By David Eldridge
Republican presidential contender Jon Huntsman on Friday called President Obama's jobs plan a "half-measure" that doesn't rise to the economic challenge facing the country.
"The problems we face are of such monumental proportion that you can't have half-steps and half-measures that address a monumentally challenging and difficult set of economic circumstances," the former Utah governor said in an interview with The Washington Times-affiliated "America's Morning News" radio program. "You need a big-picture approach to problem-solving that is equally large to match the challenges."
Mr. Huntsman, who served in the Obama administration as the ambassador to China, said part of the problem facing the country was one of attitude in the face of economic tough times.
"There is a psychological component to the misery that we face right now. You've got companies sitting on cash. You've got a lot of innovators who have great ideas but nobody wants to make the machinery work because there's no confidence in the economy right now," he said.
Mr. Huntsman outlined his approach for jump-starting the American economy:
"We need to clean house with our tax code, like I did as governor of the state of Utah. We cleaned out the loopholes and deductions in the income tax. We lowered the rate. We broadened the base. We simplified. We created a flat tax."
As president, he said, he repeal Mr. Obama's health care overhaul law and the Dodd-Frank financial industry regulatory reform, two of the president's signature legislative accomplishments.
"We're going to repeal Obamacare, which has infused tremendous uncertainty into the marketplace because nobody knows what costs are going to be around the bend in 2014. And I would say Dodd-Frank, the financial services measure, must go as well, because that makes it almost impossible to get the lifeblood of our economy to small businesses, and that is capital."
Mr. Huntsman, who has bringing up the rear in national polls of the GOP field, said his campaign is investing heavily in the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary to give his bid momentum.
"We're focused laser-like on New Hampshire. If you want to know where this race is going to go, take a look at New Hampshire. That's the only state that matters, being the early primary state, the first primary state in America. We've gone from zero to low double-digits, knocking on the door of second place. Keep your eye focused on that."