Huntsman lashes out at GOP frontrunners
December 8th, 2011
01:45 PM ET
3 years ago

Huntsman lashes out at GOP frontrunners

Washington (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman targeted the frontrunners in the GOP nomination battle during a speech Thursday, saying their proposed solutions to fix Washington are no better than those of President Barack Obama.

Huntsman, the former Utah governor, lumped former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich into the same category as career politicians during his speech in downtown Washington.

"Gov. Romney will say anything to earn the voters trust," Huntsman said. "We are in this mess because there are already enough people in Washington who make a career out of telling people what they want to hear."

"Newt Gingrich is a product of the same Washington, who participated in the excesses of our broken and polarized political system," Huntsman added.

As part of a seven point plan to "restore trust" in Washington, Huntsman proposed putting term limits on members of Congress, a move he said would force legislators to respond to citizen concerns with the same "urgency and fairness" than those of special interests.

Huntsman also said he would ban former members of Congress and other former government officials from lobbying on issues they were directly responsible for overseeing. Gingrich has been criticized by his rivals for his work with Freddie Mac after he left office, a project that earned him millions of dollars.

Huntsman derided the corps of former members of Congress working to influence votes in Washington, saying, "Washington has grown bloated and bureaucratic, captured and corrupted by swarms of lobbyists, influence-peddlers and crony capitalists."

Huntsman wouldn't say after his speech if he thought Gingrich's three marriages would hurt him come election time, but did label the former House speaker the "lobbyist in chief," while slamming Romney as the "panderer in chief."

Huntsman, the former U.S. ambassador to China, who has failed to gain traction in national and state-wide polls, painted himself as the conservative alternative to his rivals.

"You may not agree with me on every single issue," Huntsman said. "But you'll always know where I stand, and I will never waver from my conservative convictions."

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Filed under: 2012 • Jon Huntsman
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. John

    Huntsman... until 48hrs ago you were a good man and could have truly challenged President Obama. However, siding with the Anti-Science Republican crowd and denying Climate Change makes you just another clown in that already very full GOP Clown Car.

    December 8, 2011 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  2. A True Centrist

    Tell it like it is Mr Huntsman. I've said it from the start, you are the person this country needs right now to move us forward. You have it in you to reach across the aisle and bring in moderate Dems and moderate Republicans.

    We don't need a Gingrich or an Obama, who continue to play partisan politics and play class warfare every time they can. They like punchlines and speeches, you talk about the real issues and have presented real solutions...that's what is needed today.

    December 8, 2011 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  3. Steve, New York City

    It is a shame – I actually think that Huntsman has a brain AND a conscience. Of all of the GOP candidates, he and Ron Paul (disagree with them if you will) are the only ones that seem to be motivated by their principles (rather than this tiresome focus on bashing Obama's economic performance (ignoring what his cousin President Dick Cheney left for him), or making dastardly comments about his birth certificate, etc.).

    Unfortunately, Huntsman is far too cosmopolitan and articulate to gain serious traction with the hard-core GOP (many of whom seem to favor "folksy," BLUNTLY STUPID people forced to break everything down into black & white, b/c they're too dumb to critically analyze anything more complex – Perry, Palin, Oral Roberts graduate Bachmann, others). Most of all, many of the latter cannot tolerate ANYONE that is not exactly like them – so Huntsman's religion is another fatal strike against him.

    December 8, 2011 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Whoa! Whoa! Easy there Mr. 1%er polling in the 1 percentile!!!

    December 8, 2011 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Huntsman is starting to get pissed at the fact that his base doesn't "do" intelligent dialogue but they sure "do" stupid.
    Anger is NOT a good look for him.
    Time is running out for him to make his campaign click.
    His only chance is that the Neutered Lizard will do a whole body plunge into something so offensive that he won't be able to extricate or smooth talk his way out of it. Then and only then will Huntsman's numbers possibly climb into the double-digits.
    Pity. Not.

    December 8, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    When is Huntsman going to figure out that he's in the wrong party. The Republican Party that he joined decades ago does not exist anymore. Huntsman speaks too much truth to be a Republicans. While Huntsman may have the most consistent consrvative record in the field, he also has positions that are non-starters with the conservative primary voter. First and foremost among those non-starters is Huntsman belief in evolution. He has a moderate view on global warming, which he has recently tried to dial back.

    And then Huntsman committed the ultimate sin, by serving in the Obama adminstration and praising his boss. When is Huntsman going to figure out that he's in the wrong party?

    December 8, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    Lashing out, does not compensate for having the wrong position on the number one problem, affecting America.........CHINA!

    December 8, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  8. once upon a horse

    if Huntsman wants to lash out, he should also attack his own party and many of the ridiculous ideologies they have that would even allow somebody like Newt Gingrich to be a frontrunner. He basically is the candidate that makes the most sense of the so-called 2012ers yet his own party seems to reject it. The focus to not only defeat but basically DESTROY President Obama with somebody mean like Newt just might backfire in a general election.

    December 8, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    Umm. Jon. Prior to 2010 where exactly where you in this whole "career politican" line up thingy? Former Governor of Utah, reelected to a second term, dropped your consituents like a hot potato when President Obama came calling two months later, and headed off to China for the betterment of your country - and your family's corporate ties to China, whichever came first in your "grand scheme of things" career politican wanabee mindset.

    December 8, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  10. Keith in Austin

    Desperation setting in? Huntsman is generating only 1 percent of GOP support. Time to go back to Salt Lake City John!

    December 8, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  11. Phil in KC

    Huntsman is the most intelligent and well-rounded of the Republicans with a world view. He doesn't stand a chance. The Republican base doesn't want that. They want mud-slinging, rhetorical, red-neck isolationists who will to legislate a religious point of view. That's probably why Romney is having so much trouble right now and why Newt is surging.

    December 8, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  12. livingston

    Huntsman is the only Republican candidate with the intelligence and international experience to pose a threat to the sitting President. It's a good thing for the Democrats that the Republicans are to mesmerized by the circus clowns that are tumbling out of the clown car to see that.

    December 8, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  13. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    He seems to be one who is understanding of science for the most part. I just wish he had more traction in the race. He would be one that could give Obama a run for his money with moderates and independants.

    December 8, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. Gino Martell

    Why is the media not covering Huntsman more??? The three front runners do not work for us the Independents.

    December 8, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  15. ae

    A Paul/Huntsman ticket would be phenomenal. Even though many disagree with Ron Paul's foreign policy, having Huntsman on board would balance that out. Paul's economic proposals are the only ones that will fix our broken system.

    December 8, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  16. Scott O' Canada

    I'm sure the Democrats hope that Mr Huntsman continues to have no traction. He seems to be the only thoughtful and pragmatic of the whole sorry lot. As a small "C" conservative, he would absolutely have my support if I was voting down there. He would be the one to attract the 40% of the undecided voters that control the outcomes of most of your elections. Unfortunately, he doesn't pander to the lunatic fringe of the Republican party. Ergo, is chances are slim to none. I hope I'm wrong.

    December 8, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |