2012 Election
Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, participated in Thursday's Republican presidential candidates' debate in Orlando, Fla. REUTERS

There was a new face at the Republican debate in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday: Gary Johnson. But who's this presidential candidate who has remained out of public sight for so long?

The basics: Johnson was governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003, and he became known for two things: his staunch libertarian views and his frequent vetoing. He was very popular for his fiscal policies, such as dramatically reducing the size of the state government, and he left the state with a large budget surplus.

His background: Johnson's only political experience was his two terms as governor. He has spent the rest of his life in business. In 1976, when he was 23, he founded a handyman business that grew to have more than 1,000 employees and more than $38 million in revenue. He sold the company in 1999.

On taxes: I'm promising to submit a balanced budget to Congress in the year 2013. That's a 43 percent reduction in federal spending. ... Add to that, throwing out the entire federal tax system and replacing it with a consumption tax, the fair tax, which would absolutely reboot the American economy because it does away with the corporate tax to create tens of millions of jobs in this country.

On unemployment: My next-door neighbor's two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration. Balance the federal budget now -- not 15 years from now, not 20 years from now, but now. And throw out the entire federal tax system, replace it with a fair tax, a consumption tax, that by all measurements is just that -- it's fair. If that doesn't create tens of millions of jobs in this country, I don't know what does.

On education: I am going to promise to advocate the abolishment of the federal Department of Education. The federal Department of Education gives each state 11 cents out of every dollar that every state spends, but it comes with 16 cents worth of strings attached. So what America does not understand is that it's a negative to take federal money. Give it to 50 laboratories of innovation, the states, to improve on, and that's what we'll see: dramatic improvement.

On national security: I think the biggest threat to our national security is the fact that we're bankrupt, so I am promising to submit a balanced budget to Congress in the year 2013, and included in that is a 43 percent reduction in military spending. I think it's crazy that we have foreign aid to countries when we're borrowing 43 cents out of every dollar to do that. Military alliances are really key to other countries taking up the slack.

On vetoes: I promise to veto legislation where expenditures exceed revenue. And if anybody doubts my willingness to veto bills, I think I vetoed more bills than any governor in the history of the United States. I think I vetoed more bills than all the other governors in the country combined.

On the state of the nation: This country is about liberty and freedom, and right now we are facing an extraordinary crisis that, if we do not address it now, we're going to find ourselves in a monetary crisis that is going to leave us all with nothing. And if we want to look at an example of that, that would be Russia that experienced a monetary collapse. ... We need to avoid that now.