Huntsman serves up his perspective on what America needs at Politics and Eggs event As originally appearing in The Union Leader
By APRIL GUILMET
Union Leader Correspondent
GOFFSTOWN – Staring out into a room brimming with leading Granite State business executives and politicians, two-term Utah governor John Huntsman didn’t hesitate to reveal his secret weapon.
Motioning to his wife, Mary Kaye, seated in the front row, the GOP presidential candidate beamed at the crowd of several hundred attending the New Hampshire Institute of Politics event at St. Anselm College.
“She’s the best person I’ve known for the past 28 years,” he said.
Huntsman, the keynote speaker at Thursday morning’s Politics and Eggs breakfast, visited the campus as part of his six-day tour of the Granite State.
The New Hampshire Institute of Politics and the New England Council jointly sponsored the popular political event, said to have a record of perfect attendance for all invited candidates.
One day after announcing his proposed jobs plan during an appearance in Hudson, the former Utah governor began today’s speech on a somewhat lighter note.
“Politics, I can do. Not sure about the eggs, though,” he joked. “I’m glad to see pancakes are on the menu as well.”
The motorcycle-riding, fiscal conservative expressed confidence in his standing amongst Granite State moderates, noting that when his campaign began, his young daughter Grace told him she’d thought of the perfect slogan for her dad’s presidential run.
“It went something like, ‘Live Free Or Die,'” Huntsman said. “I’d say that puts us in good step with New Hampshire.”
The talk turned serious later as the father of seven discussed jobs, the economy, national security, the need for energy independence and foreign relations.
Paraphrasing the late President Ronald Reagan, Huntsman spoke of the need to restore the nation to its previous “shining city on a hill” status.
“The U.S. is strong, and when she shines that light and goodness onto the rest of the world, we’re all better off,” he emphasized.
Huntsman said the national debt is a “cancer that needs to be removed” and stressed a need for a balanced budget amendment.
“One thing Washington has right now is plans, and some of them are actually pretty good,” he said. “Unfortunately we don’t have the leadership to bring those plans to fruition.”
If elected, Huntsman said he’d work to phase out corporate welfare and repeal Obamacare.
The latter wasn’t meant to be a political critique, he stressed. “But it does create uncertainty in the marketplace,” Huntsman explained.
Another top priority Huntsman expressed was the need for energy independence, calling the nation’s current reliance on foreign oil “a heroin-like addiction.”
“Instead, we need to focus on what creates jobs and draws from our own natural resources,” he said, noting he’s in favor of natural gas. “It’s cheap, it’s better for the air and it has strong national security implications,” Huntsman added.
On the topic of foreign entanglements, Huntsman said he’d prefer that “America save America” first, calling for the withdrawal of troops currently serving on foreign shores.
“I’m running on my record of private sector experience,” he said. “I think it’s important for our next president to have a successful governing history.”
“He brings a unique blend of experience and expertise,” New England Council President Jim Brett said of Huntsman. “He’s also probably the only presidential candidate who rides a motorcycle, plays guitar and speaks Mandarin.”
Later, Brett asked Huntsman what his thoughts were concerning free trade bills.
“We can’t forget that 95 percent of our current customers are beyond foreign borders,” Huntsman replied. “The days of staying out of free trade are gone. These trade agreements have languished for the past three years and we’ve got to see them passed.”
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