10/03/12 — Third-party candidate makes fair stop

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Third-party candidate makes fair stop

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on October 3, 2012 1:46 PM

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Constitution Party presidential candidate Virgil Goode campaigns at the fair.

Most people attending the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair Tuesday probably didn't realize it, but they were sharing the space with a presidential candidate.

Running as a certified write-in candidate for the Constitution Party, Virgil Goode, a former six-term congressman from Virginia, attended the fair in hopes of raising his profile in a state that many analysts see as a battleground between GOP nominee Mitt Romney and Democratic nominee President Barack Obama.

Goode, who has been both a Democrat and a Republican, explained that he was motivated to run out of a lack of faith in either major party candidate -- the same reason he isn't concerned about the possibility of his candidacy pulling votes away from one or the other.

"With Romney or Obama, we'll be continuing up a path of an Obama-style presidency," he said. "We are on a path to economic ruin and making the U.S. more like a third-world in philosophy and in government intrusion.

"Romney won't do anything to stop it. Either way we go, Romney or Obama, the future is not bright."

Such a message of gloom and doom contrasted with Goodes' upbeat personality and energy as he greeted people at the Constitution Party's booth across from the livestock barn, mingling with the crowd finishing their fill at the pie-baking contest.

And while Goode recognizes he has a large challenge ahead of him as he campaigns these last six weeks before the election without the benefit of TV ads or a chance to participate in the debates, he hopes to make a difference by getting his message out -- and maybe, he says, pick up enough votes along the way to sneak into the White House.

"It's possible the American people will wake up and see that I'm the only true grassroots candidate in this race, that I don't take any donations greater than $200 and that I don't have a PAC working for me," he said. "More importantly, I'm the only candidate that will truly change the direction of this country and who offers a distinct choice from an Obama presidency."

Tops among his issues, he said, is immigration -- both legal and illegal. Illegal, he said, he wants to end by finishing the wall along the southern border and by taking a tougher stance on deportations and ending amnesty programs. He also said he would bring legal immigration to near standstill, halting the issuance of green cards until the country's unemployment rate is below 5 percent.

He also is running on a platform of balancing the budget immediately -- not within the 10 years that even the Romney/Ryan plan would. And to do that, he said, the only sacred cows that would exist would be spending to support veterans' benefits, Social Security and Medicare. Everything else, including defense, education, food stamps, agriculture subsidies, foreign aid and more would be slashed. Taxes, he said, also would be cut, with the so-called death tax and income tax eliminated and a national sales tax implemented, or no sales tax and a flat-rate income tax.

"Politicians don't like to talk about it, but balancing this budget will take either significant increases in taxes or significant cuts. I'm a cutter," he said.

And while he acknowledges that it is possible that Congress could stand in the way of such plans, he pledged to at the very least put a balanced budget in front of it and make members, especially Republicans purporting to support such a notion, vote on it.

He also pledged to bring the troops home from Afghanistan within two months of taking office, not by 2014, and that he wouldn't send any more troops out of the country without a declaration of war from Congress.

Most important, though, he said, is dealing with the immigration and economic issues.

"They're not interested in making tough decisions. They're just interested in keeping their jobs," Goode said, adding that's why he supports term limits and pledges to only be a one-term president if he wins. "You can tell the people the hard truths and if you do, they may not vote for you, but I'll tell it like it is."