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A Challenger for Obama? Progressive Former Mayor Rocky Anderson Enters Race With New Third Party

Vowing to fight the influence of money over politics, Anderson kicked off his campaign Monday.

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AMY GOODMAN: So what does it mean to run for president exactly? I mean, specifically, technically, practically, what are you going to do around the country? How is your name registered? How is the Justice Party registered? How did you even come up with the name of the Justice Party?

ROCKY ANDERSON: Well, I registered with the Federal Election Commission, the Justice Party. And we did a lot of vetting over the name, probably took too long to do that, but we got a lot of input from all over the country. And it seemed that the notion of justice--economic justice, social justice, environmental justice--that's what the people in this country want. They want an equal playing field. They want the laws to apply to everyone equally. And they don't want our Congress and our president simply serving the interests of the economic aristocracy in this country any longer.

Amy, there is a greater economic disparity between the very wealthy and the rest of us in this country, greater than at any time since the 1920s. And we need to get things back to the point where we're building up a strong middle class. You know, when you hear about Newt Gingrich proposing that we give these massive tax favors, once again, to the very wealthiest, and not giving a break to the middle class and the poor in this country, that--it's an obscenity. The loss of revenues from the Bush tax cuts, which have been perpetuated now both between the Republican and Democratic parties, it's been devastating to our economy. It's been devastating to our budget. And the next generation--it's like we've taken out this credit card in the name of our children and just ran it up recklessly, not bringing in the revenues to help pay it down. We're paying more in interest payments--total waste--more in interest payments every year on the accumulated debt than it takes to run 13 departments of the federal government. We can do much better than this as a country. And we, as a people, need to understand, we can do this from the bottom up.

ROCKY ANDERSON: So, what does it mean to run for president? We're going to do this very differently. It's going to be through a grassroots movement. We're going to use social media. If other nations can carry on their revolutions and bring in a complete change of government through that kind of grassroots organizing and use of social media, how democratizing, how amazing is that? Those are the kinds of things we're going to be doing. And we'll show that that's how we can win elections, by appealing to the people on the streets, people who are impacted every single day by this failure in terms of public policy at both the congressional level and in the White House.

AMY GOODMAN: I asked you about the Democrat, President Obama. What about the Republicans? For example, you'd be squaring off against a former political backer, in Republican hopeful Mitt Romney. You both worked together on the 2002 Winter Olympics. You recorded then a campaign ad backing Romney's gubernatorial run in Massachusetts. He returned the favor the following year when you sought re-election as Salt Lake City mayor.

ROCKY ANDERSON: Well, that was that Mitt Romney. It's a very different Mitt Romney, of course, who's running for the Republican nomination for president of the United States. He's changed his position on so many issues. You and I have talked about that in the past. I was very fond of Mitt and his wife, and we did great work together through the Olympics. I have a lot of regard for the man's abilities. But you really have to wonder when somebody is willing to change his views on so many things and then pretend as if that didn't happen, because the fact is, he is--he's gone far, far to the right on so many of these issues. I mean, Mitt Romney, last time he ran for president, talked about doubling the size of Guantánamo? That is not the Mitt Romney I knew. And then, of course, you get to the issues like choice, stem cell research, rights for gays and lesbians. It's a completely different Mitt Romney running for president now than ran for the governorship of Massachusetts--

 
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