TALLAHASSEE -- A self-made millionaire Republican is campaigning in Florida on a platform of spending cuts and less government.
It's not Rick Scott, anymore.
This is Gary E. Johnson -- a former New Mexico governor and marijuana-legalization advocate -- who's putting out Florida feelers in a possible bid for the presidency in 2012.
Johnson's campaign-style stops in Tallahassee, Melbourne and Orlando last week reveal that the presidential race is already at a low boil in the nation's largest swing state. Without Florida, Republicans say, they can't recapture the White House.
Johnson shrugs when told he's a long-shot candidate. Johnson has overcome long odds before. As a political newcomer, he beat a three-term incumbent in 1992.
Johnson says his legacy of record vetoes and tax cuts from 1995 to 2003 in New Mexico separate him from the crowd of likely presidential hopefuls.
So do his positions on pot and the drug war.
``The issue of marijuana legalization is obviously an attention-getter,'' Johnson said. ``And you can't shy away from it. I have to defend it. I have to defend the position.''
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