Four Things You May Not Know About Gary Johnson

on September 23 2011 9:16 PM
Gary Johnson at Orlando debate
Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, participated in Thursday's Republican presidential candidates' debate in Orlando, Fla. Reuters

Republican presidential nomination contender Gary Johnson became an overnight sensation, literally, after a comment he made during Thursday night's GOP debate.

My next-door neighbor's two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration, the former New Mexico governor said.

Here are four interesting things people may not know about Johnson.

He is a fitness buff, and a true Ironman.

Johnson has participated in Ironman triathlons, in which participants must swim, bike and run their way to the finish line.

''These are truly elite athletes, some of the best in the world,'' he told The New York Times in 1997. ''Half of these people are sculpted individuals who have devoted their lives to triathlons.''

He has also ridden his bike across the state of New Mexico several times and once participated in a commemoration run of the Bataan Death March, for which he wore army boots, military fatigues, and carried a pack that weighed 35 pounds, according to the Ironman Web site.

He has used marijuana for medicinal purposes, and thinks it should be legalized.

After an accident in 2005, Johnson decided to take a more circumventive route for his pain, as he disliked the side effects of painkillers and going through withdrawal. He smoked pot medicinally from 2005 to 2008, The Weekly Standard reported in 2010.

Rather than using painkillers, which I have used on occasion before, I did smoke pot, as a result of having broken my back, blowing out both of my knees, breaking ribs, really taking about three years to recover, Johnson told TWS.

He believes the country will benefit from legalizing marijuana.

Control it, regulate it, tax it, Johnson said in a video interview in Feb. with CBS News. It's never going to be legal for kids to smoke pot or buy pot. It's never going to be legal for somebody to smoke pot, become impaired, get behind the wheel of a car or do harm to others.

He's climbed Mount Everest, and then some.

Johnson climbed Mount Everest in 2003. He was 50 years old. The most terrifying moment was when part of the Khumbu icefall collapsed on the way down.

That was the scariest part of the whole thing, he said, The Associated Press reported.

Johnson had turned off his oxygen when he was at the top of the mountain and forgot to turn it back on for about two hours, The AP reported. His hiking partner was the one who noticed.

I bonked, Johnson said, The AP reported.

Johnson has also climbed Mount Elbrus in Russia, Mount McKinley in Alaska, and Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.  

He believes that government should stay out of certain issues, including same-sex marriage and stem cell research.

Johnson believes that stem cell research should not be federally funded and should take place in private laboratories, per his presidential campaign Web site.

When it comes to abortion, he supports a woman's right to choose up until viability of the fetus, he said in a video interview last month with CNSNews.com.

He spoke about his refusal to sign the Iowa pledge that goes against same-sex marriage in a Fox News video interview in July.

No, I wouldn't be signing that, he said. I support gay unions. I think that the government should get out of the marriage business, leave that to the states.

 

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