GOP presidential contender Jon Huntsman on Sunday defended working for President Barack Obama as ambassador to China and blasted rival Mitt Romney for criticizing his service to his country.
Going back to an exchange the two had a mere 10 hours earlier during Saturday's GOP debate, Huntsman told Romney he'll always put his country first, no matter who's in the White House.
"I was criticized last night by Governor Romney for putting my country first," Huntsman said during Sunday's debate. "I just want to remind the people here in New Hampshire and throughout the United States that" -- he was interrupted by applause -- "he criticized me while he was out raising money for serving my country in China, yes under a Democrat, like my two sons who are in the United States Navy. They're not asking what the affiliation of the president is. I want to be clear...I will always put my country first. I think that's important."
But Romney didn't back down, saying he believes it's best to serve the country by standing for people who support conservative principles.
"I just think it's most likely that the person who should represent our party running against President Obama is not someone who called him a ‘remarkable leader' and went to be his ambassador in China."
Drawing another round of applause, Huntsman replied, "This country is divided because of attitudes like that."
The exchange was a continuation of Huntsman and Romney's discussion of U.S.-China relations Saturday when, during one of the most memorable moments of the debate, Huntsman briefly broke into Mandarin -- prompting Romney to throw up his hands and say he was "lost."