Tampa, Florida (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman said Sunday that winning Florida is “critically important” to his campaign, saying the early primary state will decide the GOP nominee for president.
“Somewhere between Orlando and Tampa, the great I-4 corridor, there’s gonna be a lot of important campaigning, a lot of connecting with the people of Florida, and ultimately I believe the decision made that will determine the next nominee of the Republican Party, and I do believe the next president of the Unite States,” Huntsman told reporters after a 9/11 memorial ceremony at the Tampa Firefighters’ Museum.
On Monday, Sept. 12th, CNN will broadcast the "Tea Party Republican Debate," live from Tampa, Florida at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on CNNPolitics.com and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.
Huntsman chose Orlando for his presidential campaign headquarters, partly - he has said - because his wife Mary Kaye is from the area, and partly because winning state’s primary is crucial to his campaign strategy.
Huntsman also said he is looking forward to the CNN/Tea Party Express presidential debate Monday in Tampa, and said he intends to focus on the economy and job creation.
“These are always good opportunities to have a conversation with the American people, to talk about the issues that really do matter,” Huntsman said.
“There’s a great human tragedy out there in our country with 14 million unemployed and millions and millions who are so dispirited they’ve given up looking.”
The former governor and ambassador also reflected on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, recounting that as U.S. trade ambassador to Vietnam, he was separated from his family and “trying to make sense of it 10,000 miles away.”
But Huntsman said the somber anniversary is also an opportunity “to be reminded what is great about this country.”
“This country is better and stronger because we’ve pulled together. We have to remember that theme of unity as well because when this nation pulls together as it did 10 years ago in the aftermath of 9/11, no one can stop us,” Huntsman said.
Sorry, Huntsman. Looks like you brought a chessboard to a checkers match. You're much too sane and rational for today's electorate.
Hopefully, the Florida GOP will select someone like Palin, Bachmann, etc.
Huntsman is naive. Big Businesses and wealthy donars will decide the Tea Party-Republican presidential candidate.
Good luck Mr. Huntsman in finishing any higher than fourth in any state's primary. No one but the Democrats and the media is interested in another moderate Republican presidential nominee.
Dan from TX- I agree. Huntsman is wayyy too sane and rational... heck, he's so off the trend that he could possibly be The President to unite all people... Republican, Democrat, and Independent alike. Now, we could never, ever suffer to have that sort of sanity in our nation!
Huntsman, sadly, will not get it because he makes entirely too much sense. He's conservative yet moderate enough to know how to meet in the middle. He's way too rational and worse yet, Huntsman is primarily concerned with the big, universal issues that affect all Americans. And he has solutions... workable, rational solutions.... now my goodness, we could never deal with that!
That's a pretty safe prediction considering where the GOTP convention is being held.
The chance for sanity to come to light in the republicans ranks, depends on candidates that can come out of the shadow of the current so called, media appointed front runners. The current front runners, and you know who they are, exemplify the meaning of lunitic fringe. And yet the media focuses on them because they sell space, generating revenue from advertisers. Sad, but the facts often are sad. Wake up, America.
TEA gridlockers = terrorists !!!
Yes, FL will decide the GOP candidate and elect Obama for his second term. But, several larger, overpopulated states will do the same thing! If it were not for the tea party, Obama would have a challenge to face in getting re-elected. I thank the good Lord for the tea party every morning when I rise. And, thank them again, when I hit the sack! I am glad the demos were smart enough to start the tea party. It is working!!!
I am a registered democrat, and have voted with my party in the majority of elections. However, there have been times when I believe a Republican candidate has what it takes to be successful. I see that in Huntsman. He has common sense solutions to many of our problems. Further, I think he can bridge the wide gap between the left and the right. If he is able to attract enough moderates and independents in the primaries, he can win the nomination. If he makes it to the general election, Huntman would have this democrat's vote!
huntsman can forget my vote and i'm sure I am not alone
When I read the topic I just shook my head at Florida being an important state for selecting a candidate. Then I remembered they already rigged one election to put their right-winger in the Oval Office. They have experience.
Huntsman is way too rational to get support from the Republican Party of today – the American Taliban.
IT better not 'decide' the presidency like it did in 2000! with a state full of seniors, you'd think they wouldn't have such a republican problem. no senior in their right mind should be voting for the folks who want to decimate social security and medicare. and anyone planning on BEING a senior has no business voting for them, either.
Didn't Rudi Guilliani go down in flame with that same Florida strategy?
@Dan from TX
Who ever gets the push from the Bush Machine should win the Primary. That didn't hold true in the Gubernatorial Election in '10. McCollum was the Bush designee but Scott quickly set up meetings with Bush where the legislative pay offs were guaranteed.
With that in place, Bush threw his machine behind Scott and Florida has suffered.
If the Republicans really want to be in the White House on January 20th, 2013, this man should be their nominee.
Talking unity to tea-partiers isn't going to get you anywhere Mr. Huntsman. As I see it you have 3 fatal flaws.
1) You're very smart. This does not play well to the average tea-partier. .
2) You're too moderate. You have the ability to see both sides of an argument.
3) You understand the importance of diplomacy and negotiation.
I would say 3 strikes and you're out, but in tea-party circles, one strike will do.
Florida elected teabag Gov. Rick Scott over Charlie Crist. Scott, who's hospital corporation was fined 1.7 billion for medicare fraud, and who pled the 5th ammendment 75 times, has open arms for for teabaggers coming to FL, but not Huntsman.
It's because of Florida that Bush got into the White House. It's a shame to have that associated with your state name. Texas already has enough to be ashamed of with Bush being there as well.
After 2000 and 2004 Florida should not be allowed to vote ever again....period.
Psst, The I-4 corridor doesn't have any teabaggers...you need to go to Naples where they all hide. Make sure you shake hands with our Governor too while you're down there. That should seal the deal.
Huntsman, you are the most sane and intelligent of the current GOP hopeful's which is the opposite of the TEA Bagger requirements.
Anyone really think this country is stronger because of 9/11?