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Third-Party Presidential Candidates Square Off

Three of four candidates at Tuesday's debate in Chicago -- Gov. Gary Johnson, Dr. Jill Stein and Virgil Goode -- are on Virginia's ballot this year.

A day after for their third and final debate, the four independent candidates for president met Tuesday for a debate moderated by Larry King at the Hilton Chicago, covering topics that ranged from two versus three party political systems, to states rights and foreign policy, among others.

Three of the four candidates are on the ballot in Virginia this year: Libertarian candidate and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein, and the Constitution Party’s Virgil Goode, who has been a former state delegate and U.S. Rep from Virginia.

Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party took part in Tuesday night's debate as well; he is the only candidate not on the Virginia ballot.

This debate, unlike the presidential debates organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates, allowed audience members to cheer and applaud. All of the questions came in via social media prior to the debate.

The first question focused on the two-party system, which candidates referred to as a “political duopoly," and why the independent candidates believe democracy deserves more third-party discourse. 

While discussing the two-party system’s dominance and the influence of money on politics, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson suggested the Republican and Democrat presidential candidates wear Nascar-like jackets with sewn-on patches from their major donors.

The debate then backtracked to opening statements before proceeding to questions on drug policy (all candidates except Goode want to legalize marijuana), national security and more. Many of the candidates’ answers crossed topics from states rights to the economy to foreign policy.

In closing statements, Goode advocated for term limits and removing Super PACs from the election process.

Stein advocated for turning politics on its head, starting a Green New Deal that she said would end climate change, and bailing out students and not banks.

Anderson also advocated for the importance of choice in the political discourse.

Johnson noted his entrepreneurial background and told voters, “Wasting your vote is voting for someone you don’t believe in.”

Tuesday night’s debate was streamed lived at freeandequal.org, the website of a nonprofit organization that works with all candidates (including Democrats and Republicans) “to promote an open voting process and help them through the complex process of getting on the ballot.”

Two of the independent candidates will debate Tuesday in Washington, D.C. They'll be chosen by the public via online voting at freeandequal.org. Voting ends Wednesday night.

Shortly after Tuesday's debate, the website was not loading properly due to high activity.

For more on the candidates on Virginia’s ballot, see .

Mike October 25, 2012 at 03:14 AM
They had a debate on C-SPAN last night that was informative. It should still be on the C-SPAN website. I really like Gary Johnson. His involvement in the main coke vs pepsi debates would have made things a lot more interesting.

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