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."