January 7th, 2008
02:05 PM ET
10 years ago

Struggling GOP candidate to stay in the race

Hunter has struggled in the crowded GOP presidential field.

Hunter has struggled in the crowded GOP presidential field.

(CNN) - Underdog GOP presidential candidate Duncan Hunter lashed out at "knucklehead media executives" who did not include him in this weekend's New Hampshire primary debates, telling reporters he was staying in the race despite widespread expectations he would announce his withdrawal.

The conservative California congressman criticized debate organizers at FOX and ABC for not extending him an invitation when "guys with zero delegates" like Rudy Giuliani and John McCain were allowed to participate in the events, saying they "decided my campaign was over, and the lights would be shut out on my campaign.

"So here's my answer: I'm not going to quit. I'm staying in."

Hunter won a single delegate in Wyoming’s Republican presidential caucuses this weekend, but is barely registering in Granite State polls, and has faced persistent campaign cash woes. Debate organizers have said he was not extended an invitation to this weekend's events because he did not meet their minimum polling and fundraising standards for inclusion.

(Item updated to include Hunter's afternoon remarks.)

–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Duncan Hunter • New Hampshire
soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. kaks

    Take one-part Abraham Lincoln, one-part Teddy Roosevelt, one-part Dwight Eisenhower, and one-part Ronald Reagan, combine them together, and you have Duncan Hunter, Republican candidate for president.

    Like Lincoln, if elected, Hunter's political career would take him directly from the House of Representatives to the White House.

    Like Roosevelt, Hunter is willing to oppose the special interests' foreign trade and illegal immigration policies.

    Like Eisenhower, Hunter is a war hero.

    Like Reagan, Hunter is for a strong national defense, strict law enforcement, secure borders, and is pro-life.

    Although he has not been credited as such, Hunter is also receiving the endorsement of the rank and file Republican. He won the Maricopa County Arizona straw poll, being preferred by Arizonans instead of John McCain.

    He was third in the South Carolina straw poll by six votes. McCain received 164 votes, Giuliani received 162, and Hunter received 158 – each receiving 24 percent of the vote.

    This is very significant. Hunter accomplished this with an extremely small fraction of the financial resources of Giuliani, McCain, and Romney – and even less of the mainstream media publicity and adoration afforded the Big Three.

    It is obvious that Hunter's message of peace through strength, securing the borders, and eliminating the favorable trade laws given to China are resonating with rank and file Republicans – and would probably resonate with many Independents and "Reagan" Democrats as well. If Hunter can obtain the financial resources that the other three already possess he would probably get the nomination.

    His credentials are excellent – especially to lead a nation at war.

    Hunter is a decorated Vietnam veteran. He would be the first baby-boomer president who served in Vietnam. Not only is he a veteran, Hunter's son served two tours in Iraq – one in Fallujah. This would make him the first President since FDR whose son served in combat during wartime.

    This "Cincinnatus" family trait would be an inspiration to a nation that desperately needs an inspirational leader.

    He believes in secure borders. He is pro-life, pro-Capital Punishment and pro-Second Amendment. However, his most controversial philosophy concerns fair and equitable foreign trade.

    This disturbs some Republicans. They misunderstand his attitude as being protectionist. It is not.

    Hunter believes "American workers are the most productive and innovative labor force in the world. Unfortunately, they are asked to compete in an unfair environment against other workers who make only a fraction of a living wage and are employed by companies that face few, if any, responsibilities to the environment or the long-term prospects of their employees. Our domestic manufacturers are forced to compete against foreign companies that benefit from their country's currency and regulatory regimes."

    This is not protectionism. He is for fair trade. He does not want to prevent cheaper, superior, foreign products from being sold in the U.S. He does want to prevent subsidized foreign products from being sold here, while American products are prevented from being sold there.

    When he speaks about trade, he alludes to the days when America was the Arsenal of Democracy, saying, "(During WWII) our manufacturing base made more than: ... 2.4 million vehicles; 36 billion yards of cloth; ... 41 billion rounds of ammunition ... our industrial base, was important to collapsing the Soviet Empire ... because it provided the strength in Ronald Reagan's stand against the forces of evil."

    Comparing then to now, he make his most salient point, "Today my friends, the Arsenal of Democracy is being pulled away. Massive production of textiles, steel and machine tools are no longer found in South Carolina, or Ohio, or Pennsylvania, nor dozens of other states. ... as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, when I sent my team to get more steel to protect troops against roadside bombs in Iraq, they found only one company in the U.S. making armor plate grade steel ... When a Swiss company cut off the critical component for our smart bombs only one U.S. company remained which could supply it ... if you want to find where our Arsenal of Democracy has gone, you must look in places like ... China."

    Hunter repeatedly states, "... China is cheating on trade and using billions of American trade dollars to build ships, planes and missiles at an alarming rate while, at the same time, taking millions of American jobs. I will reverse this "one-way street" with a new policy of fair trade for the American worker.

    This is the crux of Hunter's trade philosophy. For too long, America has encouraged the erosion of vital defense industries because of inequitable trade policies with Asia and Latin America. Hunter wants to ensure that does not continue.

    America could use a president part- Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Reagan. Hunter seems to be it.
    ©The Evening Bulletin 2007

    January 7, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  2. Abweichung

    Stop generalizing that 'Oh, Ron Paul supporters are being hypocritial with raising heck about Paul not being in the debate, but turn a blind eye to Hunter.' Hunter deserved to be on the ABC debate, but not the Fox Forum (because Paul was left out, but both should of been present). The big thing with Dr. Paul you need to realize is that he won 10% in Iowa and has set fundraising records. Do these two things alone mean Dr. Paul should have special treatment over Mr. Hunter? Absolutely not, but you cannot deny the fact that their is a bigger grassroots following and dare I say movement going on with Dr. Paul that is not present with Mr. Duncan.

    Oh and to the fanatic that said Ron Paul is a "nutjob", explain yourself.

    January 7, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  3. Tim, Minnesota

    I hope Hunter endorses Ron Paul if he exits

    January 7, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  4. MARTinNJ

    Hunter wasn't included in the Fox NH debate because they wanted to exclude Ron Paul, and by also excluding Paul, it gave them some cover.

    Their whole objective was to clear away Paul, the maverick, who make the rest of the bunch look like crackers.

    January 7, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  5. RMS941

    Duncan Hunter is the only true conservative running and that's facts.

    Michael Reagan said he was the only candidate who even compared to his dad, Ronald Reagan.

    Hunter believes "American workers are the most productive and innovative labor force in the world.

    I am glad that Duncan Hunter is staying in the race. He is the best candidate out of all of them.

    So, I say to you, as a Reagan Republican, I will vote for Duncan Hunter and work to put him in the White House 2008. Please take time to give Duncan Hunter another look, as I did. There is much work to be done. Time is short. Let’s begin – in earnest – and may God Bless our efforts.

    I invite you to join the Duncan Hunter team for America at http://www.gohunter08.com/index.asp and help put him in the White House in 2008. I ask you to donate all you can for America and Freedom, donate to the candidacy of Duncan Hunter.

    Russell M. Scott


    January 7, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  6. John Galt

    Clearly, Ron Paul is a nut job.

    Only a nut job would believe that We the People can be responsible for our own actions, that a sound fiscal policy is vital to the health of our economy, and that the government that governs least governs best.

    Call me "Nut Job".

    January 7, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  7. MainerforHunter


    January 7, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  8. curtis

    So - that's what Duncan Hunter looks like. Who knew?

    January 7, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  9. Integrity

    When Hussien Obama, Clinton, McCain, Huckabee, or any other candidate owned by the Council on Foreign Relations is elected, the American people will have yet another excuse to complain.

    The complaining will be the result of not educating themselves on the candidates, their records, what they have accomplished and what their voting records are. Loose several million more manufacturing jobs. Reduce our military another 25-30%. Amnesty for tens of millions of illegal aliens and the stress created for the middle class. A few more 'free trade" agreements will take us down several more notches. Vote for the above and it's a vote for the CFR.

    There will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. The liberals will be praying for a conservative like Duncan Hunter. They will beg for a patriot American like Duncan Hunter.

    If the American people can take their eyes off MSM, sports and other drivel, listen to Lou Dobbs, Glenn Beck and a few other journalistists with a degree of integrity, our children and grandchildren might have a chance of achieving the American dream.

    Go Duncan. He's won the Texas straw poll, not to mention Arizona which is on the verge of becoming part of a third world country.

    Hang in there Duncan. We need you and your sons.

    January 7, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  10. Tom Moore Olney, Texas

    You people need some information about "this guy".

    In the Texas Republican Straw Poll "this guy" creamed the crop. The results are as follows:

    Final Straw Poll Results
    Fort Worth, TX – September 1, 2007

    41.1% Duncan Hunter (534 votes)
    20.5% Fred Thompson (266 votes)
    16.17% Ron Paul (217 votes)
    6.4% Mike Huckabee (83 votes)
    6% Rudy Giuliani (78 votes)
    4.7% Mitt Romney (61 votes)
    2.2% Ray McKinney (28 votes)
    .77% John Cox (10 votes)
    .62% John McCain (8 votes)
    .46% Sam Brownback (6 votes)
    .46% Tom Tancredo (6 votes)
    .23% Hugh Cort (3 votes)

    And, he is going to do some more "creaming" before the election is over.

    January 7, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  11. Charles in Salt Lake City, UT


    C'mon, man - the point being what? Save your dignity and withdraw now. Thank everyone who supported you (shouldn't take long), say something positive about America's future, and exit with grace.

    January 7, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  12. Media Person

    There were 3 reasons for shutting the candidates out of the debates:

    1. Duncan Hunter is the liberal media's worst nightmare. Most of my colleagues are liberal, and they want their candidates to win, just like you want yours to win. If there is anyone close to being another Ronald Reagan, this is the guy, and my media friends would rather not take that risk in the general election, thank you! These other guys are seen as easy to beat.

    2. Today's programming choices are based on what makes "good TV." Duncan Hunter has no controversial background to uncover. No dirt. No flip-flops. Consistently conservative voting record on all the issues. The other boys all have something to hide which makes them "interesting", i.e., Good TV.

    It's quite simple, but it sure isn't good for America. Don't give up. Boycotts are effective, esp. boycotting the sponsors (and be sure to TELL the sponsor why).

    Support the shows that are fair, and write complaint letters about the ones that aren't. Each letter you write counts for many thousands of viewers' opinions. And then quit watching them, so their ratings go down.

    In the meantime, good luck to your candidates that got axed for the sake of Good TV over the welfare of our country.

    Duncan Hunter, from what I've learned, is a true statesman in every sense of the word. Many Americans haven't recognized him yet, because they've never seen one before. If he stays in, I think they will.

    January 7, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  13. E

    American people should not elect a president just because that person is different. A person being just different does not bring a change. That itself constitutes recognition of differences due to colour, gender etc. etc. The appointment of current president was also done on the recognition that he could be related to common people. If we need that then we might as well ignore, qualifications, experience, and past records in the appointment of any government position. I do not think Obama has the experience or past achievements that Hillary possesses. If people think that it is high time that we appoint an African-American, then it is also the high time that we appoint a woman as the president. That should not be the deciding factor when you vote for a president.
    Experienced people would know that howevermuch you tried, you can't please everybody, and you can't bring everyone together. Only a naive, inexperienced person would dream a utopia of that nature. An experienced person would say the things as it is, since that person knows the true difficulties that await ahead. But the problem is that the majority of people love to hear someone attempting to bring these impossiblities.
    The president should be capable of many things. The most important one is the ability to sail forward against adversity. Only the experience, past achievements hone the ability of a person to tackle problems of a country. That president should be someone other countries can recognize as a powerful leader.
    I believe that Hillary is the best in this regard. Obama is the best as the vice president so that he will get an opportunity to gain more experience. By not letting Hillary win this election, American people will do a huge mistake for the second time. By electing Obama as the choice of Democratic party, Republicans would have a higher chance of winning the presidency.

    January 8, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  14. Mark

    Duncan Hunter is a good man with good ideas, but in politics today it does not matter how great your ideas are, it's how much money you can raise.
    Rep. Hunter has a son that has done 2 tours in Iraq and is going to be going back over for a 3rd. I believe that alone should put him in the spotlight. Unlike other politicians that say they support the war with only words, Rep. Hunter's son stood up and answered the call like his father did before earning the Bronze Star in Vietnam.
    We need a family of heros leading this country not talkers.

