Huntsman in the ‘middle’ in 2012 Republican field
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.
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)