Former N.M Gov. Johnson deflects question on 2012 bid

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (R) deflected rumors this weekend that he may launch a quixotic presidential bid in 2012.

Johnson cited regulations on his 501c4 organization "Our America Initiative" that prevent him from running for office or endorsing candidates.

“Right now I am allowed to raise money and talk about the issues of the day. But it is not part of something bigger. My focus is primarily on advocacy," Johnson told an audience at American University on Friday.

Of course, Johnson could still break ties with the group and launch a 2012 campaign.

Some have mentioned Johnson, a libertarian-leaning Republican, as another Ron Paul, whose populist 2008 campaign received more support than most analysts expected.

Johnson ratcheted up the rhetoric in his speech, calling for an "armed rebellion" against fiscal irresponsibility.

“We do need a revolution in America, an armed rebellion. Let’s arm ourselves with common sense. Let’s stop the spending," he said.

Johnson said that during his time as governor he vetoed 750 bills that came before him, citing in particular a “dog and cat exercise bill” as his favorite vetoed bill.

“It was a bill that but for my signature, would have made it a law for pet store owners to exercise their dogs and cats for two to three hours a day. If I signed the bill, I would have had to establish the dog and cat exercise police," he said.

Johnson said populist sentiment was growing over the nation's debt.

“I see a rage over what is happening in this country with spending and the deficit. People are looking for individuals who will address those problems. I see it as that rather than resurgence in the Republican Party. I see it as more of a sentiment of voting who is in office out.”