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BLITZER’S BLOG: Huntsman calls for civility in presidential race
June 21st, 2011
01:54 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: Huntsman calls for civility in presidential race

(CNN) – Here’s what I especially liked about Jon Huntsman’s presidential announcement in front of the Statue of Liberty. He called for some civility in the race for the White House.

Unlike several of the other Republican candidates, he did not open with a blistering assault on President Obama.

Instead, Huntsman said this: “We will conduct this campaign on the high road. I don’t think you need to run down someone’s reputation in order to run for the office of president. Of course, we’ll have our disagreements. That’s what campaigns are all about. But I want you to know that I respect my fellow Republican candidates. And I respect the President of the United States.”

He then pointedly added: “He and I have a difference of opinion on how to help a country we both love. But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is who will be the better president; not who’s the better American.”

Maybe we should not be surprised by that positive tone. Huntsman, after all, gave up his job as Governor of Utah when President Obama asked him to serve as U.S. Ambassador to China – a job Huntsman, by all accounts, did well. I don’t know if his campaign will resonate with the Republican base. It’s way too early to tell. But in the short term, let’s see if his high road has an impact on his GOP rivals.

RELATED: Huntsman announces presidential bid, warns of 'un-American' future

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Filed under: 2012 election • Jon Huntsman • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Florencio Mendiola Jr.

    Are there any decent human beings in our country that can run for president and do the right things for the country as a whole and not allow themselves to become corrupt by "politics?" Every election time, this process makes me sick to my stomach. Are there any men of true honor anymore? I guest money does in fact corrupts a man's heart, maybe a woman president could turn things around. I can only remain hopeful about a woman president but I must actually see it to believe because the hunger for money can corrupt a "holy Man" just as easily. Only time will tell all.

    June 30, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  2. Florencio Mendiola Jr.

    The fact is there is not one single decent individual among all the candidates worth voting for including the "War Monger" President Obama. The constitution needs to be amended to allow another party besides Democrats and Republicans. I am against all these war actions in the middle east because its destroying our country. President Obama reminds me so much of the other black man who some how ended up in the United States Supreme Court, you know that guy that was being investigated for sexual harassment and got appointed the the U.S. Supreme Court. Both of these black men could care less about the rest of the black american population, they just pretend to! I'm not black but I can see it and feel it where it matters the most.

    June 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  3. Jim

    What's with all the Huntsman articles on Ticker? Does he own part of CNN or something?

    June 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  4. gb0423

    his approach will only have an impact on GOP rivals if it has an impact on people like Roger Ailes...it is he who gives the GOP their marching orders of the day via his drug addled mouthpiece, Rush Limbaugh....as a former Republican now gladly affiliated with no party, I don't see that happening...and I don't see Huntsman even getting through the early "red meat" primary states

    June 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
  5. Olu Solaru

    Forget about 2012, Obama has it in the bag. Huntsman is a good candidate, but by the time the repubs are done with him in the primaries, he'll be pooping out of two u know whats. He'll be too weakened, I don't see a Michelle Bachman rallying around him. Merely for the fact that he worked for Obama. This is a take no prisoners republican party. However I think that Huntsman will be so well-liked that he'll have a better chance in 2016, when Jeb Bush or a John
    Thune might test the waters. In other words, Huntsman will end up being the Walter Mondale of the Republican party. Either way Huntsman is a done, but he doesn't know it yet.

    June 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
  6. Dean

    Well if you are one of the intelligent I would not talk too much. After your candidate wwas elected the country is almost beyond help.

    June 21, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  7. Gaucho420

    Here, here on the civility and the need for more. I'm a Dem and I will certainly listen to this man, as he earned my respect by simply staying civil and not running down Obama as a Bolshevik.

    June 21, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  8. Bob Ramos

    Even though I am a firm Democrat, I like this guy. He puts country above politics; he does not start by tearing down President Obama and he appears to have some answers to our present problems. Specifics and not generalities.

    Of course, the right wing wackos will be tearing him down because he served as Ambassador to China under Obama; because he is not a destroyer and because he does not fit the mould that Gingrich, Bachmann and the others do. Hope he gets the GOP nomination and gives us a real choice.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Jim

      I agree with you Bob. I'm a Democrat too. Unfortunately I believe that Mr. Huntsman will be a victim of the uncompromising attitude of the Tea Party influence of the Republican Party. Very unfortunate for our country.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  9. mm

    I did not think the Tea Party would have such an influence in 2010. If it weren't for them and the rest of the functionally illiterate, we might actually have a debate. CNN needs to continue to write their articles on an 8th grade reading level so the anti Muslim socialists will have a chance at comprehension. Obama/Biden 2012!

