Besides Gary Johnson, he means, right? Doesn’t he? Or was Carl Bernstein right that Weld, a Massachusetts centrist, would end up defecting from the ticket and trying to help Clinton down the stretch if he got spooked that a Trump presidency is a real possibility?
He’s much more complimentary of Johnson in the clip below than the headline above would suggest, as you’ll see (the key line about Hillary comes near the very end), but it’s odd nonetheless for a candidate in one party to say that no one’s more qualified than a candidate from another. It’s not the only time Weld has done Hillary a solid on the trail this year either. Back in June, he told the Times that he saw nothing criminal in how she handled her email. Just two days ago, he repeated on MSNBC that Clinton is qualified to be president while Trump is not — a judgment not entirely shared by his running mate.
Gov. Johnson: I think she is gonna press the button.
Chris Matthews: What?
Gov. Johnson: Well, if confronted with that ten minutes, she will be hawkish. She will be more hawkish in that role.
Chris Matthews: You think she has a happy trigger?
Gov. Johnson: I think she won’t err on the side of not being the aggressor.
It’s no surprise Weld would be softer on Clinton than Johnson is, though. He and Hillary have known each other for more than 40 years, since their time working as congressional staffers on the House impeachment proceedings against Nixon in 1974. And Weld has always been an awkward fit for the Libertarian ticket. He’s palpably not a libertarian, so much so that he won the VP nod at the convention this year with a bare minimum of 50.5 percent of the delegates. He’s the VP pick only because he and Johnson are friends from their time as governors and Johnson wanted him as his running mate, thinking that a middle-of-the-road ticket with more governing experience than either of the two major-party candidates might get a closer look from disaffected voters. Libertarians obliged him. That’s why the rumors of Weld quitting the ticket keep circulating — his relationship with Hillary Clinton is a lot older than his relationship with the Libertarian Party.
Read A.B. Stoddard on why Hillary should be actively trying to steal Weld away from Johnson, even with the promise of a cabinet position if need be. In lieu of an exit question, I’ll pass along a thought I saw on Twitter a few days ago: Gary Johnson is the closest we’ve come to nominating “Towelie” from “South Park” for president.