Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson admits his lack of awareness on race

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Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson is doing something that the major-party candidates rarely do: Admit mistakes.

At a CNN town hall Wednesday night, Johnson said the Black Lives Matter movement – which is protesting police discrimination and violence against blacks – made him realize his "head's been in the sand" on the issue of racial prejudice. "What it has done for me is [show] that my head's been in the sand on this," Johnson said.

"I think we've all had our heads in the sand. And let's wake up. This discrimination does exist, it has existed, and for me personally, slap, slap, wake up." He said he believes that when he makes a mistake, the best approach is to admit he was wrong and move on.

William Weld, the Libertarian vice presidential nominee, added: "I think we have a national emergency in the number of male black youth who are unemployed without prospects. They're four times as likely to be incarcerated if they have intersection with law enforcement as white people are.

"Their educational opportunities are not there. We have to get them into education and just concentrate the power of the government, trying to make sure that there are jobs available for them. It's a national emergency and when there's a national emergency, the government has to respond, libertarian or no libertarian."

Photos of Gary Johnson through the years:

Gary Johnson through the years
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Gary Johnson through the years
UNITED STATES - MARCH 3: Gov. Gary Johnson, former Governor of NM, speaks at the American Conservative Union's CPAC conference at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., on Thursday, March 3, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 26: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson pretends to have a heart attack on stage while arguing in favor of legalization of marijuana during CPAC in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 26, 2015. Former Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-N.Y., not pictured, had just argued during their debate that marijuana caused an increased risk of heart attacks. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson speaks in the Fox News/Google GOP Debate at the Orange County Convention Center on September 22, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. The debate featured the nine Republican candidates two days before the Florida straw poll. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
File-This Nov. 3, 2011 file photo shows former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson addressing the 2011 Drug Policy Alliance conference in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, July 1, 2014 it was announced that Johnson had been named the CEO of a Nevada-based company that hopes to make medical and recreational marijuana products. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for president, addresses an audience of students and the public at Macalester College, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 in St. Paul, Minn. Johnson, a former two-term New Mexico governor, is on a nationwide college tour as part of his campaign for president. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Republican presidential candidates, from left, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, prepare prior to a debate Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
FILE - In this Sept 23, 2011 file-pool photo, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson speaks in Orlando, Fla. The Libertarian Johnson is running for president a second time after winning more than a million votes in 2012. (AP Photo/Joe Burbank, Pool, File)
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson announces his plans to seek the Republican nomination for president in front of the Statehouse Thursday, April 21, 2011 in Concord, N.H. Gov. Johnson says he has the resume needed to lead the country. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, shown at the Inn of Loretto, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 1999, in Santa Fe, N.M. Insurance companies that back a ``no pay, no play'' proposal, promoted by Gov. Gary Johnson, say they would save money if uninsured drivers were barred from making big claims. Under the legislation, insurance companies would be required to file new rates taking into account their anticipated savings from the new law in August. (AP Photo/Laura Husar)
Texas Gov. George W. Bush, left, makes a joke about the first time he met New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, right, as he addresses a crowd at a barbecue June 19, 1998, in support of Johnson's re-election campaign in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Jake Schoellkopf)
New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson enters the Roswell Convention Center Thursday, July 3, 1997 surrounded by aliens. The governor and his family visited Roswell to participate in the 50th anniversary celebration of eth Roswell incident.(AP Photo/Susan Sterner)

Turning to presidential politics, Weld said Republican nominee Donald Trump has "a screw loose." Johnson called Trump's views on immigration and counterterrorism immoral. And Johnson said Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is "beholden" to special interests. He took aim at Clinton's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention last week. "Was there anything that she didn't promise to anyone in her acceptance speech?" he asked.

Johnson added: "If either Trump or Clinton are elected, things will be more polarized than ever."

Johnson said his immediate goal is to push his support level above 15 percent in national polls, which would earn him a spot in the presidential debates between Clinton and Trump this fall.

The Libertarian ticket of Johnson, former GOP governor of New Mexico, and Weld, former GOP governor of Massachusetts, has the support of 12 percent of voters in the latest Fox News poll, with the Democratic ticket at 44 percent and the Republican ticket at 35.

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