    June 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  10. David Soares

    Politics has never been "civil" and if it became "civil" it wouldnt be fun anymore.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  11. Robb

    Finally, someone on the Republican side I may be interested in. At least he's not a total whacko like so many of them, or so far right as to be unelectable. The middle controls the election and we aren't going far right folks, so if the Republicans want to field a far right candidate you can kiss the election goodbye. I think you should all be really happy this guy's in the race. He's the only one that any independent will vote for and you aren't going to carry any election without us.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  12. Joshua

    I see fear in the hearts of the MSM. Which is great. They realize Obama is a one term president. Polling numbers show he will lose to just about anybody. Their only hope is that they get the weakest person nominated for the republican ticket. When CNN endorses someone for the republican nomination, it's time to look elsewhere. The republicans don't need their enemy picking their candidates.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Doug Loewis

      That's actually not true. GOP candidates thus far have never outpolled Obama. It's close in some cases, but you're just making stuff up.

      June 21, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
  13. D Brown

    The republicans are now grasping at straws. Not one of the people who will try and run against Obama could win. Hunstman looks good on paper.But there is no substance..The best thing he could do is write a book on how he lost the primary..

    June 21, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  14. Tim from CT

    Huntsman could have a shot here. He seems to really have spent a lot of time figuring out where he fits in this primary, which must be why he sat out of the CNN debate. He could definitely win New Hampshire, which has a Republican base more concerned with fiscal responsibility, rather than social conservatism. Romney's record should have been good enough to carry him through the nomination and have a great shot at the general election, but he's constantly reconfiguring his image and proving that he's your stereotypical politician that everyone is sick and tired of. Huntsman seems to be pretty true to himself. I love that he's not backing away from his support of civil unions and climate change. I think he would easily have the best chance against Obama.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  15. robert

    Check statements his brother has made while selling Chem's to Irain

    June 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Carrieann

      I was really confused, and this answered all my qustenios.

      June 30, 2011 at 5:19 am |
  16. Chris H

    Well! He got the CNN seal of approval, and with any kind of luck Gore will put in a good word in for him as well. (as he did for Perry & Romney)

    No more squishy Republicans, please! The Republican establishment gave us McCain and Dole in 2 of the last 3 elections. You saw the results.

    It's time for fundamental change. 15 Trillion in debt is enough, thank you.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Tim

      I thought I was the only one seeing the established media doing everything they can to push this guy into the lime light. Did they cover Polenty or Perry like this? Nope. They didn't cover Bachman like this either. Funny that the most liberal republican candidates, and the ones with the strangest religions, are being pushed by the lame stream media. It's not a coincidence.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
      • T3chsupport

        That's because anyone who isn't a complete idiot already knows that Bachman, Perry, and Palenty are either complete jokes, or simply have no chance. I've seen articles about all 3 of them on here, so it's not like people don't know about them. They just don't care that much.

        June 21, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
      • rob

        Blitzer and the other Old Liberal Media like him now because he is "Civil", as Blitzer says "Unlike the other Republican candidates". Republicans need to be "Civil" according to Blitzer, I guess Dems never resort to a "Blistering Asualt" when talking about their opponemts. I don't hear any sanctimonous criticism whem Waser-Schultz calls Rep Ryan and Republicans killers for putting forth a serious budget that attemps to seriously reform Medicare. Wait till he wins some primaries, lets see how Blitzer treats covers him then. This is so predictable from the OLD media, thakfully we have many other sources of information to make intelligent decisions about our future leaders.

        June 21, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  17. Ah C'mon already

    Forget it Huntsman. You won't even get civility from your own party towards YOU much less Obama. Take a read at Bob the Genius from PA's comments for a small taste.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  18. Irma in North Carolina

    That's different coming from a republican, but he wont make it, cause he is a mormon, Mitt didnt make it last time because of that and it will hold him back this time. Wonder what the republican candidates think of that? First thing out of their mouth is something against the president. Lets see if he sticks to it.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  19. kayla

    sorry mr. huntsman, it would have been better to run as an independent in2012

    June 21, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  20. CSM

    Jon, if you can keep your head...You may have a chance. I like the way you open your campaign. You may be the Man in 2016.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  21. Bill Brooker

    Huntsman, don't you know that that kind of civility towards the president crazy talk will get you booted by the Tea Party faster than Gingrich's campaign bit the dust??

    June 21, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  22. Bob in Pa

    Yeah, John McCain called for civility and look what that got him. This guy and the media are all part of the same bundle. Civility is called for because they know that Obama can't stand up to any criticisms thrown at him.

