Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman found a way to leverage his expertise on foreign-policy issues during the GOP debate, challenging Sen. Rick Santorum’s position on the wars in the Middle East.
“As the only one on stage with any hands-on foreign policy experience, having lived overseas four different times, we’re at a critical juncture here in our country,” said Huntsman, who speaks Mandarin fluently and served as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China. “We don’t have a foreign policy, and we don’t project the goodness of this country in terms of liberty, democracy, open markets, and human rights with a weak core.
“And right now in this country our core, our economy, is broken. And we don’t shine that light today. We’re 25 percent of the world’s GDP. The world is a better place when the United States is strong. So guiding anything that we talk about from a foreign policy stand point needs to be fixing our core.
“But second of all,” Huntsman continued, “I believe that after 10 years of fighting the war on terror, people are ready to bring out troops home from Afghanistan, Rick. This country has given its all.”
His statement drew loud applause.
Huntsman is generally viewed as the only establishment-type candidate in the race other than former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. He has focused his entire campaign on winning the early primary state of New Hampshire, where polls show he has surged, and is currently the choice of about 10 percent of New Hampshire Republicans.
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