Huntsman makes his pitch to college students
July 29th, 2011
09:41 PM ET
11 years ago

Huntsman makes his pitch to college students

Washington (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman made a generational appeal to nearly 300 college Republicans Friday, pledging to create jobs for recent graduates struggling to find work in the slumping economy.

“I don't want you to become disillusioned,” said Huntsman, who keynoted the Lee Atwater Gala at the biennial convention of the College Republican National Committee. “I want you to believe in the system. Your generation is going to be part of the fix.”

The former Utah governor blamed President Barack Obama for creating a huge budget hole and failing to change the culture of Washington, leaving younger Americans "saddled with debt" but still searching for employment.

He chided the president for not offering a plan to raise the federal debt ceiling while cutting spending, leaving the country in a perilous economic position.

“The most powerful nation in the history of the world is just days away from default,” he said, and President Obama is offering little more than “regurgitated DNC talking points."

Huntsman has embraced House Speaker John Boehner’s debt ceiling proposal, which narrowly passed a House vote on Friday evening but was dead on arrival in the Senate. The deadline for raising the debt ceiling is Tuesday.

The Boehner plan would allow for short-term increase in the country’s borrowing limit but would peg a future increase to a Balanced Budget Amendment.

Even with that budget framework essentially dead, Huntsman criticized his Republican opponents for not taking a firm position on the debate that has consumed Washington for weeks.

“My fellow candidates, and I love them all, aren’t offering any realistic solutions or are ducking the debate entirely,” he said. “A leader is not someone who sits on the sidelines during a debate of monumental consequences for our future.”

Since entering the GOP race in June, Huntsman, 51, has tried to position himself as a younger, hipper kind of Republican by highlighting his enthusiasm for motocross, rock music and food trucks.

On Friday, he brought along four of his telegenic daughters - Mary Anne, Elizabeth, Abby and Gracie Mei - to help him make his pitch to the audience of 20-somethings who were gathered in a Dupont Circle hotel for the convention.

But at times, Huntsman strained to connect with the younger crowd. He made a reference to the “the Google” and at one point warned that “you’ve got to be careful what you say on the Twitter.”

In a separate room where an overflow audience of students viewed the speech remotely, Huntsman drew snickers when he criticized the president’s economic record with an awkward play on words.

“We are in a funk, and I am not talking about the musical variety, I am talking about the economic variety,” he said, eliciting uncomfortable murmurs and eye-rolls.

Filed under: 2012 • Jon Huntsman • Republicans • Washington D.C.
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. texan

    $$$$$ Lobbiests + $$$$$ + congressmen = corruption. How can any sane person trust a crook ?????

    July 29, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  2. Grow up already...

    And YOU signed up to support the clown who wasted three days on a bill that he knew wouldn't pass... Great decision making- NOT!

    July 29, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  3. Tex71

    The scary thing is that when a Republican talks about fixing things, he means getting rid of environmental regulations, public libraries, and the minimum wage. Public education and civil rights are not far down the list of evils to "fix" by simply doing away with them. If the current batch of republicans had their way, the USA would look a lot like Central Europe in the year 1351: a landscape scattered with the bodies of plague-stricken illiterate peasants, and a few ultra-rich overlord types sitting in their castles owning all they survey from the tower wondow.

    July 30, 2011 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  4. Ben

    Huntsman is looking good at this point. People need to think about supporting him.

    July 30, 2011 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  5. College_Liberal

    How many of those college students know that the GOP bills calls for cuts to student financial aid. If they are college republicans though i doubt that they have to worry about paying for college themselves.

    July 30, 2011 01:10 am at 1:10 am |

    Sure.Those same students who won't be back at school because wingnuts cut their loans just need to keep their faith in
    those radical extremists who don't want them to stay on their parent's health insurance until 26 years old .

    July 30, 2011 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    At least Huntsman has shown he is unfit for the office of president by endorsing Boner's debt plan. The important part of Boner's plan in his bow down to the baggers was that over 20 normal republicans joined the democrats.

    July 30, 2011 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  8. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Why do republicans lie?

    July 30, 2011 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  9. Marie MD

    You mean the generation that will never have money to go to college? It's funny because I always thought and it's been more in our face lately, rethugs want people to stay stupid and at home watching faux news every day.
    You have embraced the crying boner's proposal? Look at cnn's poll this morning you fool.
    BTW – nice way to prostitute your daughters. You are officially a rethug pimp. You remind me of the governor of the confederacy state of virginy whose sons went to work and the daughter went to see grandma!

    July 30, 2011 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  10. Mike in Texas

    Sounds like he is out of touch with the youth. The Google and The The Internets. Seems like he is trying so hard to be something he really isn't and by doing so is looking more foolish.

    As for the debt ceiling, the President did offer a plan which included 3 trillion in spending cuts and 1 trillion in revenue increases but the Republicans who are beholden to Grover Norquist said no.

    July 30, 2011 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  11. 4merRepubCT

    Sorry, Jon, the younger generation does not think 51 year olds are hip – no matter who you are – and trying as hard as you do only makes it worse. The President has been all over the place telling the public what he wants in deficit reduction; the Repubs aren't providing any notes from their closed-door meetings that contradict what has been said in news conferences. What more do they want?

    July 30, 2011 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  12. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Nice to see Hunts Man practicing his lies before a receptive audience of new corrupt corporatist cult members. Gotta start the brainwashing young! As usual, Hunts Man stuck with the usual false GOBP propaganda about the president being the creator of the debt. In fact, those who live in the reality-based community know good and well that the Greedy Old Pigs are responsible for the majority of the debt with their insane tax cuts and wars. There's a CBPP chart out there that says it all. Search and see for yourself.

    July 30, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |