'This Week' Transcript: Jon Huntsman, David Axelrod

But just as we are in a static world, that is completely unrealistic. And, 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.

TAPPER: You were one of the only, if not the only Republican candidate to support the deal to raise the debt ceiling. You called Congresswoman Bachmann's position a, quote, "crash-and-burn approach." Would you trust a President Bachmann to do the right thing with the economy?

HUNTSMAN: Well, I wouldn't necessarily trust any of my opponents right now who were on a recent debate stage with me, when every single one of them would have allowed this country to default.

You can imagine -- even given the uncertainty of the marketplace the last several days and even the last couple of weeks -- if we had defaulted, the first time in the history of the greatest country that ever was, being 25 percent of the world's GDP and having the largest financial services sector in this world by a long shot, if we had defaulted, Jake, this marketplace would be in absolute turmoil. And people who are already losing enough as it is on their 401(k)s and retirement programs and home valuations, it would have been catastrophic.

So I have to say that there was zero leadership on display in terms of my opponents, zero leadership on display in terms of the president, who should have used the bully pulpit well ahead of time. He should have walked away from the TelePrompTer. The people want you to speak from your heart and soul. Tell us where you want us to go. Tell us what you expect from Congress. Tell us what's on your mind. That never happened. And it waited until the 11th hour. And then we had some of my Republican opponents who basically, I think, recommended something that would have been catastrophic for this economy.

TAPPER: When S&P devalued the U.S. from AAA to AA-plus, one of the reasons, they said, was the dysfunction in Washington. They didn't have confidence in either side to come together to make a compromise to get the country on the right fiscal path.

But you, along with all of your Republican competitors, raised your hand and said that you would be unwilling to accept a deal of 10-to-1 spending cuts for tax increases. That would be if you just eliminated the Bush tax cuts for those who make more than $1 million a year, by one computation -- that would be $6 trillion in spending cuts. Aren't you buying into the same brinksmanship that you're criticizing?

HUNTSMAN: Jake, it was a nonsense question. And the fact that you can even ask a question that is that important with such profound implications for the United States, to answer by show of a raised hand, I mean, come on. What have -- you know, what have debates gotten to, in terms of how we discuss the truly important issues of the day? I don't think tax increases are good for this country right now. In fact, I think it'd be the worst thing that we can do.

TAPPER: So are you sorry you raised your hand for the, quote, "nonsense question"?

HUNTSMAN: Well, I'm just sorry that the debate resorted to a raising of hand as opposed to some discussion about where this country needs to go in terms of overall tax policy.

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