Huntsman's advice on the debt ceiling: 'Use the bully pulpit'
July 29th, 2011
04:24 PM ET
3 years ago

Huntsman's advice on the debt ceiling: 'Use the bully pulpit'

Washington (CNN) – Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman seems to think President Obama is handling the debt ceiling all wrong.

The contender for the 2012 GOP nomination for president told CNN's "The Situation Room" anchor Wolf Blitzer that if it were up to him, he'd use the "bully pulpit" as president "in ways that speak to clear, cut, and defined goals that the people of this country want to achieve."

"The one thing that's missing in this whole debate is presidential leadership," Huntsman said Friday. He defined action as, "Using the weight and the power of the presidency to define in specific terms where this whole debt ceiling issue goes."

The former U.S. ambassador to China asserted, "We're the most significant financial services country in the world" that needs to meet "our obligations."

And he called debt a "cancer in this country," that needs to be "radiated," "excised," and "cut out."

"First and foremost there's got to be serious cuts associated with whatever we do with the debt ceiling," Huntsman said.

And if he were in Obama's seat, Huntsman stated he'd, "Use the bully pulpit for things other than DNC talking points...Get very specific about where you want to take this debate, and then you got to work both Houses of Congress."

And for Huntsman, who has been polling in low single digits of support, extending the debt ceiling until 2012 is a political ploy. Because he believes the country "needs this debate," Huntsman affirmed it is healthy for dialogue to continue during the 2012 election cycle.

"I think that's not a bad thing at all for the people to be part of continuing deliberation about the most important policy issue of our time," he said.

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Filed under: 2012 • Content Partner • Debt • Jon Huntsman • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Big George in Big D

    What the crap does this democRAT in republican's clothes think Nobama has been doing if not trying to use the bully pulpit! This man is as dumb as Nobama on the debt.

    July 29, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. Andrew

    Am I missing something?
    Obama has made it crystal clear he wants the rich to take some of this burden and not to just screw the middle class like always. Seems to me he has been willing to go against the Dems by agreeing to make some entitlement cuts, he's just demanding the rich do their part too.

    So sick of hearing that raising some taxes is bad for the country and more jobs will be lost. Clinton raised taxes after Bush Sr, and it worked out pretty well. If the Bush tax cuts are working so well, why aren't more jobs being created?

    July 29, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. Mark L.

    Definition of the TEA PARTY: A radical, authoritarian nationalist political ideology. TEA PARTY FASCISTS advocate the creation of a totalitarian single-party state that seeks the mass mobilization of a nation through indoctrination, physical education, and family policy including eugenics. TEA PARTY FASCISTS seek to purge forces, ideas, people, and systems deemed to be the cause of decadence and degeneration and produce their nation's rebirth based on commitment to the national community based on organic unity where individuals are bound together by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood. TEA PARTY FASCISTS believe that a nation requires strong leadership, singular collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong. TEA PARTY FASCIST governments forbid and suppress opposition to the state.

    July 29, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  4. Bill in Florida

    Jon Huntsman was perhaps the only sane-talking GOP politician in America. But now that he's running for POTUS, he's starting to sound like the rest of the GOP nut-cases. Sad.

    July 29, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. Cincinnatian

    He offered $4 trillion in serious cuts. The offer could not be any sweeter for Republicans. Huntsman does not understand the reality of Washington politics.

    July 29, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. catmom

    Okay, I'm really confused about Republicans. What the heck does he think President Obama has been doing over the past few weeks? I mean he has been on TV using the bully pulpit more in the past three weeks than he has in three years! What is it about Republicans who come out and critize EVERYTHING President Obama says or does just because they have a microphone in front of them. Do you all really think the American people are that stupid?

    I would like to know from each of the Presidential contenders what exactkly they would do if the Congress has told you loud and often that they want you to fail, that they won't work with you and that they have no intentions on compromising with you. How would the handle a Congress that wants to destroy you just to prove what ever point they are trying to make?

