If you watched the GOP debate last week, you might’ve noticed a new face up on that stage: wildly popular two-term New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, and wildly unpopular—which is to say, unknown—presidential candidate. GQ’s Lisa DePaulo profiled Johnson and the piece offers a view of presidential politics from a step or two below than the bottom rung. Read all of it here. Below, a choice bit, in which Johnson struggles to even tell voters he’s running for president:
Elsewhere in this fine state, Mitt Romney has been back and forth, back and forth, being his robotic self. Shaking hands, slapping backs, lifting babies, smiling. Sarah came through on her bus tour. Even Ron Paul has been doing the hustle at donor house parties.
Gary? He’s talking about bikes. Weight and tire pressure. He’s telling the guys at the store that he needs to rent one for some race he’s in (a charity race for disabled children). His two aides, Brinck and Matt—who constitute his entire paid New Hampshire staff—give him the look. The one that says: Maybe you should mention you’re running for frickin president. But Gary’s on to pedals now. He brought his own pedals with him from New Mexico. Would have taken the whole damn bike, but it would’ve cost too much to fly it here.
The bike-store guys slip him a form to fill out and ask him for his driver’s license. Gary forks it over. They eyeball it. Not a glimmer of recognition. (“Nobody recognizes me,” he later explains, nonchalantly. “Ever.”) Now they need to put a charge on his credit card, in case he doesn’t bring the bike back.
That does it.
"Uh, you don’t have to worry about me jilting you on your bike here," he tells them. "I’ll be screwed if I steal your bike. ‘Cause, see…" Brinck and Matt lean in. Is it coming? You can do it, Gary! " ‘Cause, see…for what it’s worth, I’m, uh…if you want to make a note…" This is painful. "Uh, I’m running for president of the United States."