Huntsman: Christie May Be GOP Comeback Story

Image: Huntsman: Christie May Be GOP Comeback Story

Friday, 07 Mar 2014 11:20 AM

By Wanda Carruthers

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may provide a comeback story for the Republican Party, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said.
Christie is "a very compelling and talented political personality. He's at the sweet spot of the American media, the world media. And, everybody loves a comeback story. The comeback story will be there somewhere," Huntsman, a Republican, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Friday.

Christie's poll numbers plummeted following the scandal over the closing last fall of lanes to the George Washington Bridge, purportedly for political purposes. Christie fired the aide allegedly responsible for the closure, and maintained he was not involved in the plan that disrupted traffic on the bridge connecting New Jersey and New York.

Huntsman called Christie a "compelling and talented political personality," and said his role as governor was one of his strengths in attempting to work his way back as a presidential contender in 2016.

"As a governor, you can pull the levers of power and get things done," Huntsman said.

Another potential GOP presidential contender, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, was "throwing out some interesting narratives that capture the attention of a lot of grassroots organizers," Huntsman said. He called Cruz a "captivating" and "exciting" figure in the Republican party.

"There's something happening here, in terms of the Ted Cruz model, that, I think, is worth watching. He is a very talented and smart guy and should not be underestimated," Huntsman said.

Former Republican Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was a "terrific human being" who could have more influence shaping the party's agenda if he chose not to run for president in 2016, Huntsman said.

"It could very well be that he's more influential on the outside and shaping the issues that he's passionate about, economic development and education, which are going to be core to Republican success in 2016," he said.

As for the international conflict with Russia over the future of the Ukraine, Huntsman, who was also a U.S. ambassador to Singapore and China, said the U.S. lacked a strategy and had "completely neglected Europe." He said the ramifications extended further than the events involving Russia and Ukraine.

"This goes well beyond, as the president should view this thing, well beyond just what is playing out in a tiny geographic region on the Black Sea," he said.

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