(CNN) – Former New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu has narrowed down his picks for president in 2012 to three men who have held the same job in other states - Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, should Perry throw his hat in the ring.
The Granite State Republican stalwart, who served as chief of staff for former President George H.W. Bush, said he is partial to those with executive experience because “you need more experience than being a community organizer to run this country.”
Sununu and his son, former New Hampshire Sen. John E. Sununu, both appeared Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Candy Crowley. The younger Sununu said governors are attractive because of their “chief executive experience, leadership, decision-making, handling all the aspects of the budget, dealing with different political constituencies.”
When asked about all-but-declared candidate Jon Huntsman, a former governor of Utah who most recently served as President Obama’s U.S. Ambassador to China, the elder Sununu said, “Well I only support Republicans.”
“He fawned over Obama to the point where he sounded like he should have been on MSNBC,” he said of Huntsman, who is a Republican.
“Every candidate has an issue, but he seems to have a collection of issues,” Sununu added, referencing his stances on cap and trade, health care and civil unions.
Huntsman defended some of those positions earlier on “State of the Union,” plugging his health care plan in Utah that was devoid of a mandate and defending his stance on civil unions.
“I favor civil unions,” Huntsman said. “I don’t think we have done enough in the name of equality in the area of, or at reciprocal beneficiary rights.”
The younger Sununu said those issues will prove problematic in the Republican primaries, the first of which is held in New Hampshire.
“Jon Huntmsan has weaknesses on some substantive issues but the fact that he's served in a Democratic administration makes it a little tough in a Republican primary,” Sen. Sununu said.
Looking ahead to Monday night’s CNN/WMUR/New Hampshire Union Leader presidential debate, the elder Sununu said it’s “intro night, not decision night.” His son said it will give Pawlenty the opportunity to paint the primary as a two man race with Romney.
CNN hosts the first New Hampshire Republican presidential debate on Monday from Manchester at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on CNNPolitics.com and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.
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