Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman took his interview Sunday on "Meet the Press" as an opportunity to make his voting record, and stance on the real issues, clear to voters. After taking time on the national broadcast to read a fake quote from the satirical The Onion, host David Gregory asked the former Utah governor if he considered himself a moderate. Huntsman responded that the American people should not "confuse a moderate attitude with a moderate record. "
Dispelling the perception that he is a moderate rather than conservative Republican, Huntsman pointed to his electoral record in the very conservative state of Utah, pro-growth policies instilled while governor, pro-life voting record in regards to abortion, and life-long support of the Second Amendment.
Continuing to present opportunities for Huntsman to distance himself from his party, Gregory referenced the former Utah governor's introduction speech for Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin in 2008. During the speech Huntsman said "We are looking for Sarah!" After playing the clip, Gregory asked if Huntsman considered himself a "Sarah Palin Republican." Huntsman responded:
“I was asked to introduce her and nominate her because I think I was about the only person who actually knew her after John McCain had picked her as a running mate. I was chair of the Western Governor’s Association, I’d worked to a limited extent with Sarah Palin, so when you’re looking for somebody who can actually go up and nominate her, I was asked to do it and I did as told.”
Huntsman continued that while he was not aware of Palin's current stances on foreign policy and tax policy, he still believed that she would have made a suitable vice president and assumes that they were in line with "principles of conservative governance."
When asked about the sexual harassment controversy surrounding his campaign rival Herman Cain, Huntsman said that Cain should disclose all information about the allegations so that the campaign can "move on to real issues."
"This is taking all the bandwidth out of the discussion," he said. "So we're not able to talk about jobs. We're not able to talk about our position in the world. That hurts the American people."
Huntsman said otherwise of the Georgia businessman, that he is a very decent man and good candidate.
When asked about fellow candidate Mitt Romney and his "flip-flop" record, Huntsman said that "what the American people want today more than anything else is a level of consistency, a level of trust." When asked about the Mormon faith that both Romney and Huntsman share, the former Utah Governor said that a member of the Church of Later Day Saints will "of course" be President at some point, but the concern is a nonsense issue.
"There is no bandwidth left in our p0litical discussion to focus any of our effort or time on religion."
That said, Huntsman believes that Romney has "electability issues" in the general election, but would still support him against Obama.
Huntsman insisted that he did not flip-flop in regards to health care, and put in place a market based healthcare reform package in Utah without mandates. When asked if he believed the 2009 economic stimulus was too small, Huntsman said "we're not going to bail out banks anymore in this country," and quantitiative easing in this country has proven not to work. Huntsman said that he was disappointed the stimulus did not "go more in the way of business tax cuts."
Jon Huntsman's full interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday: