Huntsman throws barbs from New Hampshire
October 18th, 2011
09:52 PM ET
10 years ago

Huntsman throws barbs from New Hampshire

Hopkinton, New Hampshire (CNN) - Though former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman didn't join his GOP opponents on stage Tuesday night, he did open his dueling New Hampshire town hall by unleashing a string of pointed one-liners.

Huntsman, who is pinning his presidential hopes on New Hampshire, boycotted the CNN Western Republican debate in Nevada to show his disapproval of that state's caucus date. While the other Republican hopefuls met in Las Vegas, Huntsman hosted a town hall in Hopkinton.

Nevada's GOP moved up its nominating contest to Jan. 14, which threatens New Hampshire long-standing first-in-the-nation primary.

Huntsman reaffirmed his commitment to New Hampshire Tuesday, then immediately launched into a barbed comedy routine.

"I was offered an invitation to a game show tonight out in Las Vegas," he told the standing-room-only audience. "There will be sound bites, and there will be talking points, and there will be buzzers."

He swiped the two Republicans who are leading the field in recent national polls.

"I know my friend Herman Cain will likely play the roulette wheel and he'll be focusing on getting the ball on 9, 9, 9," Huntsman said, a reference to Cain's popular tax reform mantra. "And Romney, will likely be staying at Trump Tower, because he's already won the apprenticeship for the presidency."

As he took question after question at the crowded event, Huntsman clearly felt his gamble had paid off. The campaign said 170 people had signed in as they entered the town hall, and many in the audience seemed warmly receptive to the former governor.

Huntsman took questions for much longer than usual, and expanded his opening stump speech to about half an hour - up from the roughly 15-minute speech he has given at recent forums.

The town hall ended a bright day for the campaign, which has struggled to gain traction. Several prominent New Hampshire GOP officials publicly thanked Huntsman for his commitment to New Hampshire, and the state's largest paper lauded his Nevada boycott.

Filed under: 2012 • Jon Huntsman • New Hampshire
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Marion

    As an Independent, I highly respect Huntsman's bipartisan experience. I am pleading the GOP base to embrace his idea of a "large umbrella" republican and pick a person that is electable in the GENERAL election as the state of the economy clearly demonstrates our country needs new leadership.

    October 18, 2011 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  2. Frank Cardenas

    I like Huntsman. What I don't like is that he endorses the Paul Ryan plan to destroy social security.

    October 18, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  3. AZpatriot

    Our country needs new congessional leadership.
    our executive leadership is just fine.

    October 18, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    Huntsman has potential, but he isn't playing well to the ultra conservatives in the GOP.

    By the way.....if you haven't looked at the details in the Ryan need to do that before you condemn it. SS has to be changed, and the changes being proposed, make sense. I am on SS, and those who are already on it, are just fine. The changes are in the future.

    SS is long overdue, to be taken off of the Ponzi scheme.......and frankly that is what it is now, for all intent and purpose.

    October 18, 2011 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  5. Gene

    I have little respect for candidates who boycott states. Bad form Huntsman.

    October 18, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  6. RaulDuke

    I have to say, even as a liberal, theres a lot about Huntsman that i can tolerate, and even like... many of my liberal friends agree! The rest of the GOP needs to stop looking for a tea party president and start looking for a genuine POTUS. Huntsman is their guy, even if they dont know it.

    October 18, 2011 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  7. T'sah from Virginia

    Huntsman is on the wrong Ticket – He should run as an Independent. Not that he's going to WIN but at least he will prove he is NOT like the other far-RIGHT maniacs!!!

    Obama 2012

    October 18, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  8. D.L. Kisting

    I've always liked Huntsman. He seems to have a "mind of own". I doubt he'd bend to either party.

    October 18, 2011 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  9. Douglas

    Jon, if the GOP won't take you those of us in the Modern Whig Party would like to talk to you. A voice of reason is a precious thing these days.

    October 18, 2011 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  10. Jean Sartre Racine, WI

    As an Independent, I too like some of the things that Mr. Magic Underwear Huntsman is saying. However, I live in Paul Ryan's District in the great state of Wisconsin and Mr. Ryan's plan is the same old Republic junk that we have been hearing from them since Social Security began. The Republic Party wants to abolish Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. That is their stated goal for over 60 years. They want to abolish ALL Social Service programs PERIOD!

    I would expect to see Mr. Huntsman quietly disengage from the game show for president, shortly after he loses badly in NH. Mrs. Bachmann should follow shortly after that and Mr. Santorum can go at any time, as he is simply toast!

    October 18, 2011 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |