Utah Dems accuse Huntsman of pandering
June 20th, 2011
05:29 PM ET
11 years ago

Utah Dems accuse Huntsman of pandering

(CNN) - The Utah State Democratic Party accused former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman of pandering to the Republican Party one day before he is expected to announce his bid for the White House.

State Party Chair Wayne Holland said Utah voters are disappointed in Huntsman's flip flopping positions on the recovery act, health insurance and cap and trade.

"Huntsman's changed positions so quickly over the past few days it's enough to give Utah voters whiplash," Holland said on a conference call with reporters Monday. "It comes off not as honest, but as a dishonest expression of his values, as coldly calculating political efforts to win over Republican primary voters."

"It is pandering and not consistent with who he has been in the past and who Utah voters expected him to be," he added.

Before serving in the Obama administration as U.S. ambassador to China, Holland said Huntsman was a moderate voice in Utah, supporting the recovery act, looking favorably upon mandated health insurance and supporting cap-and-trade as the "only alternative to a carbon tax."

As an all-but-declared candidate for president, Holland said the former two-term governor is taking a page out of the Mitt Romney playbook, "running fast from his previous positions." Huntsman has recently criticized President Obama's handling of the economy and his health care reform bill.

"People across the country know Mitt Romney for years now as someone who's changed positions drastically," Holland said. "They haven't seen that from Huntsman."

Romney, like Huntsman, is a former Mormon governor with ties to the Beehive State. Both men will visit the state next week.

The Utah Democrats also posted a web spot Monday mocking a Huntsman ad that featured the former governor riding a motorcycle.

"In 1 day. He has reversed positions he took as Governor," the ad read. "Riding away from his record."

Tim Miller, a spokesman for Huntsman, said Holland's "distortions don't pass the smell test."

"Governor Huntsman led Utah as an economic conservative, cutting taxes, balancing budgets, and passing free market health care reforms without a mandate," Miller said. "That is the record he will run on."

Filed under: 2012 • Jon Huntsman • Utah
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Clwyd

    What do you expect? He is republican't!

    June 20, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. gt

    you mean all 12 democrats in utah are mad at huntsman....

    June 20, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  3. Bob in PA

    Ah the Democrats are trying to make their favored canidate look like he is against Obama and a forth right Republican. Sorry boys and girls but I don't buy it.

    June 20, 2011 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  4. Bob in PA

    The media and the Democratic party are working way too hard to build this guy up. As Nancy would say "Just Say NO !"

    June 20, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  5. Oregon Calling

    {{The Utah Republicans also posted a web spot Monday mocking a Huntsman ad that featured the former governor riding a motorcycle.

    "In 1 day. He has reversed positions he took as Governor," the ad read. "Riding away from his record."}}


    Peace 🙂

    June 20, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  6. Christopher from Iowa

    Quoting: "The Utah Republicans also posted a web spot Monday mocking a Huntsman ad that featured the former governor riding a motorcycle."

    Actually the link is from Utah Democrats and is paid for by the Utah Democratic party. Not Republicans. Please fix the error.

    June 20, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  7. William

    "Utah Dems charge Huntsman with pandering" is a poorly-written headline at best, or deceptive at worst.

    Pandering is the offense of "exploiting prostitution," as Utah puts it in its statutes. That is certainly not what anyone is accusing Huntsman of doing.

    "Utah Dems accuse Huntsman of pandering to Republican Party" would be an accurate way to communicate what occurred. How about it, CNN?

    June 20, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  8. Republicans - The "Not Intended To Be Factually Accurate" Party

    Huntsman`s strategy is to appeal to moderate, independent voter while holding onto the republican base.

    He can`t do both and be credible because his record won`t support satisfying both.

    The question is who will be getting the snow job?

    June 20, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  9. once upon a horse

    OK so I guess when Huntsman and Obama meet in a debate he can look his former boss in the eye and say."you were a good leader, thanks for the appointment but now I want your job". To which the president should say "et tu' Brute?"

    June 20, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    They're all going to pander to the base and then switch in the general election to attract independent voters. Once they're past the primaries, it won't matter much to the base that they've switched policies. They know the folks in the GOP base will vote to the candidate with an R next to their name at election time even if the candidate is the devil himself.

    June 20, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    I was talking with my husband the other day about 2012. He is a lifelong republican that actually signed up on the Presidents website, "Republicans for Obama". On election day he made 5 calls that the first lady asked him to. He did say he is not as excited this time to vote for the President but, he will take a second look at him in 2012. He also said he would never vote for a Morman in the White House. He is still a little bias when it comes to religion. I on the other hand would never vote for anyone that restricts a woman's right in the Dr. office.

    Summer Organizer here. Proud to support my President.

    June 20, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  12. Dave

    Big surprise here... All the GOP wants is power and they will do and say anything to get it.

    June 20, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  13. Randy, San Francisco

    Moderate GOP candidates like Huntsman and Romney will find it harder to move further to the right on the policial spectrum because social conservatives and Tea Party zealots will be religiously vigilant. It isn't just Democrats in Utah that notice the flip flopping. Social conservatives and Tea Party zealots will attack these two with vigor during the primary.

    June 20, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  14. D-Nice

    The GOP has made it impossible for their candidates to think for themselves. They have to toe the party line on every issue. No wonder Huntsman is flipflopping. You saw what happened to Newt when he thought for himself, he got smacked down immediately. I really don't see the point in even having different GOP candidates, they all share one brain, it doesn't really matter who gets elected.

    June 20, 2011 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. thomas

    Jon Huntsman works for Kissinger Associates, Inc. , an international consultancy firm that is owned and run by Henry Kissinger.
    So how could Huntsman be accused of pandering ?

    June 20, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |