Huntsman criticizes rivals in prime time interview
August 22nd, 2011
02:25 PM ET
11 years ago

Huntsman criticizes rivals in prime time interview

(CNN) - For a second straight day, Jon Huntsman is going after his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination.

In an interview to run Monday and Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," the former Utah governor and former U.S. ambassador to China criticized Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, two of the leading candidates at this stage of the race in the battle for the GOP nomination. And he also entertained serving as a running mate to Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, should she win the Republican nomination.

Reacting to Perry's controversial comment last week that he would consider "treasonous" any moves by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to print more money between now and next year's election, Huntsman told CNN's Piers Morgan that "I don't think - you can call the head of the Fed treasonous and expect to be taken seriously. I don't think people who are going to vote for a president are going to hear that sound bite and say that represents serious thinking on the part of the presidential candidate."

Huntsman, who taped the interview with Morgan on Friday, added that "you can fault the Fed, you know, they've only got so many tools with which - with which to draw their policy options. But treasonous, I think, is a little bit beyond."

Huntsman doesn't believe that Romney, a fellow Mormon, is the right person to take on President Barack Obama in next year's general election.

The former Utah governor said he thinks Romney's a good man who has a terrific family "but when it comes to going up against Barack Obama in an election cycle that is going to be 100 percent about expanding the economy and creating jobs, being number 47 as job creator ain't going to cut it. We were number one in job creation. I think that works."

Huntsman also criticized Romney for the Massachusetts health care plan that Romney signed into law five years ago when he was the state's governor, a plan than many people say was the inspiration for national health care law that last year passed by a Democratic Congress and signed into law by President Obama.

"Creating Obamacare before Obama, the most despised and reviled health care legislation in the history of this country, doesn't cut it, and I think that will be terribly problematic," said Huntsman.

The comments come one day after Huntsman said on ABC's "This Week" that the rest of the GOP presidential field had "zero substance."

As for his campaign for the nomination, Huntsman, who is registering low in the national polls and in surveys in the key early voting states, says that "I think we're right on the issues, and I think we're at the center right of the political scale, which is exactly where this country is."

Asked by Morgan if he'd be willing to serve as Mitt Romney's running mate, should Romney win the nomination, Huntsman said "There would be too many jokes about that. No, I can't imagine it at all."

But he didn't close the door to possibly serving as running mate to Bachmann, saying "if you love this country, you serve this country. Every time I've been asked to serve over different administrations, from Reagan to the two Bushes, to President Obama, I have the same, the same answer, and that is if you love this country, you serve her. And so, you know, if you're in a position to better the country, to bring whatever background you have to bear, whatever experiences to use in fine-tuning our future, I'll be the first person to sign up, absolutely."

But Huntsman seemed to downplay his answer, adding that "this is a hypothetical conversation. And I give you more or less a hypothetical answer."

Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.

Filed under: 2012 • Jon Huntsman • Michele Bachmann • Mitt Romney • TV-Piers Morgan
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    What do you expect, he's at 2% in the polls and going nowhere. He's got to try tugging on Superman's cape to get some attention! But seriously John, or Jon, or Jahone, give it up and save your time and money. trust me, it was over before it started.

    August 22, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  2. Jim in San Mateo

    I would hope that the only sane republican in the field would have better sense than to offer himself as a running mate to the wack job Bachman.

    August 22, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Huntsman will not be popular with the GOP until he demands to see President Obama's birth certificate. Huntsman is just not like the other looney republican candidates.

    August 22, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    The preliminary bout has begun. Dont put your money on the underdog, Huntsman. The main match should be better, Palin verus Bachmann.

    August 22, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. logic in LA

    He has lost all credibility with me if he would even entertain doing anything with Bachmann.

    August 22, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. MrManhattan

    Huntsman is rational, intelligent and could possibly make a good President.

    All reasons he has no chance to become the Republican nominee.

    August 22, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. Woman In California

    There you have it folks – there is your (level headed republican). The fact he is entertaining the idea of being paired with Bitchmann. This tells me three things:

    1) he's a racist;
    2) he's a bigot; and
    3) he's a liar;

    I guess he supports the idea of black children being born in a slave household. What a waste of time it was to appoint this backstabber to any position. I hope he falls flat on his lying face.

    August 22, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Huntsman should go after them, they're all a bunch of clowns and they keep adding more clowns to the circus.

    August 22, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. The Elephant in the Room

    Look, Huntsman was never going to win in 2012. He's running to be the adult in the Republican party for 2016.

