Yesterday's White House luncheon should have been a different affair; Obama should have been hosting Huntsman and his transition team.
Jon Huntsman to GOP: Avoid fringe issues
By: Katie Glueck
November 30, 2012 09:00 AM EST
Jon Huntsman said Friday that if the GOP can stay away from fringe issues and instead focuses on bread-and-butter Republican principles, the party will be better for it.
If we stick to a mantra that says strong individual liberty and economic freedom and a right-sized government, that's always going to be relevant for the American people based on our constitutional government, the former Utah governor and presidential hopeful said on CNN's Starting Point. But we kind of drift in areas where we take on fringe issues, and it gets us stuck in the alleyways of life that take our focus away from what is really important for the American people, and that is individual freedom and that is getting the budgets balanced so people can get on with their lives.
Huntsman praised the soul-searching the GOP has undertaken since it's Nov. 6 losses, but added that ultimately, the party needs a simplified mission statement.
"We have some structural issues," he said. "I think the deliberation about the Republican Party that we're having is a very healthy thing. And if we don't wind up at the end of the exercise with a mission statement that is one sentence long, then we're toast. That one statement ought to be, 'Balance the budgets and get out of people's lives. And you ought to build the party around that because we have strong libertarian roots that go way back to the early days of the Republican Party."
Huntsman, who has also served as the Obama administration's U.S. ambassador to China, stressed that American leadership rather than "fringe issues" matters most going forward.
"So what did the two most important people in this country sit down and talk about yesterday at lunch?" Huntsman said, referencing President Barack Obama's Thursday meeting with GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. "When everything else is done, and the election is wrapped up, it isn't about social issues. It isn't about the fringe issues. They sat down and talked about America's leadership in the world. So at the end of the day, that's what matters most, to Republicans, and to Democrats. How do you get to where we need to be?"