By Catalina Camia
GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman is calling for big U.S. troop reductions in Afghanistan, hours ahead of President Obama's speech tonight detailing his withdrawal plan.
Huntsman, who launched his presidential bid Tuesday, said this morning on CNN that the United States can go beyond Obama's reported plans to withdraw 30,000 U.S. forces by the end of 2012.
"I think we can do better than 100,000 very expensive boots on the ground," Huntsman told CNN in an interview. And there should be, I think, a fairly aggressive drawdown in the next year. "
Obama will announce how many troops he plans to immediately withdraw from Afghanistan in a speech at 8 p.m. ET. He has committed to getting U.S. forces out of Afghanistan by 2014.
The conservative Club for Growth released a "white paper" today on Huntsman's record on economic issues while he was governor of Utah. The organization gave Huntsman high marks for his efforts to reduce taxes and increase trade in the state but says he has an "inexcusable" record on reducing spending.
"Gov. Huntsman has a lot of explaining to do if he wants to win the Republican nomination," said Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth. "We believe that pro-growth conservatives looking for a kindred spirit in Gov. Huntsman will probably find common ground on trade and taxes, but they will most likely be disappointed overall if he is elected president."