Gary Johnson is going all out in a final push to qualify for the presidential debates.
Johnson, the Libertarian candidate who made headlines last week for asking "What is Aleppo" on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," debuted a full page ad in The New York Times Wednesday calling on the Commission on Presidential Debates to give him a spot in the upcoming presidential debates against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But Johnson is running out of time to qualify for the first debate, which will be moderated by NBC News' Lester Holt on Sep. 26.
As per the Commission on Presidential Debates' rules, Johnson must reach a threshold of 15 points in the polls to earn a spot on the debate stage. Currently, he is averaging nine points across all polls, according to Real Clear Politics.
Johnson has argued that a lack of exposure unfairly harms his ability to get his message to the American people and rise further in the polls. He claims if major media outlets covered him proportional to his standing in the polls, the equivalent to one mention for every four mentions of Trump, he would easily hit the 15 percent mark.
Johnson's New York Times ad argues that there are metrics the debate commission should look at when considering his potential placement in the debates. He cites a Quinnipiac poll that found that 62 percent of Americans want to see Johnson in the debates and also lists off a bunch of high profile newspaper endorsements, including those of the Chicago Tribune, the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Boston Herald.
"We understand your reasons for basing debate inclusion on the 5 national polls of your choosing. But much has changed since 1992. The conditions of the presidential election of 2016 are extraordinary and without precedent," the ad reads. "The collective destiny of millions of American voters now comes down to the methodologies of pollsters, the handful of respondents surveyed and the board members, directors and co-chairmen of your organization. America has stated that’s too great a responsibility to reside in the hands of so small a number of people."
Johnson proposes a grand bargain to the debate commission: put him on the stage for the first debate and if he does not rise above the 15 percent mark after that, then he will not complain about further debates.
Johnson is currently in the midst of a dizzying media tour around the country — Clinton and Trump have largely focused on swing states — in the hopes of giving his national poll numbers a bump. The first presidential debate will be moderated by NBC News' Lester Holt on Sep. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.