Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson admits his lack of awareness on race

Kenneth T. Walsh
Meet the other candidates on the 2016 presidential ticket
Meet the other candidates on the 2016 presidential ticket

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:

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.