Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah and former U.S. ambassador to China during the Obama administration, did his first major television interview with George Stephanopoulos this morning. While Huntsman is barely registering in the polls and will face a slew of skeptics over his service in Obama’s administration, he’s staking out some positions that GOP primary voters may find appealing.
So far, few GOP contenders have really argued strongly against the U.S. role in NATO’s action against Libya, a
war kinetic military action that will soon render the War Powers Act dead in practice. Enter Huntsman:
Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, weighing a run for the Republican presidential nomination, says U.S. military forces are spread too thin around the world and he thinks President Barack Obama erred in intervening in Libya. Traveling in New Hampshire, Huntsman told ABC News that Libya “is not core to our national security interest.”
On other points, Huntsman:—Suggested that a drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is inevitable. “We have too much in the way of boots on the ground in corners of the world where we probably don’t need it,” he said.
Huntsman also is backing away from past support for a cap-and-trade system, arguing that the current need for economic growth outweighs the benefits of reducing carbon emissions, and that he backs Ryan’s deficit-reduction plan.
George Stephanopoulos: How about Congressman Paul Ryan and (the) budget? Former Speaker Gingrich had some trouble talking about that this week. If you were in Congress, would you have voted for it?
Jon Huntsman: I would’ve voted for it.
George Stephanopoulos: Including the Medicare provisions?
Jon Huntsman: Including the Medicare provisions. Because the only thing that scares me more than that is the trajectory that our debt is taking. And the trajectory that our debt is taking now beyond $14 trillion is going to have an impact on our currency. It goes south, and our currency’s going to have an impact on our standard of living and affect every family in this country, and over time, our international competitiveness. So what is really scary I think to me and I think most Americans is our debt. And we’ve got to be bold, and we’ve got to have, I think, proposals on the table that perhaps in years past would’ve been laughed out of the room. And we’ve got to look seriously at them. We don’t have a choice. We’ve hit the wall.
Just think, when the week began, a lot of Republicans would have looked at Huntsman and Gingrich and argued that Huntsman was the RINO squish and Gingrich was the rock-ribbed conservative . . .
UPDATE: Team Huntsman sends along a video of his Libya remarks…
. . . and this longer excerpt of the interview:
So, to summarize Huntsman’s positions in this interview, he wants to pass and enact the Ryan plan, wanted a bigger stimulus more heavily weighted towards tax cuts, and wants to forget cap-and-trade until the Chinese and Indians agree to reduce their emissions (which is to say, never), pass a balanced-budget amendment, and repeal Obamacare.
Man, what a RINO.