    July 29, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The Bully Pulpit is aptly named.
    The country is screaming for compromise and you're suggesting that he unilaterally decide this issue.
    The President has stated where he wants to see this issue go, what he will and will not accept. This is where we stand now Jon. Do try and get up to speed. And when will you turn to your out-of-control monster-faction, the Teatards, and tell them to GET OFF their bully pulpit and COMPROMISE, or better yet recognize their lunacy and shut the hell up.

    July 29, 2011 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  8. Rickster

    " President Obama's job approval rating is at a new low, averaging 40% in July 26-28 Gallup Daily tracking."
    -------------
    The only surprise there is that 40% still approve. His record of failure is almost unbelievable. A broken clock is right twice a day but not Barry O.

    July 29, 2011 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. Marie MD

    Hey dumb behind, have you even listen to the President's speeches in the last two weeks or are you that dense?
    This is the FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY that the debt ceiling has been raised with all kinds of stipulations (blackmailing by the teatards and rethugs).
    I thought this guy was going to run a smart and clean campaign. I guess he has found that telling the truth and not hitting below the belt doesn't get you votes when you are running with 100 other "potential" candidates for rethug of the year!

    July 29, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "What have you got against a balanced budget ammendment, Snifft?"

    Because of the way the GOP has written it, it consitutes nothing more than a partisan rhetorical nonsense...a solution generated in an ideological vacuum, that assumes the federal government needs no flexibility in how it runs itself, but rather rigid, immoveable, immutable inflexibility that pays no heed to the realities around us, the circumstances in which we find ourselves as a nation or the fluxuating needs of our society over time. It's a blatant attempt to prevent taxes from ever being raised, despite the quite obvious need for that to happen sometimes and to cap federal spending at a certain percentage of GDP no matter what that GDP is or how it, itself, has fluctuated over time. Add in that the GOP has added questionable interference in judicial functions into the bill, attempting to prohibit the courts from ever ordering revenue increases but allowing them to order decreases. It's patently ridiculous and the only reason whatsoever that it's being entertained is because we're in the middle of a recession and the GOP is spearheading efforts to keep us in economic turmoil as a means of creating justification for the obscene austerity measures they have always wanted, the destruction of the New Deal, the breaking of labor rights and the creation of a two tierd plutocratic society in which 1% of the people have 90% of the wealth and 100% of the control while the other 90% are peons used for their labor and left to die quickly and poor when their useful labor years are over. They've been at it for 30+ years and we're living through the results of all their efforts right now, and the current gov't shutdown threats and debt ceiling nonsense, coupled with attempts to rigidly define budgetary parameters in the Constitution is nothing more than a massive power play on behalf of the 1% they wish to install as our permanent overlords.

    July 29, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. Wes B.

    This is my talking point.

    July 29, 2011 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  12. Mikey

    Thank you Mr. Huntsman for your advice from the cheap seats.

    The approval of an increase in the debt ceiling is the job of Congress, not the Executive Branch. The President has become directly involved in these negotiations for two reasons. First, the potential downgrade from a AAA rating would probably have significant consequences for the Federal Government and individual citizens. Second, our dysfunctional Congress is not getting the job done. If not for the economic illiteracy of the Teabag Caucus, this issue would already have been solved with a Compromise involving a combination of broad spending cuts and selective tax increases.

    The President has used the “Bully Pulpit” repeatedly on this issue. He has also worked closely with Boehner, pushing to a much bigger deal than any Boehner has proposed, which would have reduced future deficits by over $4 trillion. Almost 80% of that $4 trillion was spending cuts.

    Still, the plain fact is: THIS IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF CONGRESS. That being said, I believe the President should present his Big Plan in writing to Congress and to the American people. The leadership in the House and Senate AND the rational majority of American people should get behind it and push it through to completion.

    July 29, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. steven harnack

    It's easy to talk about "goals that everyone wants to achieve", you don't need a bully pulpit to do that. It's a lot harder to talk about the things that NEED to be achieved to give a fair shake to everyone. Over the past few years there has been an unprecedented transfer of wealth upward and now the Republicans want to write the old and the poor completely out of the story. That is the only bullet that they want to bite, to ignore any pangs of conscience or compassion for the people that they are turning their backs on.

    July 29, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. Matthew

    This man has absolutly no right to be in debates with other Republican canidates. He has not earned it. A 1% in the polls does not get you the right to fight telivised debates, however with his billionaire mormon daddy I am sure he will get that loophole.

    July 29, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. Mike kerns

    The last thing I would do is take advice on financial matters from a Republican!

    July 29, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. vic , nashville ,tn

    Wolf Blitzer where ever you go I follow you that mean I follow the political news very close. First time I have seen smart candidate look so dull, idiots are active

    Speak to the car dealer, real estate agent, seniors, veterans they are predicting August 2011 going to be worst month thanks to tea party

    July 29, 2011 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. Len

    President Obama has made it crystal clear what needs to be done. Cut spending and raise revenue. (Close tax loopholes for the wealthy and raise taxes on the wealthy). NOT the middle class and poor. Unfortunately, the GOP is backpedaling and the Tea Party folks have no idea about how the Global Financial Economy works. American people failed to understand in 2010 when they decided to elect Tea Party folks into the House and Senate. We are a very unintelligent society. Unfortunately, we are getting what the 25% of this country wanted!!!!

    July 29, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    It's very simple. The middle-class has to be destroyed because the country's demography is shifting to take away white majority. As far as the GOP is concerned, we all asked for this in 1964 by passing the Civil Rights Act and then later when Medicare and SS were enacted. If the exrtemely rich and their corporate entities can't have SOME of us as slaves, then they're going to just make sure we ALL are.

    July 29, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. Ponder this.,....

    And what exactly do you think President Obama has been doing Mr. Huntsman? You seemed like a decent person until you put on the tri corner hat and jumped head first into the rabbit hole

    July 29, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    Hate to break it to you, Huntsman, but it is NOT the President's responsibility to propose a budget; THAT RESPONSIBILITY BELONGS TO CONGRESS!

    President Obama HAS outlined his goals for our country: Investing in infrastructure, education and new technologies to bring back jobs here in the US and lead the world in innovation.

    The problem lies with the Republicans and their insistence on putting party before country – and their willingness to take us down the toilet in their efforts to make President Obama a one-term president.

    July 29, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    @Sniffit: It's very simple ...

    Gotta say, I always enjoy your posts! Once again, you are SPOT ON!

    July 29, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  22. rhumba

    AS far as the republicans are concerned, it doesn't matter what President Obama does. He could achieve world peace and cure cancer and they'd still just want him out of office. They're a bunch of small-minded, soulless politicians who have no regard for what the majority of Americans want. They've been told over and over again by poll after poll that Americans want a balanced approach to the budget crisis that includes cuts and increased revenues. THE REPUBLICANS CONTINUE TO DENY AND IGNORE US.

    July 29, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  23. rhumba

    Oops. I meant small-minded, soulless, and GREEDY politicians.

    July 29, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    Regarding a balanced budget amendment, I would like to add the following:

    What happens if we are attacked or suffer a series of unexpected, severe natural disasters? Let everything go in the s*it-can? Wouldn't such an amendment encourage our enemies to attack us, in an effort to destroy us from within?

    And speaking of which, is anyone else wondering about the ease with which unfriendly foreign entities can disrupt our country and its political process, via giving unlimited, untraceable funds to groups such as the teabaggers, thanks to the Citizens United ruling?

    It really is quite the stealth plan to have us destroy ourselves from within .... cleaner and no expensive military hardware necessary ...

    July 29, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  25. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Sniffit has it right. This is the right wing extremists revenge for FDR's New Deal and all the other programs that benefit anyone except the ultrarich and their corporations. The insane GOBPbagger cult is vile and un-American in their hate for all that is not extremely rich and powerful. "We care for the greedy, not the needy" are the only words they live by.

    July 29, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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