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GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is taking a page from John McCain’s 2000 campaign and telling it like it is.In an interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper on ‘This Week,’ the former Utah governor and Obama Ambassador to China criticised the entire GOP field — saying they are too radical for the average American voter.
“I wouldn’t necessarily trust any of my opponents” with the economy, he said, citing their opposition to the debt deal signed by President Barack Obama earlier this month.
Huntsman also took shots at the three front-runners in the race, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Taking aim at Bachmann’s “unrealistic” prediction for $2 gas if she is elected, Huntsman said “I just don’t know what world that comes from.”
“If we wanted to talk about [Romney’s] inconsistencies we’d be here all afternoon,” he added when asked about his opponent’s position on the flat tax.
Huntsman, who said he believes in global warming and evolution unlike Perry, also criticised the Texas governor’s threats against Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke: “Well, I don’t know if that’s pre-secession Texas or post-secession Texas. But in any event, I’m not sure that the average voter out there is going to hear that ‘treasonous’ remark and say that sounds like a presidential candidate, that sounds like someone who is serious on the issues.”
Billing himself as a “truth-teller” who will appeal to the broad base of a “centre-right” nation, Huntsman seems out of place in the GOP primary field which is in a race to capture the hearts of the more conservative party base — and it shows in the polls.
In two months of campaigning Huntsman has been unable to break out of the low-single-digits in polls, struggling with low name recognition and being overshadowed by more vocal and visible candidates like Bachmann.
In recent days Huntsman has taken to Twitter to break out to the general public — first using it to criticise Perry for questioning the scientific validity of evolution and global warming, and then to plug his rock and roll tastes.
His newfound outspokenness has quickly made him the race’s new media darling: He is set to appear on Piers Morgan Tonight on Monday, followed by Meet the Press next Sunday.
Huntsman’s path to the nomination rests in a top-two finish in New Hampshire and South Carolina, followed by a victory in the key swing state of Florida. Whether this viral campaign can help him gain traction in the race is as yet unknown, but he’s quickly running out of time.