    January 8, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  15. lisa harris

    Duncan is a true american.. He is a true Ike and could get the country back on track.

    January 8, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  16. msbobbie, Poteau, Oklahoma

    Duncan Hunter's father was a WWII veteran. He passed away at the age of 90 a little over a year ago. Someone sent me an email of that hero's obit this morning. It is far too lengthy to post, but it says he became successful in construction after the war

    This part of it will tell you what kind of stock Congressman Duncan Hunter comes from:

    His patriotic senses, however, were troubled by the
    direction of the nation, which he felt was acquiescing
    to Communist aggression in Korea and China. Packing
    the Hunters up, R.O. moved the family to Washington,
    D.C. There, he walked into the headquarters of the
    Republican Party and announced, "I'm Bob Hunter and
    I'm going to give you a year of my life and we are
    going to turn America around." The Party Director, Ab
    Herman, asked R.O. to return next week. Later, he
    confessed to Bob that he had "checked up on him." "In
    Washington, nobody just walks in and volunteers to
    serve the country without pay and with no angle," Mr.
    Herman told Bob.

    Bob Hunter, however, did just that. Working with Mr.
    Herman and his friend, Congressman Pat Hillings of
    California, Hunter put together a television studio
    and hosted Republican members of Congress who wished
    to make weekly T.V. reports for their districts.
    Hunter's patriotic ethic of serving America beyond the
    call of duty was displayed regularly for the ensuing
    50 years, in which he served as a candidate for U.S.
    Congress, Republican Central Committee Chairman, Local
    Chairman for Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon and Barry
    Goldwater and as a volunteer and contributor for
    dozens of campaigns. "When there was a Republican who
    needed help, Dad would load us into the station wagon
    and away we would go for precinct walking," said
    daughter Bonnie.

    January 8, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  17. Shirley

    Duncan Hunter is a brave and honorable man who is not intimidated easily. I am proud to support him as the only candidate running who actually has a track record of doing what he promises. Check out his record and you will see that he truly is the best man for the job. Contrary to most of the politicians in public office who seem to sway with the breeze of trend, Duncan Hunter sees the big picture and will lead the country back to greatness restoring international respect for the United States in the process. Go Duncan Hunter!

    January 8, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  18. Ted malone

    Why should Duncan leave the race? Until one of the other candidates garners enough delegates to put them over the top, then there's no good reason for any of the candidates to leave the race. If it comes down to a brokered convention, which is a real possibility, then you want to have as many delegates as you can muster in order to have a say in who becomes the nominee.

    January 9, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  19. Stanley Britt

    I'd like for you to be on the ticket as VP with Huckabee to help pass the Fair Tax..I like your views on Iraq and illegal immigrationas well..Huck could really use your support in California and show the rest of the party, that he really is a true conservative..

    January 9, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. brad

    It is unfortunate to think that the media is unduly influencing presidential campaigns. The voters should be the agents of influence not the media. Duncan Hunter is one of the most reliable and best conservative candidates for president, yet the media will not give him the time of day. I am still baffled why conservative leaders did not come out in support of Hunter early on. If they had, he would probably be the front runner.

    Conservatives should vote their conscience, not who they think will win.

    January 9, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. Heather

    GO HUNTER!!!

    January 9, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  22. Kay Blevins

    Please stay in. You are the kind of candidate we are looking for. You should need to get out in the press and become visible to all of us. We want to hear from you.

    January 9, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. vinnie

    Go Hunter! We need you! Hang in there!

    January 9, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. Mary Webb

    Yeesss! I am so happy that Duncan Hunter has not given in to the drive-by media to fall out. The race has just begun and I can't imagine why anyone would think that Iowa and New Hampshire voters alone should determine who are the candidates for U.S. president. Hunter fits the bill for president with no qualifications necessary.

    January 9, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  25. Susanna


    Don't be sorry about not knowing who he is. Check him out just like you would any other candidate. When you find who you like, then just get behind him and push him onward.

    There's no shame in being ignorant! The shame is STAYING ignorant.

    Hope we can get you on Duncan Hunter's team!


    January 9, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
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