    Truth be told, no outsider worth their salt wants the Presidency in 2012. The past 30 years of voodoo economics have sapped the economy's strength to rebound and it will take a long time for people to pay down debt, housing prices to recover and people to feel comfortable about consuming again. It is this consumption that builds demand which results in jobs – – tax cuts DO NOT result in jobs.

    The GOP will lose in 2012 and come 2016, the GOP will get its sanity back. They hope to saddle the tough years with all the heavy lifting around President Obama's neck so they can enjoy the Oval Office in times that are not so tough. Huntsman doesn't want to win in 2012 nor does he expect to.

    August 22, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. Name king

    Hey lesson you repugs who who say Obama has make things worse, and the stimulus didnt work.; What happened when the country was retreating 9 percent when he stepped int office, when we were losing nearly 800 thousand jobs a month and projected to lose 10 million before the year was over, when big business was on their last breath and was ready to roll over? By the end of 2009 Obama with the stimulus had turned around a 9 percent decline in our economy which was worst in history, to a 4 percent growth, this is a 13 percent growth which have never happened in American history, he had turned around economy from losing nearly a million jobs a month to seventeen straight month of job creation, he has taken those down and out bleeding corporations from making nothing, to start making more money in American history, still they use the repugs to find outlandish excuses on why they're not hiring folks in America instead they are building china into the most powerful superpower on earth.

    August 22, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. CaliforniaBC

    Running mate of bachmann??? Oh Huntsman, I just lost a ton of respect for you. Why would you demean yourself like that??

    August 22, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. GOP = Greed Over People

    I am beginning to really appreciate the fact that Huntsman, chose to run during the year ALL the GOP right wing tea baggers hijacked the party.

    Any other year, and this reasonable Republican might have stood a chance being nominated and therefore, been a actual challenge to President Obama.

    Go tea baggers and keep signing those "purity" pledges!

    August 22, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |

    Huntmans = RINO

    August 22, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |

    er...that is, Huntsman = RINO

    August 22, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  15. Ed Texas

    Huntsman says it like it is. I am not fond of the GOP but I have respect for someone in the party who tells the truth which is something most of the GOP candidates don't do. It's sad whats happened to the Repub party.

    August 22, 2011 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  16. phyllis

    Mr. Huntsman will not get the republican nod, he is just not known enough around this Great Country of ours........

    I hope no one gets the nod..........I hope everyone pulls out of the race, on the republican side, due to lack of interest..........

    I am a President Obama supporter...............peace out.

    August 22, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  17. ConservaFASCISTS/TEAliban/TEAhadists

    Huntsman seems like the most sensible person out of the GOP field. If I were a republican, I'd vote for him. The rest of the field are a bunch of clowns. And anyone who signs a "no tax pledge" is not servig the country, but an ideology.

    August 22, 2011 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  18. Kevin

    Huntsman is the only candidate out there worth voting for. Honest, sensible, intelligent, and right on the issues, he's the man America needs.

    HUNTSMAN 2012!

    August 22, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Insert typical CNN comments about how Hunts Man "seems like the only sane one" or "is someone I'd consider voting for." Watch out for the phony assumptions sneaking into this line of thought. Just because he doesn't want to stir up Wall St. and science doesn't mean he's a moderate or that he cares for the needy instead of the greedy. He is simply Plan B for the corrupt corporatist cult to pretend they've learned their lessons and will start to care about the poor, the middle class and the environment. I don't see that from Hunts Man. I see a trustfund baby, and former playboy, living off his family's chemical conglomerate billions. In some ways, he's more like Bush than even Perry. Be very cautious endorsing this wolf in sheep's clothing.

    August 22, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Dominic

    I love how being at all rational, or believing in science will get you labeled as some kind of communist traitor in the GOP. How ridiculous.

    August 22, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  21. Bill from GA

    The big difference in Huntsman and candidates like Pawlenty, who had to listen to the polls, is that Huntsman is filthy rich, and can fund his own campaign.

    But that thing about believing in Science, that's a real buzz-kill for repugs.

    August 22, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    Sure he'd accept a V.P. spot on Bachmann's ticket. Did you all forget his "Where's $arah, We need $arah" comedy central routine that was his very own Palin nomination speech at the 2008 Republican Convention? Google it. Guaranteed to bring a smile.

    August 22, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  23. FactCheck

    Let's see, Huntsman is articulate, has ideas that are based on his philosophy of being a conservative, is honest and choses to focus on issues rather than on sound bites. My guess is that the baggers are going to label him a RINO... go ahead, keep eating your young.

    August 22, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  24. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Sounds like a liberal Democrat. Has the Obama stink all over him.... Never should have run. Wasting his time and money.

    August 22, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |