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Jon Hunstman makes his case at the Wright Museum



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ALL THE SEATS WERE FULL on Dec. 29 for an event featuring Republican presidential hopeful former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman at the Wright Museum. It was his 131st such appearance in the Granite State, where he is working to defy the odds in a race led by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. (Elissa Paquette photo) (click for larger version)
January 05, 2012
WOLFEBORO — Jon Huntsman, candidate for the Republican party's nomination as its next presidential candidate, made an appeal on Dec. 29 at the Wright Museum in Wolfeboro for the votes of New Hampshire citizens on primary election day, January 10.

"It's quiet here right now. Everyone else is in Iowa," remarked the candidate. "We have New Hampshire all to ourselves." Referring to the upcoming presidential primary, Huntsman told those filling the numerous rows of seats, "You are the window through which the country gets to see and analyze [the political field]…It's an awesome responsibility."

Huntsman is currently ranked 4th in the latest mid-December UNH poll with 11 percent support, following Wolfeboro resident and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney with 39 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, tied for second place at 17 percent.

Acknowledging his underdog status, Huntsman urged the audience "to upend conventional wisdom" and vote for him, citing a New York Times article showing him to be the most likely Republican candidate to beat President Obama and his own high approval ratings as Governor of Utah from 2005 to 2009, sometimes as high as 90 percent.

While governor, Utah was named the best-managed state by the Pew Center on the States. After his departure to serve as ambassador to China for the Obama administration, it was also named the third top state in which to do business.

Huntsman promised that if elected he would encourage manufacturing and "fire the engines of growth…I'm going to nail that deficit."

During his governorship, he established a flat tax, and now as a presidential candidate he said he supports the Ryan plan (The Path to Prosperity drafted and promoted by Paul Ryan, R-Minnesota), which advocates major changes to Medicare and Medicaid, repeal of the 2010 Health Care Legislation, lowering of income tax rates and the elimination of selected tax expenditures (such as deductions, exemptions, and subsidies).

Huntsman also referred to a deficit in trust, which he said he would mitigate by calling for term limits for Congress, closing tax loopholes, and closing the "revolving door," which allows senators and congressmen to use influence and connections gained while in office to lobby for corporate interests when they return to the private sector.

"I would call to lower their pay until we can balance the budget," he declared to applause.

If he becomes president, said Huntsman, he would also end corporate welfare and "right size" the banks, and he declared that he's "not going to sign one of those pledges (a reference to the Grover Norquist no tax pledge)" or "show up to a Donald Trump debate." He also said that he would repeal both "Obamacare" and Dodd Frank (Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act).

As for foreign policy, in his opinion, he told the crowd, "We don't have a foreign policy that projects free market values. I want to build trust in foreign policy again."

Huntsman listened to concerns from audience members about his health care position, his pro-life stance, how he would be able to lead in the present partisan atmosphere and how he would handle the banks, returning often to his experience and leadership as a governor in response.

He declared that a vote for him would be a vote for change and asked again for their consideration, saying of his main opponent, Mitt Romney, "the last thing we need is a status quo president."

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