Libertarian Nominee Gary Johnson Wants to Be Taken Seriously

Johnson is trying to use the healthcare decision to gain followers.

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Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson is trying to elbow his way into contention as a major national candidate who deserves to be take seriously.

To that end, Johnson is joining the many conservatives who have condemned the Supreme Court's ruling that President Obama's healthcare law is constitutional. Johnson calls it a "truly disturbing decision" because the law requires people to buy health insurance, and this erodes freedom and liberty. Johnson is urging Congress to repeal the law.

Johnson, the former two-term governor of New Mexico, is stepping up his campaign in advance of the Republican National Convention in Tampa next month as he tries to tap into libertarian sentiment within the GOP. Johnson is campaigning this week in Florida.

[Photos: At The Supreme Court]

Meanwhile, GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul says he will appear at a University of South Florida rally to boost his own candidacy on the eve of the GOP convention. Paul admits he cannot wrest the Republican nod from presumptive nominee Mitt Romney. But he told supporters in an email, "The Republican National Conventon is just around the corner, and the establishment is about to find out what you and I have known all along this election season—the future is ours! So on August 26, the day before the convention convenes, I hope you'll join me to at a special rally to celebrate how far our message and movement have come this year."

Paul's delegates to the convention want to inject his libertarian ideas into the Republican platform, such as his opposition to U.S. military interventions abroad and his support for cutting back the federal government in a dramatic way.

However, Johnson hopes to eventually bring Paul supporters into his own campaign in time for the general election this November. To that end, Johnson is expected to speak at a festival honoring Ron Paul in the Tampa area just prior to the GOP convention. That festival is being organized by conservatives who are not part of the official Paul campaign.

Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog, "Ken Walsh's Washington," for usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

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