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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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STEVE HAYES: That was a striking ad for me.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Newt Gingrich. Your thoughts?

ROCKY ANDERSON: He's doing the same thing. These politicians are not leaders. They're being led around by the polls. They're being led around by the political considerations. I was mayor of Salt Lake City, the capital of probably the most conservative state in the country. And, Amy, when I was there, we reduced greenhouse gas emissions from city operations by 31 percent in three years. I went around the country and spoke in other nations about best practices, the dangers of climate change, how we all need to come together. I spoke at meetings at three of the United Nations COP meetings, Conference of the Parties meetings, about climate change and what the solutions are and how we can all contribute to them. I've been working at this for so many years, and I've stayed entirely consistent. You see these people bouncing back and forth. They're unrecognizable from one moment to another. And it's because of the basest political considerations. How are they to be trusted? And in the end, how is the public interest going to be served, when they're taking a look at nothing but the polls, rather than what needs to be done to move our nation forward.

AMY GOODMAN: Rocky Anderson, why not work with, for example, the Green Party?

ROCKY ANDERSON: Well, I think the Green Party, they have a lot of great people. They have a good platform. But I think there are some organizational problems. I think they're also perceived as being sort of a sliver of just the left in this country. We are attracting a multi-partisan group of people. We've been contacted by Republicans, Libertarians, Democrats, people across the political spectrum that have just had enough. They know that there's got to be another way.

We talk about fiscal responsibility. And, Amy, it's always the poor, the most vulnerable in our society, that end up paying the price when we so irresponsibly drive up the accumulated debt. So, fiscal responsibility really serves all of us, and we need to reprioritize. We do need to prime the pump during this time of recession. We need to provide better education, greater innovation to keep up with the rest of the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Rocky, we just have 30 seconds. I wanted to ask you about the Occupy movement.

ROCKY ANDERSON: What we're doing, I think, converges beautifully with the Occupy movement, and what they're doing converges beautifully with what we're doing. I think that the Occupy movement is one of the most promising things I've seen, especially from young people, in decades, because they get it, they're willing to take action, and I think that it's really been enlightening for the American people to see that we can do this from the grassroots and really take on a system that has been so corrupt and has so disserved the American people and the public interest.

AMY GOODMAN: Rocky Anderson, I want to thank you very much for being with us, former mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, former executive director of High Road for Human Rights. On Monday, he launched his bid for the presidential nomination of the newly formed Justice Party. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. 

Amy Goodman is the host of the nationally syndicated radio news program, Democracy Now! .

 
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