While the major Republican candidates have descended on Iowa, one notable name is missing.
Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman has spent a lot of the past week in New Hampshire. New Hampshire holds the nation’s first primary on January 10. Huntsman has chosen to skip campaigning in Iowa and focus his attention on New Hampshire instead.
On New Year’s Day, Jon Huntsman held a town hall meeting in Deerfield. It was his 143rd event in the state.
Although it was a cold night, the event attracted a medium-sized crowd. Huntsman was accompanied by four of his daughters, his son-in-law, and his wife, Mary. Mrs. Huntsman began the event by speaking about her husband. She said that he has the four most important qualifications to be president: Experience in economics and business, involvement in executive governance, extensive foreign policy experience, and most importantly the ability to unite our country.
Jon Huntsman, she said, fulfills all four qualifications.
She went on to inform the audience about what she thinks are Mr. Huntsman’s greatest strengths. He feels, empathizes, and has a lot of compassion. He is bold, shows strong leadership, and has a big heart. You need to combine all those qualities to have a great president, she explained.
With that, she concluded her speech and turned it over to Huntsman.
“Let me get right to the bottom line,” Huntsman began. “I am running for President of this great country because I believe it is absolutely pathetic what we are leaving behind to the next generation.”
He continued, “What are we doing? What are we handing down to the next generation?” he asked as he pointed directly at this Kid Reporter, and then his 11-year-old daughter Gracie. Huntsman strongly believes that it is unfair to leave behind a less successful country to the next generation. He also thinks that this nation’s economy has hit the wall and that America is ready for an industrial renaissance.
Huntsman also stressed the importance of trust. He declared that there is a trust deficit in this country and that Capitol Hill is currently plagued by crony capitalism, little belief, and little trust.
“We no longer trust our institutions of power or our elected officials,” Huntsman stated.
The first thing he would do to restore trust is to enact term limits on Congress and “close the revolving door” that allows members of Congress to become lobbyists immediately after leaving office.
“We need leadership desperately in this country,” Huntsman added, and he believes he is that leader.
In closing, he left the crowd in the small town hall with a big message. “Here’s the fact of the matter, you’re the window through which the rest of the country gets to assess, analyze ,and better understand the candidates running for the highest office in the land. You have the ability to change this nation’s direction by the vote that you cast.”
Huntsman said he has chosen to focus on New Hampshire instead of Iowa because what happens in New Hampshire will leave the biggest impression. The caucus happens and, after two days, all the results will be forgotten, he said.
Huntsman finished in seventh place — last among the major candidates — in the Iowa caucus.
But while his major competition is in Iowa, Huntsman has had a head start in New Hampshire. He has traveled all over the Granite State, holding town hall meetings and various other events.
He believes that a strong showing in New Hampshire will give him the best shot of securing the Republican nomination.
“When New Hampshire speaks, everyone pays attention. Everyone listens,” Huntsman asserted. “[New Hampshire] is very, very important. If you do well in New Hampshire, you can prove to a whole lot of other states that you can do well there, too.”