Huntsman on Romney: ‘Leading From Behind,’ Not Showing ‘Presidential Leadership’

Oct 26, 2011 11:10am

With Mitt Romney ducking questions about controversial GOP-backed ballot initiatives in Ohio, one of his rivals for the presidency is accusing him of “leading from behind” and failing to show “presidential leadership.”

“It looks a little bit like his position on the debt ceiling, a little bit like his position on Libya. It smacks a little bit of leading from behind,” former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman told me and Jonathan Karl on ABC’s “Top Line” today.

“This is a time when if you are going to be president of the United States, you show a little presidential leadership. That’s by taking a position and leading out — sometimes there is a risk associated with taking a position, but that’s all part of leadership.”

On the substance of those initiatives, Huntsman says he agrees with Republican efforts in Ohio to ban an “individual mandate” to require residents to purchase health insurance – a mandate that’s similar to one Romney put in place as governor of Massachusetts.

“We do have an example of the individual mandate in Massachusetts, and what have we seen? We’ve seen costs on average go up about 2,500 bucks for the average family, we’ve seen quality go down, we’ve seen emergency room visits go up. And federally we’ve seen at least one circuit court, the 11th Circuit Court, basically say, likely unconstitutional.”

Still, Huntsman vowed to support Romney if he wins the Republican nomination: “Of course. I will support whoever the Republican nominee is. Whoever has what it takes to get through a trying and rigorous primary season which brings out the best in people, I will support.”

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