Former Utah Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman came out swinging against his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, taking aim at Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann for statements made on the campaign trail about global warming, gas prices, and the Federal Reserve.
Huntsman warned that his opponents' stances on the "extreme end" may make them "unelectable" in the general election.
In an exclusive interview on "This Week," Huntsman said "there's a serious problem" with comments made by Perry in New Hampshire last week calling man-made global warming "a scientific theory that has not been proven and from my perspective is more and more being put into question" while claiming scientists have "manipulated data" on the issue.
"The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party -- the anti-science party, we have a huge problem," Huntsman told ABC News Senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper. "We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012."
"When we take a position that isn't willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said … about what is causing climate change and man's contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position," Huntsman added.
Perry's comments on global warming had prompted Huntsman to send a Twitter message Thursday saying, "To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy."
Huntsman also jabbed at Perry's comments last week saying further quantitative easing by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to print more money would be "treasonous."
"I don't know if that's pre-secession Texas or post-secession Texas," Huntsman quipped, referring to past comments by Perry saying Texas may secede from the U.S. "But in any event, I'm not sure that the average voter out there is going to hear that treasonous remark and say that sounds like a presidential candidate, that sounds like someone who is serious on the issues."
When asked if Perry's comments would hurt him in a general election contest with President Obama, Huntsman said, "I think when you find yourself at an extreme end of the Republican Party, you make yourself unelectable."
"We've had so much hope and hype in politics the last little while," Huntsman added. "We've found ourselves at the extreme ends of the political spectrum and people are crying out for us to get back to some level of sensibility."
Huntsman also questioned presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann's claim at a town hall meeting in South Carolina Thursday that she would pursue energy policies that would send gas prices back down below $2 a gallon, a level not seen since early 2009.
"I just don't know what -- what world that comment would come from," Huntsman said, calling the claim "completely unrealistic." "We live in the real world. It's grounded in reality. And gas prices just aren't going to rebound like that."
"Again, it's talking about things that, you know, may pander to a particular group or sound good at the time, but it just simply is not founded in reality," Huntsman added.
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