Huntsman announces presidential bid, warns of 'un-American' future
June 21st, 2011
10:36 AM ET
12 years ago

Huntsman announces presidential bid, warns of 'un-American' future

Liberty State Park, New Jersey (CNN) - Not known for throwing out red meat to conservative audiences, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman warned voters the country is facing an "un-American" future in his campaign kick-off speech Tuesday.

Huntsman took aim at the sluggish economy and mounting national debt in his remarks.

"We are about to pass down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive and less confident than the one we got. This is totally unacceptable and totally un-American," Huntsman said.

Launching his bid for the GOP presidential nomination in front of the Statue of Liberty, Huntsman paid tribute to Ronald Reagan in his remarks. Reagan kicked off his successful 1980 general election campaign from the same spot.

"He assured us we could 'make America great again,' and under his leadership we did. I stand in his shadow as well as the shadow of this magnificent monument to our liberty," Huntsman said.

Huntsman served as Ambassador to China under President Obama, a sticking point for some Republicans. The former diplomat called for a more civil tone toward the president in the upcoming campaign.

"He and I have a difference of opinion on how to help the country we both love," Huntsman said. "But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is who will be the better president; not who's the better American."

The Obama re-election campaign was quick to respond to Huntsman’s announcement speech.

“Governor Huntsman called for a more competitive and compassionate country, but he has embraced a budget plan that would slash our commitment to education, wipe out investments that will foster the jobs of the future and extend tax cuts for the richest Americans while shifting the burden onto seniors and middle class families,” the campaign said in a statement.

Updated 3:58 p.m.

Filed under: 2012 • Jon Huntsman
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Amy Lee

    Huntsman and Bachmann can team up and be the McCarthyism ticket. It's a very sad day when all they have to offer Americans, especially after ALL we have been through, is labels of division.

    June 21, 2011 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  2. Sandy

    "un-American" future

    I'm so sick of Republicans!

    June 21, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  3. American

    Huntsman's support of Paul Ryan's plan lacks compassion to give more tax cuts to the rich off the backs of seniors.
    "This is totally unacceptable and totally un-American" to borrow Huntsman's projection.

    June 21, 2011 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  4. Ferret out the B.S.

    Some good points, maintain respect for each other's beliefs and ideology. Always assume we're Americans first and want to continue working for the good of the country but just have different ways to get there.

    June 21, 2011 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  5. Louisiana Man

    'A country that is LESS competitive, confident and powerful' quotes Huntsman as his perfectly made-up, model-esq wife dubiously and what appears to be skepticism-looks on. All of these rich guys wives are clones of each other.

    He is describing perfectly the near destruction and bankruptcy of our country that his party's predecessor dumped on Obama .GWB did more irreparable damage in eight yrs than all that preceded him and no doubt will follow.

    So when Huntsman attempts to sling his barbs–he best warn his cronies to duck.

    June 21, 2011 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  6. Robert In New Orleans

    And just who are these un-Americans and how will we know them?

    June 21, 2011 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    He's speaking in codes. Can anyone explain what an "un-American" future is? If Republicans wants to talk about the debt ceiling then they are going to get burned. Over the past 30 years, the debt ceiling has been raised 35 times. A Republican was in the White House for 20 of those 30 years, which naturally means a Democrat was in there for only 10 of the years over the same period. So to be fair about, the Republican number should be twice as high as the Democratic total. Here's the score, including the 9 increases under Bush, who was second to Reagan.
    Republicans 30, Democrats 5

    June 21, 2011 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  8. Mr. Moderate

    Calling for a civil tone yet implying the actions of his former boss are "un-American." Yet another hypoctite.

    How dare he try to latch on to the legacy of Reagan. None of these guys compare to him. In fact the party I used to be a proud member of has gone so far off the deep end, that Reagan would never be admitted. Afterall Reagan – raised taxes, expanded the size of the government, ran up record deficits, granted amnesty to illegal immigrants and in the most treasonous act possible for these people, compromised with the other side.

    June 21, 2011 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  9. Charlie in Maine

    “But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is who will be the better president; not who's the better American.”

    The answer to the first question is Barack Obama, the answer to the second is in the eye of the beholder.

    At least this guy is asking the right question. I might actually support him in 2016 after all as an environmentalist I have a soft spot for endangered species. As a thinking Republican leader Huntman is certainly endangered by the Tea Party's "Reign of Error".

    June 21, 2011 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  10. Ferd

    Wow! A Repub that doesn't want to slam the President. I wish him luck, but he doesn't stand a chance. The Tea Party RepubliCAN'TS will eat him alive.

    June 21, 2011 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  11. JD in Moraga, CA

    Funny how he puts "power" before "compassion" and "competitive" before "confident."

    June 21, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  12. Ancient Texan

    I have a little problem separating Huntsman from his former boss, Obama. He keeps touting himself as a conservative, but most of what I've read says he's more aligned with liberal policy. We had one of those run in 2008 (McCain) and he lost to Socialist #1.

    June 21, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "We are about to pass down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive and less confident than the one we got.
    ...Than the one WE got circa 1960?? I'd venture to say that were facing a completely different set of economic, and global circumstances than we did back in the '60's,not the least among them was coming precariously close to our complete financial collapse which would've had global repercussions, and dealing with the threat of domestic and international terrorism.
    I like the way Hunstman has NOT bowed to the "booga-booga he's NOT one of us" Obama theme so prevalent in his Party.

    June 21, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The "less compassionate" part of his speech was a direct reference to his fellow Paty members.

    June 21, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  15. John

    So your family selling weapon grade materials to Iran... not un-american?

    June 21, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  16. FDA

    This guy is smart! He took on the Mormons and conservatives in Utah with a very progressive stance. If he waffles and switches to a hard conservative line, he will choke just like the other idiots from Rush and Hannity's camp. The GOP needs a moderate that will not stand down, they need him to save the party.

    June 21, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  17. Biggge

    We already know the economy is sluggish, what are your solutions.. I am going to need more than Obama did this, Obama did that... Obama is not one of the CEO that get a wealthy person tax break and not hiring....Also GOP Gov.have been laying off State workers and cutting education at a alarming rate...

    June 21, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  18. WasabiPotPie

    That arched eyebrow of his is intimidating. As a liberal I am scared of arched eyebrows. I guess I should concede the 2012 election.

    June 21, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  19. Mike

    Waht is an Un-American? Doing everything you can to make sure that the President fails in every way. Republicans scream that we need to pull out of the middle east and yet they unanimously voted to go there when the president was a republican. That's called flip flopping ( remember John Kerry?). Remeber their crede "Do as we say, not as we do".

    June 21, 2011 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. Randy, San Francisco

    Huntsman must be referring to his own party, GOP/Tea Party. The downward spiral started under Bush with two costly wars and Wall Street meltdown. Huntsman is a just another Romney clone with the same flaws, a moderate Republican who does not pass the social conservative/Tea Party purity test.

    June 21, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  21. retrostar1000

    The republican party is dead. They are called "christian nationalists" now. Nobody will ever take them seriously ever again.

    June 21, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  22. cindy

    Un american? Who is it that wants to do away with womens rights? labor laws?equal education opportunnities? rules and regulations FOR we the people. All these things were hard fought for by us...Mothers,Fathers, Sisters and Brothers. A few think their money can buy these things we continue to fight for,leaving the rest of us to spend our days in servitude to them with no chance to pull ourselves up. Wake up people!!!!

    June 21, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  23. Not All Docs Play Golf

    "Un-American?" Oh, God, that's Bachmann-speak. Who do these people think they are that they define what's "American" and what isn't? They also try to define what's "patriotism" and what isn't. It's really nauseating McCarthyism reborn by people too young to know the dangers of McCarthyism. The Republican agenda has devolved to a level where their whole intent is to have an intolerant fundamentalist religious theocracy where if you publicly doubt that a guy named Jonah really spent 3 days in the belly of a whale, you'll be burned at the stake for heresy and "Un-Americanism.".

    June 21, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  24. Sniffit

    "We already know the economy is sluggish, what are your solutions.. "

    His solutions? He signed on whole-hog for implementing the Ryan budget and repealing and replacing Medicare with Ryan's CouponCare Crapshoot. It's not even debateable: the explicitly lauded the CouponCare program.

    June 21, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |