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Gary Johnson's flubs just keep getting worse

World leaders are a huge problem for the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate.
Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Fans of Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson often complain that their third-party man hasn't gotten enough media attention. For better or worse, he's finally getting some.

Following a slew of botched interviews about foreign affairs, Johnson stumbled again in a conversation with the New York Times published Wednesday, when asked if he knew the name of North Korea's dictator, Kim Jong Un.

"I do," Johnson insisted. When pressed by the Times to speak the name, he hesitated. "You want me to name [the leader]? Really?" The paper never got an answer.


The stitch up was a kind of hybrid of two recent high-profile flubs from Johnson. The first came in September, when "Morning Joe" co-host and onetime plagiarist Mike Barnicle asked the candidate: "What would you do, if you were elected, about Aleppo?"

Johnson's eyes became vacant hearing the name of the Syrian city, in the midst of a humanitarian crisis and under bombardment by Russian warplanes. "About?"

"Aleppo," Barnicle said. Johnson sounded genuinely intrigued: "And what is Aleppo?"

For its part, the New York Times proved that Johnson wasn't alone in his ignorance about the nuances of the Syrian war: In an article about Johnson's own mistake, the paper was forced to issue multiple corrections after identifying Aleppo as alternatively the capital of Syria, which it is not, the capital of the Islamic State, which it is not, and an key ISIS stronghold, which it is not.

The second Johnson scratch that made headlines was his failure last week to name a single foreign leader, when MSNBC asked him to name one that he respected.

"Any continent! Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, name a foreign leader that you respect," urged host Chris Matthews.

"I guess I'm having an Aleppo Moment," Johnson admitted, coining a name for his own gaffe.

Seemingly resigned to keep making mistakes, Johnson has attempted to spin his ignorance of world affairs into a positive by arguing that a president who doesn't know where countries are located is less likely to bomb them.

"The fact that somebody can dot the i's and cross the t's on a foreign leader or a geographic location then allows them to put our military in harm's way," Johnson said on MSNBC this week.