    If you call him a Communist, you are a racist.
    If you call him a socialist, you are a racists
    If you critique his subpar performance, you are a racist.
    If you say I don't aggree with his policies lets get him out of office, then you are just a right wing neocon nut job.

    I'm more inclined to say thanks but No Thanks to Mr. Huntsman. Too much media hype promoting this guy, just doesn't smell kosher.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Bill Brooker

      No, if you call him those things you're not a racist, you're an idiot. Plain and simple.

      June 21, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
      • Bob in Pa

        Love it ! I wear the badge with honor.

        June 21, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • CSM

      Bob in pa guess what? YOU ARE A RACISTS!

      June 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • ingrid

      If you do not like Obama's policies, that is fine. No one is calling you a racist for not liking his policies, but calling him names like socialist or communist just shows that you do not understand the terms. I for one applaud Huntsman for seeking to have civil debates. I am tired of the ugliness that has so defined the last few years of debates, especially coming from the GOP side.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • ppxg

      If you call Obama a socialist or a communist, you aren't a racist. But you need a dictionary.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Oprah's Mooseknuckle

      Bob – sadly, you are right that any criticism of the Socialist Idiot in Chief results in allegations of racism. Personally, I think he is an unmitigated disaster but I only hate the white half of him. (The liberal morons blindly defending him don't know how to attack me.)

      You are wrong, however, with respect to Huntsman. Huntsman will beat him because Huntsman is a better politician with an actual record. He did more than vote present 1,600 times and Huntsman's leadership experience includes more than organizing a bake sale for the Chicago Society of Unwed Mothers. Plus, Huntsman has a history of job creation and real international experience. Barry is done.

      Huntsman 2012.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Jim

      Bob in PA,

      please let us know when you return to planet Earth so the tea baggers can hold a welcome home parade.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Gaucho420

      If you call him a communist, you don't know what a communist is. If you call him a socialist, again, you don't know what a socialist is. Hence, the racist name callin...because the commi and socialist bull simply doesn't make sensem, therefore, you're coming from something else all together. I've lived under socialism and fled it...I know a socialist and you clearly do not.

      June 21, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
  23. BCundiff

    Gee "civility". what a great concept. Gonna be hard to run on that when the other party is running ads pushing grandma off the cliff, raving about SUV's when their DNC leader herself drives one, accusing those of us who want something done about ILLEGAL immigration of moats and alligators. Yes, we'll take our cues from the party of "civility" who accuses us of killing people with our policies.
    Huntsman wants the mantle of Reagan without realizing that Reagan campaigned hard calling his opponents what they were.
    Mr. Huntsman, criticism of Obama's RESULTS as President are what we expect from an opposition candidate. If you can't understand that, get out now.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • ingrid

      BCundiff–you seem to have a very selective memory. How about the disrespectful members of Congress who shouted out of turn at Obama during the state of the Union address? Or how about during the town hall meetings where people were spouting lies about death panels ? Or how about tea party members spitting at Black congressman? How about Rush Limbaugh's racist songs about the President. Or how about the ongoing lies that you hear from the GOP on a daily basis?

      June 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
      • rob

        1 The shouts at the SOU while disrespectfull, were CORRECT, he did lie.
        2 Language about "Panels to decide what kinds of care for who" were stricken from the HC bill.
        3 There was never any proof of the false charge of spitting at the Congressman, they created a false story to slime the Tea Party and the Liberal Media ran with it.
        4 Limbaugh uses the actual words used by Dems and their allies to demonstrate their hypocracy when he does musical parodies.
        5 What exactly are the "Lies" used every day by the GOP, are they like the 2.1 million jobs Obama claims to have "Created" when the record shows we actually lost 1.9 million jobs in the same periodbut the media just parrots the claim without asking where the hell he came up with this number????????

        June 21, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  24. zb

    Sounds good, right? The only problem is that if Huntsman wasn't just another calculating politician carving out his space he would start off the simple fact that the Republican Party of today as personified but the Tea Party and the rest of its candidates and leaders is the party of lies, hypocrisy, and exploitation. The only hope Huntsman has of redeeming himself is to disavow the republican Party of today.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Bob in Pa

      Huntsman is there to draw votes from true viable canidates. Nothing more than to sabotage the primaries. The media would not be fawning over him otherwise. They want you to think that there are only two canidates to choose from, Rommney and Huntsman.

      June 21, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
      • Central Library

        Bob, shut it down now, the library will be closing in 15 minutes.

        June 21, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
      • zb

        Actually there are three candidates in the Republican Party: Flip, Flop, and Foolish. Flip being Romney (as in first he was for healthcare and then against it); Huntsman (as in he flopped the test of being a real candidate when he didn't call out the Republican nut cases); and Foolish as in all the rest of the Republican field who are still living and thinking in the dark ages)

        June 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
      • zb

        For anyone who thinks Huntsman seems like a good presidential prospect I would like to remind you that he was at the center of giving china many favorable trade advantages during the Bush years. In other words when you wonder who to blame for all the jobs and industry that has gone to china be sure to put Huntsman at the top of the list.

        And make no mistake about it – tax cuts for the rich (which includes him personally and his family) is really a tax INCREASE for the middle class. Cutting educatin, and healthcare for example really means the middle class has to pay more. Call it what you want but the Republicans – including Huntsman – claim to be against raising taxes but what they are really for is raising taxes on the middle class. A tax increase by any name is still a tax increase.

        June 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  25. Mom in MN

    Love Huntsman's tone, but he is still nothing but the same old, same old on the issues. Anti-government, more tax cuts for the ultra-rich, get rid of medicare and social security just like the rest of the GOP. OBAMA 2012 because the Democrats are the only ones who even try to help the middle-class.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Bob in Pa

      If Dems were trying to help the middle class, the rich elites amongst them would voluntarily pay 50-60% of their earned income to pay off the deficit. They would have actually put into place policies that took care of issues that hit the middle class hard. Have you put a child through college lately ? If you are middle class, you got no help from unca Sam did you ? Paid your Income taxes ? You think those loop holes are there for you benefit ?

      Their goal is to have two classes, the privileged few along with those that are chosen. The remainder of us sheep are to be the unwashed working class depending on their words of law.

      June 21, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  26. Larry L

    I can hear the motors of those swift-boats now... The Koch brothers have a pack of lies and a package of fear-mongering all ready for the Republican primary. Good luck with that civility stuff. Remember, the GOP is all about statements "not intended to be factual".

    June 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  27. Corpus Christian

    Good for him, and us. I hope he can continue to do it.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  28. JeanneLH

    Great intro...I wonder how long it will take for the rest of the GOP candidates to pull him down to their level.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  29. Speedy

    Fat chance... A Republican isn't going to get the nom unless he throws lots of bloody red meat at the Tea Party. Calls for civility and rational discourse are going to be drowned out by the "Whar's the burth curtifikut?" "NOBAMA's A Muslin Terrist!" and "He's a Soshulist!" crowd. Keep dancing with the devil, Republicans. You may not like the result.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Bob in Pa

      I'm an independant, but what type of music is being played at the dance ?

      June 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
      • zb

        Bob, you are about as independent as a Tpartier at a sara palin rally. Your comments clearly put you out in the fringe of the Republican party which these days puts you right smack in the middle the Republican Party: The party of going backwards and making the world safe for ignorance, idiocy, and exploitation.

        June 21, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
      • Bob in Pa

        I have never voted a straight party line in my life.

        June 21, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  30. Bill Pohnan

    Hunstman is a breath of fresh air in an angry and often divisive Republican Party. What a brave stance to take! He harks back to Lincoln, who raised issues with an opponents' reasoning, but not their personal integrity or patriotism. This is a sign of a great leader.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  31. FLOP

    Out of all the d-bags that are running on the republican ticket...Huntsman is clearly the ONLY choice you guys have and he is a solid man that can bring your party to the 21st century!

    June 21, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  32. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Civility we will necessary for any candidate and the sooner Republicans learn when they start using "code words" and the Tea Party start marching around the country with racist signs, they turn the majority of Americans off regardless of what ethnic group they are, it just doesn't work anymore.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  33. Dean

    I wonder how long he will keep his word. I cannot remember a campaign that did not consist of telling how bad the other guy is.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  34. Phil in KC

    Way too civil for the Tea Partiers and far-right wingers running the Republican party these days. Of all the Republicans running, he is the one I respect most and is probably the one that could garner the most independents. We'll never find out, though. He will lose IA, NH and SC, then drop out (if he makes it that far).

    June 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  35. Lane Morrison

    Huntsman civil tone is a breath of fresh air!!! I'll have to see what his policies are, but right now his tone is sending him right to the top of my list!!!

    June 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Phillip Jackson

      I agree, it is time for civility in politics, especially from the current candidates. I refuse to listen to anyone who start by saying the president does not love this country. I will listen to Huntsman to see what his policies are, Bachman, Santorum and Gingrich should all shut up.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
      • ingrid

        I agree with you Phillip Jackson. Well said.

        June 21, 2011 at 4:52 pm |

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