He was excluded from the ABC News debate Saturday night and placed last in the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll, but Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is still gunning for a New Hampshire comeback.
“Well, listen, there have been so many ups and downs in this race, I’m getting whiplashed, quite frankly. We’ve had six front-runners in the span of about six months. And all I can tell you, having spent a whole lot of time here in New Hampshire — we have had 116 public events in this state — is that the voters will begin to coalesce around a candidate about a week to 10 days out,” Huntsman said in an interview with ABC’s Christiane Amanpour on “This Week.”
Often referred to as the candidate with a moderate approach to free market capitalism, Huntsman compared his situation and lack of support to consumers who have held off on making a big purchase before doing some comparison shopping.
“The marketplace is still open. People are shopping. They are listening very, very carefully,” he said. “We have to beat market expectations, Christiane. And I have every expectation that we’re going to beat market expectations.”
Amanpour pressed Huntsman to clarify his position on climate change, after he appeared to shift his stance during a speech Tuesday at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
“I have said all along that I put my faith and trust in science,” he said today. “When you have 99 out of 100 climate scientists, you have members of the National Academy of Sciences who have weighed in on a body of research on the subject matter, I say that’s where I put my trust.”
Huntsman also took time to rail against institutions of power.
“We need term limits in Congress. We need to close the revolving door that allows members of Congress to move right on into the lobbying profession,” he said. “No one has trust anymore toward the executive branch. No one trusts Wall Street, with banks that are too big to fail.”
Some observers have branded Huntsman as the “sanest candidate” in the race and conservative commentators like ABC’s George Will have called on Republicans to take a second look at him, but despite the support of a few conservative intellectuals, Huntsman is struggling to secure a New Hampshire beachhead.
“Christiane, we’re doing better in New Hampshire than half the people on that stage last night when you look at the recent polls,” he said. “We’re going nowhere but up.”
Huntsman is polling at 2 percent among likely voters in the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll and is polling at 8 percent among New Hampshire voters, according to the latest CNN/Time poll, behind Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.
Many political experts view the New Hampshire primary as important because it is a small state, early in the primary process and candidates who go door-to-door to meet with local activists tend to do well.