Huntsman in the ‘middle’ in 2012 Republican field

August 22, 2011

Jon Huntsman is counting on right-of-center politics to give him an advantage  in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination,   despite polls showing him trailing far behind  the favorites in a crowded field.

He says Democrat Barack Obama is too far to the left and the president’s other Republican opponents are too far to the right.

“This country is crying out for a sensible middle ground. This is a center-right country; I am a center-right candidate,” the former Utah governor said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour.”

“We’ve found ourselves at the extreme ends of the political spectrum, and people are crying out for us to get back to some level of sensibility,” said Huntsman, Obama’s former ambassador to China.

Huntsman said “sideshows,” “finger pointing and name-calling” distract from what candidates should be talking about — their ideas for fixing the economy and creating jobs.

Republican rivals Texas Governor Rick Perry and Minnesota congressman Michele Bachmann — both strongly outspoken fiscal and religious conservatives — stir up excitement among the party’s base.

But attracting the independent voters a Republican candidate will need to win the general election could prove difficult for the two party favorites.

“I think when you find yourself at an extreme end of the Republican Party, you make yourself unelectable,” said Huntsman, when asked whether he thought Perry could prevail in the general election.

About Bachmann’s recent $2-a-gallon gasoline promise, Huntsman said: “I just don’t know what — what world that comment would come from, you know?  We live in the real world. It’s grounded in reality. And gas prices just aren’t going to rebound like that.”

Perry averages about 18 percent in the polls, behind frontrunner  Mitt Romney. Bachmann averages 9.6 percent  and Huntsman trails with an average of 2.2 percent support.

With numbers like that, how long can he consider himself to be a viable candidate?

“Stay tuned,” he said, adding that he likes where he is and is confident his poll numbers will get better.

“But I’m even more confident that the message that we bring to this race, that of a center-right message for a center-right country that is looking for commonsense solutions and a leader who’s actually been there and done that in the marketplace and can apply those same principles now to a nation that so desperately needs it, that’s where we are,” Huntsman said. “And I think that’s the message that’s going to attract people.”

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Scottt Audette (Huntsman at campaign headquarters in Orlando, Fla.; ) REUTERS/Brian Snyder (Perry in Portsmouth, NH)


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I would vote for Huntsman if he would publicly renounce Mormonism.

Posted by M.C.McBride | Report as abusive

Once again Reuters pretends that Ron Paul does not exist — or have huge popular support. HUNTSMAN??? One more establishment political hack with no following or appeal whatsoever. Loves war, loves the Fed, supports the bailouts — more of the same right down the line. He says politician should be offering plans to fix the economy. Where’s his? Fugedaboudit. The guy is a total nonstarter. Ron Paul, on the other hand . . . would be THE frontrunner, if the media wasn’t deliberately trying to suppress information about him.

Posted by Dabooda | Report as abusive

Mr Huntsman is far too reasonable to be nominated by the tea-party corrupted GOP. He has also shown himself to be a pragmatist with his climate change policies, pragmatism will not get you far in the current GOP. You have to have lots of rhetoric and catch phrases, just what we want from our elected officials.

Posted by USAPragmatist | Report as abusive

MC McBride, if you don’t agree with the US Constitution, which clearly bars religion from government policy, perhaps you should move to a theocratic state like the Vatican.

Posted by sooku | Report as abusive

USAPragmatist, I would love a Perry nomination, because Obama will win. If the GOP has no room for common sense, Huntsman should run for the Democratic nomination in 2016.

Posted by sooku | Report as abusive

Better Hunstman than me. I wouldn’t want to be in the middle of that pack of Republican jackals as they all seem poised to eat their own.

Posted by seattlesh | Report as abusive

Huntsman is the only person acting like an adult in the race at this time. Paul is too old, let’s just face it. He would be 77 when sworn in. The WH belongs to a new generation. It’s just a fact, look at the demographics of who voted for Obama in the last race. This is the post-WW II generation, wacky though it may be. Hopefully enough moderates will come out and bring things back to the middle, where it belongs. I agree with you Seattlesh, better anyone than me. Wait until Palin jumps in the race here in a few weeks. The circus atmosphere will truly take on a life of its own at that point.

Lastly, I agree with sooku. McBride, you might take a look at the Constitution for guidance on religious matters. Harry Reid doesn’t insinuate his religion into his politics. He’s an ineffective leader. Generally harmless, regardless of religion, in other words.

Posted by IndependentHT | Report as abusive