'This Week' Transcript: Jon Huntsman, David Axelrod

PHOTO: Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is interviewed on "This Week."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER (voice-over): This week, Huntsman on the hunt.

HUNTSMAN: I wouldn't necessarily trust any of my opponents.

TAPPER: Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is hitting hard against his own party's frontrunners, Mitt Romney...

HUNTSMAN: If we were to talk about his inconsistencies, we'd be here all afternoon.

TAPPER: ... Michele Bachmann...

HUNTSMAN: I just don't know what world that comment would come from.

TAPPER: ... and as for Rick Perry...

HUNTSMAN: When you find yourself at an extreme end of the Republican Party, you make yourself unelectable.

TAPPER: Then, as President Obama experiences some of the worst poll numbers of his political career, we'll talk to top Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And as President Obama heads to Martha's Vineyard...

SAWYER: We were watching stocks go down again.

TAPPER: Plus, some surprising numbers about what's driving voters with Republican pollster Frank Luntz. He'll join our roundtable with George Will, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times, and Fox Business Network's Liz Claman.

ANNOUNCER: Live from the Newseum in Washington, "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Good morning. Christiane is off. I'm Jake Tapper. And we will get to our exclusive interview with Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman in the moment. But first, some news since your morning papers.

Libyan rebels say they're closing in on Moammar Gadhafi's stronghold of Tripoli, a day after fighters launched their first attack on the capital. Heavy gunfire and explosions battered Tripoli last night, with reports of coordinated NATO air strikes, after fighters captured the strategic coastal town of Zawiyah. Gadhafi's regime vows its fighters will defend the Libyan capital.

In Egypt, protests continued outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo after a rare apology by the Israeli government on Saturday for the deaths of three Egyptian soldiers. This latest round of violence began on Thursday when eight Israelis were killed in an attack on Israeli buses. The escalating tensions has sparked new violence in Gaza, as Palestinians have hit southern Israel with at least 80 rockets and mortars since Friday in response to Israeli air strikes.

Turning now to the race for the Republican nomination. The top-tier candidates all turned their sights on the first-in-the-nation primary state, New Hampshire. Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Michele Bachmann all spent time in the "Live Free or Die" state. And one candidate who's staking everything on a strong showing in New Hampshire is former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. I spoke with him earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: And joining me now from San Diego is the former governor of Utah and former U.S. ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman. Governor, thanks for joining us.

HUNTSMAN: Thank you, Jake. Honored to be here.

TAPPER: So, Governor, last week on this program, your Republican colleague, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, dropped out of the race. And this is what he said: Quote, "What I brought forward I thought was a rational"...

PAWLENTY: ... established, credible, strong record of results, based on experience governing, a two-term governor of a blue state, but I think the audience, so to speak, was looking for something different.

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