Huntsman Steps Up Attacks on Romney, Gingrich

Huntsman Steps Up Attacks on Romney, Gingrich

By Erin McPike - December 9, 2011

With voting in the Republican presidential primary set to begin in less than one month, Jon Huntsman offered an impassioned argument for himself Thursday, tagging both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich as deeply flawed and unable to lead.

In a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, Huntsman laid out his fight against the pair of front-runners thusly: "We have a choice between a panderer-in-chief, a lobbyist-in-chief, and a commander-in-chief." Huntsman has been lobbing the panderer attacks at Romney for months, but the lobbyist slight was new attack on Gingrich, whom Huntsman will face in a Lincoln-Douglas-style debate Monday in New Hampshire.

He added, "The people are getting screwed in this country. Let's face the facts. With the crony capitalism, the bailouts, they are getting screwed."

Within that context, Huntsman offered a seven-point plan to turn around the economy that centered on restoring the public’s trust in Washington.

First, he said he would reform the tax code to wipe away loopholes and subsidies, and he would model his entitlement plan on Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal, which Romney’s supporters defended in a conference call Thursday morning.

Huntsman also proposed congressional term limits and lobbying reform, and he said he would direct the military to bring American troops back from Afghanistan and focus instead on counterterrorism efforts.

The former Utah governor and ambassador to China has been making the media rounds of late and has inched up in the polls in New Hampshire, where Romney’s once huge lead is shrinking. And while Romney and Gingrich battle it out in Iowa with the rest of the GOP candidates, Huntsman will have the next month in the Granite State largely to himself to make his case. 

Erin McPike is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPike.

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