Salt Lake City, Utah (CNN) – Jon Huntsman returned to Utah on Friday to tout his record of job creation and reducing tax rates as governor, saying his experience best positions him to take on President Barack Obama in 2012.
"The president has had over two years to fix this economy, and he has failed," he told reporters at a local business in Salt Lake City. "This very state led the nation in job growth. That's a good thing. That's what we want in the Republican nominee."
Yet as Huntsman boasted of Utah's economic good fortune, he downplayed the state's relevance in the presidential race.
Polls have shown Huntsman badly trailing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the state, and he lags behind Romney in the Utah fundraising race. National polls look the same.
"Utah isn't an early primary state so we shouldn't be obsessing too much over that," Huntsman said when asked about his political standing in the Beehive State. "But the polls over time in New Hampshire and South Carolina and Florida are going to be important."
Huntsman also continued his new strategy of criticizing Romney's jobs record in Massachusetts.
He pointed out that Massachusetts under Romney ranked 47th in job creation while Utah ranked first. Romney aides have disputed the claim, noting that Romney reduced the unemployment rate as governor.
Asked by one reporter if he agreed that Romney is the candidate best equipped to fix the economy, Huntsman responded with a flat "no."
"All you need to do is look at one's track record when serving in an executive position," he said. "Let the numbers guide you."
The battle of the mormons and the mormon state. That's pretty embarrasing that Mr. Huntsman is trailing Willard "The Job Destroyer" Romney in his own state. I'd like to know why Mr. Huntsman has been silent on the deficit issue since he's got such a nice track record as a governor.
You cant even win your own state in the primary??
Huntsman WAS one of the smart people.. putting off a 2012 run to run in 2016 when he has a chance of winning... he is over exposing himself now..
You should have held off and observed the political climate.. made some money as a consultant and then ran for President in 2016...
Nobody is even mentioning the fact he has worked for Obama since 2009.. he is irrelevant just trying to run on his record as governor..
If Huntsman wants to move up the polls, he needs to help Pawlenty in taking on Romney and Bachmann. Time is running short and he will have to put on the gloves and take jabs at the front runners.
Jon Huntsman has been in the race all of 3 weeks. There are months before the first primaries. Lets see where we stand after he wins the Iowa debate next month and the unelectable sideshows in this campaign start to self-destruct. As the race gets closer, people are going to be looking for someone solid. No doubt the campaign is looking for national exposure – but to freak out at this point is ridiculous.
Those Mormoms are "something else"....
Hunts Man is a wolf in sheep's clothing people. Do not buy the phony moderation he's selling. His wealth comes from his family's giant chemical conglomerate. You know, the kind of company that hates regulations and taxes. He's a full member of that disgusting club of corporatism cultists who care nothing about the poor and middle class and are unable to make a single sacrifice for the country while demanding the rest of us make sacrifices. Pay attention and do some research.