Jon Huntsman said Monday he thinks that when you are trying to defeat Barack Obama, Mitt Romney’s statement that he likes firing people is “goofy” because it provides fodder for the president’s billion-dollar campaign machine. Huntsman also told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Monday Romney has not proven he can be trusted.
Earlier in the day before the New Hampshire primary, expected to be clear win for Romney, the former Massachusetts governor said he likes having the option to fire healthcare service providers who do not meet their obligations.
“Well, if you’re talking about your enjoyment in firing people — if you’re talking about pink slips during a time when we need to be talking about jobs and expanded economic opportunity for people — that would seem to be problematic,” Huntsman said.
“But just look at the political dimension: When you’re up against the Chicago political machine that’s going to have a billion dollars to spend on goofy statements like that — give me a break,” he said, hours before today’s presidential primary began. “That’s going to make electing a Republican very difficult.”
Van Susteren asked Huntsman — who has spent considerable time campaigning in the Granite State — what he would consider a good finish in New Hampshire, if the former Utah governor did not take the top spot.
“Well, let’s just say we have to beat market expectations — you’re going to set the market expectations for me — and as we rise in the polls over the next few hours, your expectations are going to get higher and higher,” Huntsman said. “We’ve got to clear that hurdle that you set for us. And if I can clear that hurdle come tomorrow night, I’m going to walk out of this state — in fact, I’m going to move with a head of steam out of this state — a very happy man because that means that we will have established that point of electability.”
Van Susteren then asked Huntsman whether there was any primary result that would cause him to take pause and reconsider his presidential run.
“Well, obviously, a poor finish — but we’re not going to have a poor finish — we’ve worked it too hard,” he said. “We’ve been too honest and sincere with the voters of New Hampshire — we’ve picked up a head of steam already. I mean, I feel the energy on the ground out there. It’s very real and it’s very palpable.”
The Fox host then wondered what the difference was between Huntsman and Romney — both governors who have other similarities in their backgrounds. Huntsman said one word: “Trust.”
“I have a core that doesn't change — I have been the same from start to finish — people might not always agree with what I’ve done, but I have a consistent conservative record,” he said. “I speak from my heart — I do what I think is right for this country and I’m not going to bury it. And I think that trust, the issue of trust is going to be a central theme in this election cycle.
“He’s a good father, he’s a good family man — I respect him — he’s a decent person,” Huntsman said. “But [Romney] has not made — he has not made an effective case for — for trust in his campaign.”
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