By Ginny Wray
Virgil Goode said his bid for the presidency is an "uphill battle," but it is one he can win.
Goode, 65, of Rocky Mount, was nominated Saturday by the Constitution Party to run for president in November. The party's vice presidential candidate is Jim Clymer, who has been the party's national chairman.
Goode is a former state senator and U.S. congressman from Virginia. He has held public office as a Democrat, Republican and independent.
He is running for president, he said, because "my position on the issues are exactly what this country needs."
For instance, he said, "the National Democratic Party will never, in my view, address the balanced budget."
President Barack Obama's proposed budget has a $1.3 trillion deficit, and the House Republicans' budget plan, crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has a deficit of more than $600 billion, Goode said.
House Republicans are leaving it up to the House committees to decide what to cut and how changes in the tax law would help balance the budget, Goode said. He added that of the Republicans who have sought the party's nomination for the November race, only Rep. Ron Paul of Texas "has the will to cut" spending.
Goode said he always was at odds with Ryan and the House budget committees. For instance, he wanted to slash foreign aid and funds to rebuild Iraq, but they did not. If illegal immigration stopped and the No Child Left Behind law was repealed, it would save billions, he added.
"I didn't vote for Democratic budget resolutions or Republican budget resolutions because they were out of balance," Goode said. Budgets with deficits are just "shoveling it (the deficit spending problem) down the road," he added.
If he is elected president, Goode said he will submit a balanced budget. "I can't guarantee Congress will pass it," he said, adding that he believes he could get enough support among lawmakers so he could veto many expenditures.
There are other differences between Goode, Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican Party nominee for president, Goode said.
"I do not want green card admissions" of immigrants with only a few exceptions, such as if no one else can do a particular job, while Obama favors green card admissions, Goode said. He said that is because many of the immigrants are from Third World countries and when they eventually become citizens, often they are Democrats.
Goode said he is not running just to spread his message. "If enough people hear the message," he believes they will support him and he stands a chance to win, though he acknowledged that third-party candidates have a difficult time.
For instance, being included in presidential debates is a "tough row to hoe," he said. "The Presidential Debate Commission is reluctant to have anyone but the top two" candidates, based on poll numbers and other factors, appear at debates, Goode said.
He added that might change if he is doing well in the polls by the fall.
Goode said he is not sure how many members the Constitution Party has -- or the national Democratic or Republican parties, for that matter -- but he has heard it called the third largest political party in the country. It also goes by other names in different states, such as the Independent American Party in Nevada and the Independent Party of Delaware, he said.
He also thinks the Constitution Party will pick up supporters among tea party backers and Republicans if Romney is nominated.
"They are concerned if he (Romney) has the desire to cut" spending, and also about Romney's support for what Goode called "Romneycare," or health care reform instituted when Romney was governor of Massachusetts.
Another difference between Goode, Obama and Romney is that Goode is limiting campaign contributions to $200 per person, except for donations from himself and his immediate relatives, he said. He also will not take PAC (political action committee) money, he said, but he will use some funds left from his congressional campaign.
Now, Goode is focusing on getting on the November ballot in as many states as possible. He said he would like to get on the ballot in all 50 states, but the high mark for the Constitution Party was 43 states, so he is hoping for more than 40 through efforts of volunteers.
Different states have different rules for that. In Virginia, getting on the ballot requires collecting more than 10,000 signatures of registered voters -- at least 400 from each congressional district -- on petitions, although Goode said it is best to get more in case some are invalid.