Jon Huntsman said Friday the New Hampshire primary will be the “market-moving event” that finally pulls him out of the basement and puts him on top in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. The former Utah governor has been concentrating his campaign on the Granite State, where he believes voters are beginning to respond to his economic proposals.
Huntsman has already held more than 100 events in New Hampshire — where rival Mitt Romney has been considered the front-runner as he was once governor of neighboring Massachusetts — and plans many more before the GOP primary Jan. 10.
“The fact that we’re lower in the polls doesn’t mean anything . . . New Hampshire is where the action is going to be,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“You’ve got to have a market-moving event — New Hampshire will be a market-moving event,” he added when asked what it would take to elevate his candidacy to national prominence.
Huntsman said he’s been picking up steam lately as more people learn about his economic plan, which calls for new tax rates ranging from a low of 8 percent to a maximum of 23 percent and eliminates many credits and deductions. He described it as a confidence-building proposal that would help right the nation’s economy.
Some Republicans have dismissed Huntsman as a serious GOP candidate because he accepted the job of U.S. ambassador to China under President Barack Obama.
But he offered no apologies during his appearance on Morning Joe, saying that it was simply his duty to serve as a patriotic American. He said it was the right thing to do and he would do it again. Huntsman, however, made it clear that he disagrees with many of the president’s policies.
“He has failed us on the economic front . . . our home here is crumbling, our core is broken , and that is where he has failed us,” he said.
Huntsman added that a president only has a “two-year window” to get things done before the politics of running for re-election gets in the way.
“He has two years . . . and the door is closing,” he said, adding that no matter what Obama says or does now: “Nobody is listening, nobody cares.”
Asked about how he would deal with Iran, Huntsman said he would keep all options on the table, including military action if necessary to prevent the country from “going nuclear.”
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