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Mitt Romney, Herman Cain Dodge Huntsman's Jabs

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By Stephanie Samuel, Christian Post Reporter
October 12, 2011|6:55 pm

Though Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. made some memorable one-liners throughout the New Hampshire debate, the former Utah governor struggled to show off his experience and capability in a positive light.

Huntsman touted his top-notch governorship and his knowledge as ambassador in his questions and answers. However, he was often overpowered when he took a turn to the negative.

Huntsman pressed front-runner Mitt Romney on his experience, characterizing Romney and his business firm Bain Capital Venture as "someone who breaks down business [and] destroys jobs."

Romney called Huntsman out on his negativity, stating, "My background is not quite as you described."

“[The American people] need someone who knows how to create jobs, and I do,” said Romney, pointing out that his company helped create the office-supply chain, Staples.

Businessman Herman Cain easily recovered from a Huntsman zinger that related his 9-9-9 plan to the price of pizza, noting that unlike Huntsman's plan, 9-9-9 boldly strays away from the current tax plan.

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Huntsman's tax reform plan, though praised by economists, has not stirred up the same excitement as Cain's plan, which was chanted by audience members at the recent Values Voter Summit.

Huntsman's zinger about Texas Gov. Rick Perry's endorsement from Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress, meanwhile, went unanswered.

The former Utah governor once said he would run a campaign that stayed on the "high road" and that would be grounded in civility, humanity and respect. However, he has recently descended into sarcastic jabs in an attempt to grab the spotlight.

Last month, he tried to jab Romney's book No Apologies during a CNN debate, saying that Nirvana's frontman Kurt Cobain could have written it. Cobain wrote a song called "All Apologies" for the alternative rock band. The joke was ridiculed on the Internet and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper's "RidicuList."

His daughters joined in Tuesday jokingly tweeting that they would create a song about the 9-9-9 plan and also questioning Romney's China experience on Twitter.

"How does Romney know anything about China? He's only been there once and that was for the Olympics. Panda express [sic] doesn't count," daughters Libby, Abby and Mary Anne wrote under the name @Jon2012Girls.

Panda Express is a casual Asian restaurant.

Huntsman's jabs gained him some attention during Tuesday’s debates, but he lost that attention when he attempted to outshine poll toppers Romney and Cain in his policies.

Despite his experience as the former U.S. ambassador to China, Huntsman failed to show a commanding presence in the discussion on a possible United States-China trade war.

He set himself apart as a sensible moderate to the crowd, stating, "I don't subscribe to the Don Trump school or the Mitt Romney school of international trade." Donald Trump advocated slapping tariffs on Chinese goods during the Faith and Freedom Coalition's 2011 conference. Huntsman encouraged the United States to find common ground with China rather than resort to tariffs.

Romney, on the other hand, chose a more forceful stance, painting himself as a "president who will take action" and promising to out China's behavior and go after them.

Ironically, Huntsman told Fox News last month he would sign the Senate's bill to penalize China for manipulating their currencies, explaining, "You need to keep pressure on China."

While Huntsman gained more exposure than rivals Rick Sanctorum and Michele Bachmann during the debate at Dartmouth College, that may not be the case in future debates as Huntsman drops in the polls.

A Real Clear Politics chart shows Huntsman scraping the bottom of several polls, averaging 1.3 percent.

GOP candidate Gary Johnson was excluded from the Bloomberg/Washington Post New Hampshire debate for having less than 2 percent national support in the polls.

 

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