Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman says he supports House Speaker John Boehner’s deficit-reduction plan and would vote for it if he was a member of Congress because it “is the only act in town.” The presidential hopeful also told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Thursday the fact Congress has waited to the 11th hour to finalize a plan to fend off hitting the debt ceiling “is what people hate about Washington.”
“I think the Boehner [plan] is the only act in town and it is sound given any other alternative. It cuts and allows us to meet our obligations — and most importantly it begins to meet our budget — I think it would be terribly important for this country,” said Huntsman, who also served as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China.
“And it also envisions looking at a competitive tax code longer term and that is terribly important for the overall competitiveness in the country. The Boehner plan gets us short term to be where we need to be and gets the issues queued up to begin discussing them seriously,” he said. “Also, I have to say, Greta, that discussing the extent of the cuts and where we need to be during the 2012 election is a very important thing that the country should be doing.”
Van Susteren noted that those that oppose the bill, particularly members or supporters of the tea party movement, have a problem with the proposal because it is a two-part process and they think it is “a Band-Aid, not a solution.”
“This is what people hate about Washington — the fact that something this important to our wellbeing and overall economic competitiveness is delayed until the 11th hour,” Huntsman said. “The president has shown no leadership and doesn’t have a plan on the table. My opponents in the race haven't even come up with what they support.
“You’ve got to stand up — time when leadership matters and stand up and voice where you are,” he said. “This is crunch time and this isn’t academics or theory — this is the real world — we need to meet our obligations . . . That is important number one.
“Number two, getting cuts — we’ve got to get on with this cancer that has taken over this country — we need to cut it out and radiate it and excise it,” Huntsman said. “This cancer has taken over the country and we need to do something about it — and the Boehner at least begins that process of cutting that I think is terribly important.”
Van Susteren asked how Huntsman justified his opinion change on Obama, having called him in a 2009 letter “remarkable,” but recently tweeting that his dealing with the economy was “reckless.”
“He was starting his administration — I was raised to be a gracious person — I thought it was remarkable that he put a Republican in his administration,” Huntsman said. “He puts in a Republican — high hopes and high . . . expectations — sadly today we don’t have the leadership.”
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