(Article changed on October 24, 2012 at 13:33)
Lambasting the "duopoly" and "Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee" tone of the Obama/Romney presidential debates, a slate of third party candidates at the Hilton Chicago on Tuesday offered voters fresh and impassioned views about the economy, war on terrorism, war on drugs and election, legislative and educational reform. Participating in the debate, moderated by broadcast icon Larry King, were Green Party nominee Jill Stein, Justice Party nominee Rocky Anderson, Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode and Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson.
Even though two candidates leaned toward the left and two toward the right according to Christina Tobin of the Free and Equal Elections Foundation which sponsored the debate, all agreed the two-party contest which they say is swimming in corporate and special interest money, has stifled debate on issues of crucial importance to the public. In fact, Green Party nominee Jill Stein was arrested with another activist at the presidential town hall debate in Long Island last week for protesting the debate's lack of openness. She was handcuffed and anchored to a chair for eight hours, she recounted to the Chicago debate audience.
When asked about U.S. military policy, Stein said repeated bombings of weddings and funerals in war zones "don't win us the hearts of minds," of civilians. Stein, trained as a medical doctor, also urged the abolish of drone programs both here and abroad which drew strong audience applause.
The United States gives financial aid "to pump up foreign dictators," agreed Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, touching on events since the Arab Spring. "We have not learned anything." Johnson, a favorite of the crowd, is former governor of New Mexico.
There are too many soldiers and "troopers scattered around," agreed Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode, adding that no armed conflicts should occur that are not declared by Congress. Goode's conservative proposals of a moratorium on Green Card admissions to help U.S. job seekers and defunding Planned Parenthood did not warm the crowd. But his opposition to PACs and Super PACs accorded with the other candidates.
Raiding the U.S. treasury for "wars of aggression" is "wasteful" and "treason," charged Justice Party nominee Rocky Anderson, who also noted the urgency and peril of climate change. Anderson is the former Salt Lake City mayor.