Thursday, September 8, 2011

Does Huntsman Signal the Return of the Moderate Republican?

Does former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman signal the return of the moderate Republican?

He and the seven other Republican presidential candidates certainly clashed on the economy, jobs, Social Security and other bread and butter issues during last night’s debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., but Huntsman provided a potentially uncomfortable reality check for his more well-known GOP opponents who actually need to court mainstream voters to defeat President Barack Obama.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum seemed an oddly placed sidebar to the Texas-sized showdown between Congressman Ron Paul and Texas Gov. Rick Perry—the Emergency Alert System alerting Washingtonians that the District of Columbia and surrounding areas were under a flash flood warning actually pre-empted Santorum’s comments on immigration. Romney tried to sow his own Tea Party bonafides while refusing to explicitly own the populist label.

"If we're going to win in 2012, we've got to make sure that we have somebody who can win based upon numbers of the math that will get us there," said Huntsman, referring to Perry’s comments about climate change and evolution. "And by making comments that basically don't reflect the reality of the situation, we turn people off."

The next debate will be in Tampa, Fla., on Sept. 12.

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