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Public Statements

CBS "Face the Nation" - Transcript

Interview

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Governor, both Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry said last night that when it comes to foreign aid, that every country should start out at zero and we decide from there who gets foreign aid. People immediately began to ask, does that also include Israel? Governor Perry said at one point yes, that he did. His people later kind of walked that back a little bit. But what do you make of that?

JON HUNTSMAN (Republican Presidential Candidate/Former Utah Governor): Well, it's called sound bite campaigning. These are easy sound bites say get an applause line. The fact of the matter is we're broke as a country and we're going to have to look very, very carefully at foreign aid. But we also have to look at it through the prism and through the analysis of what kind of return we get on our national interests. So when you've got aid money that goes to Israel that's balanced to somewhat with the Palestinian authority, that's important for the ongoing peace process. When you have aid money that is targeted toward expanding rule of law, for example, in parts of the world that don't have it, enhancing human rights. There are certain areas that I would argue are in America's interests and if they're in America's interest we get some return on that invested dollar. And I think we have-- you know, it's fair enough to say we have got to start with a zero based budget approach but let's also be smart enough to say that we do as people get a certain return through foreign aid. We have to carefully identify what that return is, explain it to the American people. But to say we're just going to wish it all away I think is a political sound bite.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Should we-- should we give aid to Pakistan in light of what's been happening?

JON HUNTSMAN: That's terribly problematic. We have a-- we have nothing more than a-- a relationship with Pakistan that is transactional. It's a very challenging and difficult situation. They have nuclear weapons. The hundred and sixty million people with the youngest demographic in South Asia influenced by the Madrassa Movement increasingly being radicalized, they very well could be a-- a candidate for failed nation-- nationship. And I say because of their precarious state of-- of affairs, we've got to have an ongoing relationship with Pakistan that allows them to move in a direction of stability. Nuclear weapons, the fragility of-- of-- of the domestic situation, something that would tie aid money-- I'm not in favor of four billion dollars particularly the money that winds up in the hip pockets of the General Kayani and his crowd. But something that is tied to reform, something that is tied to stability, something that is tied to steps toward expanding the marketplace because in the end in Pakistan the only way they're going to be able to save themselves is by providing more in the way of economic opportunity to their people.

BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): All right. Let me-- let me ask you a political question here before I let you go. Despite all this exposure, despite all these debates, seven out of ten people that we've surveyed say they still are undecided about who they think the Republican nominee ought to be. The people who are leading now can't even get twenty percent of the voters. Why do you think that is a governor, is it just a very weak field?

JON HUNTSMAN: No, I think it's not unusual at this point in the campaign. First of all we're early. We forget, you know, for the political junkies they're all saying how come this thing hasn't solidified? But I think for the most part people are just beginning to tune in. And that's why I like our chances. People say you're going to get lower in polls, you know, what gives in and how're you going to handle this? I say, you know, toward the end of December, toward early January even in a state like New Hampshire, people don't coale-- begin coalescing around the candidates until about ten days before the vote. So you're going to see continuing positioning on the part of the candidates for the next several weeks and then you're going to see the people. When they have to stair down the ballot box, Bob, they ask a very important question and that is, who can I vote for? Who can actually do the work of the presidency of the United States of America? Who has the vision? Who has the track record and temperament?

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right, well thank you so much, governor.

JON HUNTSMAN: Thank you, Bob.

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