Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Libertarian VP Candidate Visits Jacksonville; the Party Is Trying to Get to 15% in Polls So They Can Be in the Debates

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Libertarian VP Candidate Visits Jacksonville; the Party Is Trying to Get to 15% in Polls So They Can Be in the Debates

Article excerpt

Byline: Sebastian Kitchen

Libertarian vice presidential candidate Bill Weld said, being more fiscally conservative than Democrats and more socially inclusive than Republicans, "we don't feel guilty about offering the alternative."

Weld, the former Massachusetts governor on the ticket with presidential candidate Gary Johnson, spoke to The Times-Union editorial board on Thursday afternoon and was scheduled to speak in the evening at a town hall hosted by Jacksonville University's Public Policy Institute.

He and Johnson are former two-term Republican governors who support smaller government and responsible fiscal policy.

Johnson and Weld are trying to reach 15 percent in polls so they can participate in upcoming debates with Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. While the ticket has not reached that threshold, he touted strong support in polls from independents, millennials, those on active military duty, and retired military members and their families.

Weld said he supports free trade and immigration reform to "get people out of the shadows."

"We want free trade because it is going to help the U.S. economy," he said. Trump and Clinton have been critical of international trade deals.

Weld admits he is friends with both of the Clintons, but readily dismissed rumors he would leave the Libertarian ticket and endorse Hillary Clinton. He said he worked with Hillary Clinton for nine months on the U.S. House committee working on the impeachment of Richard Nixon. Weld and former President Bill Clinton were governors at the same time.

He labeled him leaving the ticket, especially "when Gary and I are trying to get elected," the "worst idea I have ever heard of." He said it would be politically suicidal for him and would eliminate any platform for him to defend Clinton.

Weld, a former federal prosecutor, said he defended Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state until news surfaced she did not turn over 15,000 emails.

He said Clinton knows and studies the issues. …

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