa­vorite for­eign leader: Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel.

As the slip-up ric­o­cheted on so­cial me­dia, John­son took to Twit­ter on Thurs­day in an ap­par­ent at­tempt to poke a bit of fun at him­self.

“It’s been al­most 24 hours,” John­son wrote, “and I still can’t come up with a for­eign leader I look up to.”

John­son’s can­di­dacy has at­tracted in­ter­est from mem­bers of both ma­jor par­ties who say they’re dis­mayed about their choices this year of Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump or Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton. Still, John­son has been polling in the sin­gle dig­its — most vot­ers say they don’t know who he is — and his strug­gles on for­eign pol­icy haven’t helped his im­age.

Lib­er­tar­ian pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Gary John­son

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