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Jon Huntsman Didn't Quite Endorse — but He Said He Could Support This Candidate


"I just happen to think that this go-round we have a very unusual possibility if he makes it that far."

FILE - In a Jan. 16, 2012 file photo, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman holds a news conference in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Huntsman said he's ruling out another run for the White House in 2016. Huntsman told reporters in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, that he was replying with a "strong no" when asked if he would enter the upcoming presidential race. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) said Monday that he would gravitate toward supporting Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, should the billionaire businessman become the GOP nominee.

"If he's the nominee, I'm a Republican, and I tend to gravitate towards whomever the nominee is," Huntsman, who ran an unsuccessful bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, told David Axelrod, a former operative for President Barack Obama, on "The Axe Files" podcast.

(AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Huntsman argued that it is looking more likely that Trump will win the Republican nomination.

"I just happen to think that this go-round we have a very unusual possibility if he makes it that far," he said. "And I think the chances are better than 50-50 that he makes it to the finish line in terms of the nomination."

Huntsman went on to tell Axelrod that he believes some of Trump's policies are "strong."

"He's strong on things like campaign finance reform and I think it's going to take an extraordinarily unique leader to stand up and say that the way that we're doing this on the campaign finance side is broken and we need to fix it," Huntsman said.

In addition, Huntsman said Trump is "right about bringing aboard a new generation of the best and the brightest and wiping out the old Washington establishment and the old Washington culture." The former presidential candidate said he would like to see a "total outsider" elected because it would be a "pretty healthy thing."

Huntsman, who served as the ambassador to China from 2009 to 2011, also discussed Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.

"When I see her on the stump, sometimes shrieking about the politics of the moment, I say, even as a Republican about a Democrat, 'If people could see her as I saw her when she was in the trenches in some pretty difficult circumstances representing the United States, they would think differently about her,'" Huntsman said.

However, he said Clinton has an "inability to capture the emotion of the moment and to articulate it properly back to the voting population." He also criticized the former secretary of state for her "political calculation" on her switch to opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

During the interview with Axelrod, Huntsman also predicted that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has been considering an Independent presidential run, will not get into the race, arguing that there are "barriers" in the way.

"He's going to look at the barriers that stand in the way of actually getting it done, like the electoral college system, like the difficulty in getting ballot access to all 50 states which is an enormous hurdle for an Independent to get over, and probably the exclusive nature of the presidential debates themselves, which pretty much cater to the duopoly, red and blue, Republican and Democrat," Huntsman argued.

"That's a real hurdle for independents if they're left out of the presidential debates," he added.

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