MANCHESTER, N.H. — Just one day after unveiling his new jobs plan, GOP candidate Jon Huntsman poked fun at front-runner Rick Perry and the rest of the Republican field, before highlighting his new tax proposals and slamming President Obama at New Hampshire’s campaign trail mainstay, Politics and Eggs.
“I may not have the Texas Rangers, I might not have a large entourage,” Huntsman joked to a packed house. “But I did bring a secret weapon that nobody has, and that’s the finest human being I’ve ever know over 28 years, my wife Mary Kaye Huntsman.”
Huntsman also went after the rest of the Republican field, calling for more substantive discussion.
“The fact we’re not touching on the truly serious issues of the day, we are talking more about personalities. We are talking about venues where people are going to make speeches as opposed to the substance itself,” Huntsman told reporters. “I think the country is crying out for substance.”
In a diversion from his usual stump speech, Huntsman focused on his new jobs plan and highlighted experience living in countries “that we compete with,” regaling the audience with stories from China.
Here at home though, Huntsman is having a tough time competing himself, with low poll numbers after a summer of sustained New Hampshire campaigning. But Huntsman remains confident in the Granite State and ignores the current poll numbers.
“Everyone is looking for the front-runner today without remembering we have probably had three or four front runners in the race already,” he said. “And we are likely to have more in the months to come.”
“We are going to win in New Hampshire,” he declared to an audience picking at eggs and bacon. Huntsman made the same claim early last month.
While Huntsman attempts to break out, he said voters can expect him to maintain a civil toned campaign. “Civility can coexist with the facts,” he said. He added, “All I want at this point in history is for America to save America…we have to get in the game.”
Huntsman said he would balance China’s human-rights abuses and economic opportunity “always very sensitively.” “But the U.S. must be in the game in pushing for religious liberties and human rights, because if we don’t no one else will,” Huntsman said.
In a flub, Huntsman misidentified the Arab Spring as the “Jasmine Revolution,” a separate attempted protest in China during his final days as ambassador.
For the presidential trivia lovers out there, apparently Huntsman doesn’t care for eggs.
He declared he prefers politics over eggs at this rite of passage event.
“Politics I can do,” he said, “but eggs I’m not much into. Good to see pancakes here.”