Politico - Jon Huntsman Assails Obama, Romney for Lack of Leadership

News Article

By:  Jon Huntsman, Jr.
Date: July 29, 2011
Location: Unknown

By Kasie Hunt

Jon Huntsman assailed President Obama's handling of the debt crisis Friday night, sharpening his attack and accusing the president of lecturing instead of leading.

"The president has given press conferences. He's lectured. He's pointed fingers. He's regurgitated DNC talking points. But he still has not offered a plan," Huntsman told the College Republican National Committee's biannual convention in Washington.

He also attacked the rest of the GOP presidential field with a jab squarely aimed at frontrunner Mitt Romney: "And my fellow candidates, and I love them all, aren't offering any real solutions or they are ducking the debate entirely."

Friday night's speech capped the campaign's first week under campaign manager Matt David, who replaced Susie Wiles on July 21 and, the campaign has said, ushered in a more aggressive phase of Huntsman's campaign.

Huntsman, who backed House Speaker John Boehner's debt ceiling bill in its original form, told reporters ahead of his speech to college Republicans that the addition of the balanced budget amendment to the bill was a positive step. "It needed critical mass to get out of the House, and I think that's a good thing," he said.

But Huntsman also said Republicans would have to compromise to raise the debt ceiling in order to avoid a default. "We have to solve this crisis," he said when asked if the GOP should compromise.

The Senate blocked Boehner's bill Friday night just hours after it passed the House by a slim margin.

Huntsman's speech also capped a two-day stint in Washington, where he hit major TV networks to offer more aggressive attacks on President Obama and Romney, the Republican frontrunner.

"My opponents in this race haven't even come up with their position," Huntsman told Greta Van Susteren in a Thursday interview.

When she asked if he was referring to Romney, he answered: "It's true, you've got to stand up."

"This is a time when leadership matters, and you've got to stand up and voice where you are," Huntsman said. "We're kind of at the 11th hour. This is crunch time, and this isn't academics. This isn't theory. This is the real world."

But Huntsman's speech wasn't all serious. Recognizing his young college crowd, Huntsman had his 23-year-old daughter, Abby, introduce him -- and told the crowd to follow his daughters' new Twitter account, @Jon2012girls. "Remember you've got to be a little cautious on the Twitters," he said.

He also thanked the audience for being politically engaged, recalling an event he held with young people in Florida. "I asked if they knew about Casey Anthony they nearly all raised their hands. Then I asked about the debt ceiling and their faces went absolutely blank," Huntsman said. "I'm honored to be in a room full of people who not ony know about the debt ceiling but who are excited and engaged."