'This Week' Transcript: Jon Huntsman, David Axelrod

TAPPER: Well, let's talk about some of your other competitors, because this was a big week for Texas Governor Rick Perry. He went on the campaign trail, and he raised a lot of eyebrows. He made some comments about evolution and he said this about climate change: Quote, "I don't think, from my perspective, that I want to be"...

PERRY: ... engaged in spending that much money on still a scientific theory that has not been proven and, from my perspective, is more and more being put into question.

TAPPER: These comments from Governor Perry prompted you to tweet, quote, "To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy." Were you just being cheeky? Or do you think there's a serious problem with what Governor Perry said?

HUNTSMAN: I think there's a serious problem. The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party -- the anti-science party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people that 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, what the National Academy of Sciences has 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.

TAPPER: Governor Perry also caused some controversy this week when he said this about Fed Chair Ben Bernanke: Quote, "If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don't know what y'all would do to him in Iowa"...

PERRY: ... but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. I mean, printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous -- or treasonous, in my opinion.

TAPPER: A former Bush political guru, Karl Rove, called that remark "unpresidential." What do you think?

HUNTSMAN: Well, I don't know if that's pre-secession Texas or post-secession Texas, 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.

But it gets to a broader of, you know, the fact that, you know, we've had so much hope and hype in politics the last little while. 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.

And every time we have these sideshows take place, finger-pointing and name-calling, it takes us that much further off the ball, which is fixing our core in this country, is getting our economy fixed and creating jobs.

TAPPER: So do you think that Governor Perry is unelectable? Were he to get the Republican nomination, he would lose to President Obama?

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

TAPPER: This week, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann said at a town hall meeting in South Carolina that she would pursue energy policies that would send gas prices back down to levels not seen since early 2009. Quote, "The day that the president became president"...

BACHMANN: ... gasoline was $1.79 a gallon. Look at what it is today. Under President Bachmann, you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again. That will happen.

TAPPER: Do you think "that will happen"?

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