Huntsman: I'm not going to set my hair on fire
December 13th, 2011
02:29 PM ET
3 years ago

Huntsman: I'm not going to set my hair on fire

(CNN) – Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman repeated his claim Tuesday that poll numbers haven't been on his side because he refuses to engage in political antics.

"We're in the silly season of politics," he said. "I'm not going to sign those silly pledges, I don't pander…I'm not going to set my hair on fire, I'm not going to Don Trump's debate."

And because of that, he said during an interview on ABC, he's still at the bottom of national polls gauging voter support for candidates seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for president. Following the appearance, Trump pulled out of the Newsmax debate he had agreed to moderate.

Huntsman also cited his time abroad serving as the U.S. ambassador to China under President Obama as the reason some Republicans pause over his candidacy.

But Huntsman is banking on winning the first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire to boost his campaign.

When asked if he'd drop out of the race if he is not successful in New Hampshire, Huntsman said, "Losing is not an option."


Filed under: 2012 • Donald Trump • Jon Huntsman • New Hampshire
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "Huntsmans original strategy was to work for Obama, praise him then run against him while calling his opponents too extreme. He would be Obama-lite. Results: polling in the "margin of error". Zero to 1% on a good day!"

    That says more about the GOP/Teatrolls than it does about Huntsman, genius.

    December 13, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. A True Centrist

    Republicans and Democrats,
    I make this plea daily but please, please, please give this guy a chance. Just LISTEN to what he has to say, what he has accomplished in his career and what his plans for sanity are if he were to become President. He has ideas that will bridge the partisan gaps between the two parties and will help our country move forward. Enough of President Obama, he had a chance and failed. Enough Newt Gingrich, he had his chance a decade ago as Speaker of the House and we know the impact those years had on the relationship of the two parties.

    Please, the top two contenders are proven failures and we can not afford to elect a third loser in a row!

    December 13, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    Oh, God ... it only needed this ... "I'm not going to sign those silly pledges, I don't pander…I'm not going to set my hair on fire, I'm not going to Don Trump's debate."

    What a side show of the absurd this Republican primary has become.

    My side aches from laughing so hard ....

    Thanks be to Jon, Mitt, Michele, Rick, Rick, Ron, Newt (and all your supporters ... one and all)

    December 13, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. Jason

    This guy would make the perfect VP to Ron Paul. Plus he rides a motorcycle.

    December 13, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  5. FPC in Santa Barbara

    Huntsman appears to be a smart capable Republican without much prior baggage (Gingrich). Huntsman understands China and all of Asia well and thus will be strong on all Foreign Policy. He has written well thought out articles on our nuclear policies, economic issues-international and domestic. He has a hard to criticize history in Utah as well. Not a liberal at all as some suggest but just not a far right extremist. If he was the best man to be Ambassador to China under Obama (he likely was), that should not be a negative. As for comments on backstabbing, Obama's administration may well have wanted Huntsman to be the high profile Ambassador to China to prevent him from running against Obama in 2012. Thus, I doubt that Obama himself feels as though Huntsman is somehow disloyal. Obama's a big boy-he has served for three years as President of America-he can handle it. Caveat: Huntsman has not been fully vetted as his apparent good sense and reasonable policy statements will prevent him from being a top contender. Maybe we will know more come early February after N.H. But I have been emailing many others to take a look at Huntsman-he may be a good electable Republican alternative to Obama's inability, deserved or not, to get America moving (faster) again. Obama has racked up some not minor Foreign Policy points but Huntsman I would trust to make the best foreign policy decisions for America. Obama may be right on Iraq-not negotiating more with a bigger stick to keep troops there some time longer to deter Iran gaining even more influence. But I am not at all confidant that Iran's influence will reduce just because we left. I agree Iran gained because we were there but that is now history. Huntsman should not be an Independent but should bring the Republican Party back to the Reagan era when even Tip and Ronny would compromise.

    December 13, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. Steve, New York City

    Huntsman and Paul are the only 2 GOP candidates that seem to be motivated by their principles/conscience. The rest of the pack truly look like circus clowns, motivated by hostility towards Obama (in lieu of seeking to fix the nation's ills).

    Therefore, from the latter group, I'm sure we'll have more of their hate-filled (sometimes prejudiced) demagoguery ("You Lie," taking "extreme" Pro-Likud positions on ANY foreign policy matter – even if the particular policy item pertains to a corner of the world in which Israel is disinterested, or making stupid, infantile arguments about why gays shouldn't serve in the military, etc.).

    I believe that Huntsman's and Paul's poll numbers are not that good, because neither candidate is even close to the GOP candidate "stupid threshold" where people like Sarah Palin, Rick Perry or Joe the Plumber are miraculously popular!

    December 13, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. Why

    I'm a Paul supporter since 2007 but if i had to throw my vote to someone else it would be Huntsman. The only man who has some real "world" experience. And by far the only diplomate amoung the GOP. How can Gingrich be at the top when Huntsman is on the bottom. The polls are tools to manipulate the perception of the race. Otherwise there would be less surges. just a thought

    December 13, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. PJC

    I admire anyone who would take the oppositions offer to represent our country, he went, he learned and brings so much to the table, he now takes flack for it. If the republicans go so far right they will not win.
    signed a right wing democrat who would vote for Huntsman over Obama.

    December 13, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Jeez, some of you "Huntsman is a moderate" people are seeing what you want to see instead of paying attention. Mr. Hunts Man SUPPORTS Ryan's plan to kill Medicare. Does that sound at all moderate to you?

    December 13, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. jamison

    Even though I would NEVER AGAIN vote for a Republican after the Bush Presidency, I believe that Huntsman is the only viable and INTELLIGENT one out of all of them.

    December 13, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
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