Huntsman plays 'Hit the Road Jack' to Obama
August 8th, 2011
08:05 AM ET
11 years ago

Huntsman plays 'Hit the Road Jack' to Obama

Charleston, South Carolina (CNN) - After taking tough questions on the economy and his conservative credentials in South Carolina, Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman took to the keyboard with a rendition of "Hit the Road Jack" aimed at President Barack Obama, in an attempt to hit a high note with voters in the state.

The former Utah governor, U.S. ambassador to China and pianist visited the first southern primary state to speak at a town hall hosted by leading tea party figure GOP Rep. Tim Scott and co-sponsored by the local Republican Party and tea party groups.

If the questions posed at the Sunday night town hall are any indication of what's on the minds of primary voters in the Palmetto State, it's the economy.

Someone in the 200-person audience yelled "amen" when Huntsman, reflecting on the recent U.S. downgrade from Standard & Poor's, declared "we're in a really bad place."

"It breaks my heart that we're even having this conversation. It breaks my heart to have S&P step in and give us a thumbs down yesterday," Huntsman said. "We're in a bad situation right now."

That's how the former CEO and businessman defended his support for the debt-ceiling deal backed by Obama and congressional leaders. Huntsman added, "I thought it was important we not default."

With the submitted questions focusing primarily on the economy, rising freshman Rep. Scott, who served as the moderator, asked Huntsman about his position on civil unions, his support of which puts him to the left of many social conservatives.

However, in his opening remarks he illustrated his pro-life position in personal terms, with his 12-year-old adopted daughter from China, Gracie Mei, by his side. With one arm wrapped around her, he said, "I don't need to tell you that I'm glad that her mom chose life, because she's got something to show for it. And every day I look at her and I think, that's a special human being. Her mom didn't have to do that."

For many people in the audience, this was the first time they came face-to-face with a 2012 White House contender.

One man caught Huntsman outside as the two were walking out. He told him he liked what he heard in the town hall but admitted he didn't like some of Huntsman's positions.

With a smile and a pat on the shoulder, Huntsman quipped, "My wife doesn't like everything either, but what can you do?"

Filed under: 2012 • Jon Huntsman • South Carolina
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. ABM

    The song should be played to the right wing nut jobs and the tea party. They made this situation worse for this country.

    August 8, 2011 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  2. ConservaFASCISTS/Dutch, Bad Newz VA

    "We're in a bad situation right now."
    We are! And you can blame it all on the Teahadists in the House.

    August 8, 2011 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  3. hilroy


    President Obama appointed this ungrateful man as Ambassador to China now he is stabbing him in the back with his "hit the road Jack"

    August 8, 2011 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  4. bb

    Jon Who-sman has some nice teeth. Too bad over half the country hasn't been able to afford a dental check up for the past 5 years...We don't need no tired old songs. We need jobs. Republicans where are the jobs? Where are your detailed plans? They should be out front and center for us to even consider you.

    August 8, 2011 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  5. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    I guess when your chances of winning the nomination are dim, then the best thing you can do is go after your old boss who at one time you called a "great leader". Nothing worse than a turncoat.

    August 8, 2011 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  6. Biggge

    This is the issue, while we are sinking guys like this is playing game and songs.. Everyone saw how the issue has started, the House GOP has sunk the market.. While you guys continue the Obama hate, we all were punished.. Great job GOP, what a way to bring do a Nation....You all should be so proud... by the way were is Bohnier, is the the 98 % he bragged he got in the debt talks....

    August 8, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  7. debby

    Huntsman and the Gop/TP, are soooo "Clearly" playing the political game,it,s "Laughable". The USA has been "Dooped" by the Right Wing for 10 years now???? Why some Americans( if you can call them that) do not GET THE FACT, that all this "Calamity" started "When Bush was POTUS!!!! Any "Moron" that thinks Bushes Wallstreet Gambling Casinos,and two 10 year wars "Costing Billions a Week" is Astonishing????? The Lack of knowledge of these "Religious Freaks in this country, is "Mind Boggaling?????? WoW! Get a "Brain"!! Does "anybody" remember the Southern Evangelic "Terror" of the "Civil Rights Years" My God????

    August 8, 2011 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  8. johnmenacherjr

    wow how utterly not clever.

    August 8, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  9. johnmenacherjr

    So anyone in the republican oparty – how about those jobs???

    August 8, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  10. Marie MD

    Here's one for you huntsman . . . What a fool believes!
    How sweet of you tombring your adopted daughtef with you. Anithef sidelindd morning quarterback.

    August 8, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  11. Louisiana Man

    The only problem with 'Hit the Road Jack' is that it was written by Ray Charles and doubt whether permission would be granted to use it as a theme song to oust Obama. BTW- it may very well be HIS swan song.

    August 8, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |