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CNN Today

Libertarian Presidential Candidate Harry Browne Discusses His Campaign

Aired July 4, 2000 - 1:17 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Harry Browne is making a second run for the White House. He's again been nominated by the Libertarian Party. He admits he has little chance of winning the presidency, but expects, as he put it, "to scare the bejesus out of Republicans and Democrats." How will he do that? In 1996 he got less than a half-million votes. This time he says he'll be lucky to get a million votes.

So how will Harry Browne scare the major parties? Let's ask him. Mr. Browne joins us from Washington. Good afternoon. Happy Independence Day, Mr. Browne.

HARRY BROWN, LIBERTARIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you so much.

WATERS: What's your scare tactic?

BROWNE: Oh, well, first of all, I did not say that I would be lucky to get a million votes. I think that we will, and I think we can go well beyond that, although I can't possibly predict the outcome of the election.

But the fact of the matter is that both Al Gore and George Bush are arguing about who can best run your life for you. And I don't think Americans want their lives run from Washington, and so Libertarians want you to be free; free to live your life as you think you ought to live it; free to raise your children by your values, not those of Al Gore or George Bush; and free to keep every dollar you earn to spend it, save it, give it away as you see fit, not as the politicians think that you ought to be allowed to do.

So, I believe that this message is going to resonate with the American people. And we are so much stronger, so much better financed than we were, so much bigger than we were in 1996 that I think we will be very visible this year.

WATERS: Isn't it essentially the same message you had in 1996, and yet you only got 473,000 votes. What's going to be different this time?

BROWNE: Well, a lot of people are going to hear the message this year that didn't hear in 1996. We have far more money to spend on advertising. We will begin a national advertising campaign in about two weeks. And this is going to make it possible for people to know that their actually is a choice. You don't have to choose between two shades of big government, you can actually choose to get government out of your life and to be able to live your life as you want to live it, not as Al Gore or George Bush thinks is best for you.

WATERS: We have George Bush and Al Gore making pledges. I think one of the news magazines is even keeping track of the number of pledges to voters promising this and that. Your message is the elimination of such things as income tax, Social Security, war on drugs, welfare. That's a tough sell, isn't it?

BROWNE: No, not at all. Wouldn't you rather be able to put, say, 5 percent of your income in a bank savings account rather than giving it up to Social Security when you know the only way you will be able to get any money back from that is if the government can force other people to pay it to you? Wouldn't you rather be free of the income tax so that you could put your child in a private school, support your church or favorite cause or charity in a way you've never been able to do before? These are the things that the American people want, and that is to be able to make their own decisions and to control their own lives. I've never met anybody who thought that Bill Clinton could run his life better than he can run it himself.

WATERS: Who protects the vulnerable?

BROWNE: The vulnerable are not protected by government. Government programs to protect the poor are government programs for large corporations and other organizations who use those programs to further their own interests. Government programs to protect the elderly are programs for corporations and others that have the political influence to get the ear of the politicians in Washington.

What we need in this country is more of what we once had before the government put them out of business: more charity hospitals, more free clinics, more ability of churches to be able to take care of people in need rather than trying to make those people wards of the state so that they can enhance the politicians' power. I want to put power back in your hands to make your decisions; not decisions for you neighbor, not decisions that will affect other people, but decision that will control your life. Those should be your decisions, no one else's.

WATERS: You say a Libertarian will be in the White House in 10 years. Did you say that?

BROWNE: I did say that -- I didn't predict it, I said that I can easily see how we could have a Libertarian president by the end of this decade. And every vote I get this year is going to make it easier for us to elect Libertarian congressmen in 2002, to run a fully competitive race in 2004, whoever our Libertarian candidate is, and maybe 2008 almost certainly to get a Libertarian into the White House.

WATERS: Good luck to you, sir.

BROWNE: Thank you very much.

WATERS: Harry Browne, Libertarian candidate for president of the United States.

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