May 25th, 2012
08:52 AM ET
11 years ago

Huntsman: Romney's language on China is campaign rhetoric

(CNN) - After Mitt Romney's campaign said the candidate would "stand up to China on trade" in a new ad this week, former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman on Thursday said Romney was using "typical" campaign rhetoric.

"This is a typical trajectory, where during a campaign season you're going to talk about China in ways that you're hearing today," Huntsman, also a former U.S. Ambassador to China, said on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront."

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He added: "Then you get in office."

Huntsman was critical of Romney during the Republican primary, arguing his opponent's language on China could lead to a "trade war." On Thursday, Huntsman did not back down from his earlier criticism, saying the ties between the U.S. and China makes for "a complicated relationship."

"It's no surprise during a campaign season, you're going to have people use China as an issue," he said. "Bill Clinton did it when he talked about the Bushes of Beijing. Ronald Reagan did it in 1980."

In the end, however, Huntsman, who endorsed Romney when he suspended his own presidential campaign in January, said he had faith Romney could help improve the trade situation.

"I think Mitt Romney has the prospect of doing that which is most important to the U.S.-China relationship: strengthening our own domestic economy and giving life and confidence to our creative class so we can get back on our feet," he said.

Filed under: China • Jon Huntsman • Mitt Romney
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    The bishop would have us at war with every country around the world regardless of size or why we should go to war. For somebody who sent so many American jobs to China of course it's campaign rhetoric.. St least Huntsman knows China better than he does. Heck, a fifth grader knows more about everything than the flip flopper and can probably think about the lies and untruths he might tell before the mouth is engaged!
    The flip flopper is way over his head. if you can find it rent The Candidate starring Robert Redford. The movie reminds me of this dofus. The character ran without having one single clue as to what he was going to do once elected.

    May 25, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  2. griffbos

    does it seem like many of my fellow Republicans are holding their noses in their support of Mitt.............

    May 25, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    The only thing Gov. Romney is interested in is turning a profit on his investments. I just read it at the Mission Statement for Bain Capital and its' subsidiaries. You cannot find the word "job" anywhere on the entire web site.

    Gov. Romney likes to brag that Bain was profitable on 80% of its' investments. He says it like you are suppoed to think that means jobs were created. No, all he really said was that Bain turned a profit. The Obama Campaign has been running a commercial that describes one of these profitable investments for Bain Capital, where they fired everyone and raided the pension fund so severely that taxpayer dollars had to bail it out.

    The Romney campaign could easily refute these ads by simply providing concrete proof to backup Gov. Romney's claim that he created 100,000 jobs. Why won't they just show us one example of job creation at Bain? They won't even use Staples as an example because most of that success came of they Bain left, and had nothing to do with Mitt Romney. Why can't they give us just one example? Because they can't. It's all a lie. Nothing wrong with turning a profit, but claiming that you created jobs in the process is all big lie, and they know that they have been called out on it.

    May 25, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  4. ST

    Romney will say or do anything in order to win and occupy the White House. I couldn't stop shaking my head yesterday when I saw him on TV at one of black school in Philadelphia, shaking hands with kids one after the other (others giving him left hand!). What was all for???

    May 25, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  5. gg

    america has put itself in a position where china has the power-no china no retail stores-how many people are now selling chinnese goods

    May 25, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  6. madmaninthemiddle

    Careful Governor. You keep making sense and you'll get thrown out of the Republican Party. Gov. Romney understood that – he changed all his positions (including on China), pandered to the right and got the nomination. You continue to be thoughtful, intelligent, and act with integrity – where has that gotten you?

    May 25, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  7. Al-NY,NY

    A trade war with China. A full scale military war with Iran. Russia.....who knows? Sounds like Flippy's gonna be pretty busy

    May 25, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  8. Myviewis

    I watched him last night on Erin Burnett. It was good. Good explanation on China and their developments and how the US needs to stay one step ahead of China.

    May 25, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  9. BLKMANinAmerica

    Romney COULD not improve anything other than his own bank account. He's def NOT the right man for President, and will never be.

    May 25, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  10. Gurgyl

    Mitt Romney is an "idiot". Period.
    PS; I approve this message.

    May 25, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  11. Molly

    Romney will try to LIE and BUY himself into the White House!
    OBAMA 2012!

    May 25, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  12. Critical Thinking

    Obama will LIE and BUY himself to stay in the White House! And also throw his loyal VP Joe Biden under the Obama bus...wait and see.

    May 25, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  13. Tomtom

    So this is where all the rabid liberals hang out. It's sort of like a whinery.

    May 25, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  14. Natalie in MN

    Huntsman was the only voice of reason of the GOP candidates and he's spot on with this. Romney is nothing but a pawn for his corporate handlers. Wake up, middle class, Romney does not represent us. He claims to get to 6% unemployment. How stupid does he think we are? We already know that at the current rate, we will get to 6% without him or the GOP for that matter. Just think what Obama could achieve with GOP collaboration. But oh, no, the GOP prefers to have the White House, rather than work to improve the economy for all of us and not just the 1%. Go Obama!. In our community, Republicans are giving up on their stodgy party, especially the younger ones; it's wonderful!

    May 25, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  15. American

    Romney unfortunately is rhetoric (& constant lies) instead of substance & honest solutions.

    It is beyond comprehension why the GOP did not choose Huntsman, an honest statesman, over lying Romney. Sad.

    May 25, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  16. Pete

    Huntsmans trying not to act too hypocritical,but just endorsing Romney does,doesn't he realize that!Everything Huntsman fought against Romney on in the primaries,he's now endorsing ,I'll say it again,real hypocricy.These hypocritical republicans have no morals,no ethics,they'll sell their souls to the devil knowing they got their twisted agendas approved by these ignorent ,illerate followers who accept this double talk,knowing darn well what we've just got back from ,more of the same deregulations,more cut backs,more economic parils that would lay ahead if Romney was voted president.Huntsman should've stayed at his position of ambassador,he's not a politician,he's too naive,too politically gullible,Romney will use him like an old pair of socks,throwing them away when he's done with them,he's got plenty more where they came from,in the republicans drawer,all worn and used!!!

    May 25, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |

    Willard wants to start a trade war. Not the guy we need in command. I was for Huntsman over all the GOP candidates. Not for his economic policy, because his was just as bad as the rest of the others, but because he clearly was the sane candidate who didn't have to stoop down to the level of the teatards.

    May 25, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    Should Mitt Romney reach the White House, he'll be close to 70 years old after his "first" term. He's already showing signs of fatigue and barely able to keep up with President Obama who has a bit more on his plate than campaigning, regardless of what Mitt says to the contrary. Fact is, it is extremely doubtful Mitt has the stamina necessary to be a world leader, let alone President of the United States.

    The Republican party would have done better to have nominated Huntsman.

    May 25, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  19. Larry L

    I suppose Party ties and "Magic Underwear" are stronger bonds than ideology. Huntsman actually cares about people, wants compromise for the good of America, and isn't an elitist like Romney. He's not a modern Republican. Still, his aristocratic and religious roots won't allow him him to pick the candidate most closely associated with his values – President Obama.

    May 25, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  20. BigTBone

    "giving life and confidence to our creative class so we can get back on our feet,"...

    I'm part of the creative class, Jon. The only time my confidence has faltered in the past 4 years was after the cash infused TP installation of 2010.

    May 25, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    madmaninthemiddle wrote:

    Careful Governor. You keep making sense and you'll get thrown out of the Republican Party.
    I think Gov/Amb Huntsman already knows that he has all but in name been thrown out of the Republican Party. Huntsman should have Mitt Romney's strongest opponent. Huntsman turned out to be the weakest of all of the top tier candidates. Conservatives made no secret of the fact that they no longer considered Huntsman to be "one of us."

    May 25, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  22. sayer

    creative class? That's code for the top 1%/

    May 25, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  23. Citizen

    Careful Governor. You keep making sense and you'll get thrown out of the Republican Party. Gov. Romney understood that – he changed all his positions (including on China), pandered to the right and got the nomination. You continue to be thoughtful, intelligent, and act with integrity – where has that gotten you?

    Wow, you hit the nail on the head! Amen to all you have said!

    May 25, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  24. Ram bud

    If Obama says that Mitt Romney's experience does not qualify him to be President,how come his position as a Community
    Organiser qualify him to be President of the USA. At least Mitt was in a job creation situation wherby some companies are going to fail while some are successful and create jobs. Barck Obama, on the other hand ,has had no job creation skill and yet he says he has the experience to create jobs. He has been at it for 3.5 years now – how many jobs has he created?

    May 25, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  25. keeth

    Romney is scared of the Soviet Union, too. Good thing our friend the Shah of Iran is still in power. Whew!

    May 25, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |