Huntsman Hits Palin for ‘Stringing People Along’


ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe ( @shushwalshe) and Sarah Kunin ( @sarah_kunin) Report:

In an interview with ABC’s “The View,” presidential candidate Jon Huntsman rebuked former Gov. Sarah Palin for “stringing people along” as she decided whether to run for president.

“There’s too much drama and theater in politics,” Huntsman told the co-hosts in an appearance that was pre-empted for President Obama’s jobs plan speech. “I mean come on. You string people along. Everybody who has anything to do with politics knew she wasn’t going to get in the race.  She has a profit proposition, she’s got a business.  She makes money doing what she’s doing. Who on earth is going to leave that for the uncertainty of presidential politics?”

When asked if he believed her decision was made because she wanted to spend more time with her family, Huntsman answered, “Hey, my family is here. I get to spend time with my family.”

Huntsman articulated a very different sentiment at the 2008 Republican National Convention, chanting her name on stage. “Hockey moms of the world unite! History will be made tonight and her name is Sarah Palin,” Huntsman shouted. “We are looking for an American who represents every one of us, who can relate to the needs of our families and the struggles of our country. We are looking for Sarah!”

Huntsman was joined on the show with his wife, Mary Kaye. Three of his daughters were also in the audience.

Now that Palin and Gov. Chris Christie are officially out, Huntsman believes the field is still open for a new front-runner to spring forward. In an interview after the show, Huntsman told ABC News that Herman Cain’s surge in the polls shows “that there is a large segment of the voting population out there that is still very unsettled and very undecided about this race and that leads to real opportunities for all of us.”

Huntsman is spending the next two days fundraising in New York City, where he will try to bolster funds for the next quarter. On the upcoming release of his campaign finances, Huntsman told ABC News, “It is line with what we thought we would be at this point. A lot of people are still sitting on the fence. A lot of people are still waiting for the race to continue to play out.”

He said that since Gov. Christie’s decision not to enter the race , his campaign “has been in contact” with some of the donors who were waiting for the New Jersey governor to get into the race.

“I believe they will watch the field play out and evolve and probably make a decision in the weeks ahead would be my guess and we hope to be in the middle of that,” Huntsman said.

Huntsman also took the opportunity to reflect on the Wall Street protests in downtown Manhattan. “In this country, people have a right to protest, it’s an expression of who we are and it’s something that was put forward in our founding documents we can petition government and we can live freely,” Huntsman said. “That’s something, having lived 10,000 miles away in China where that isn’t allowed, it’s something I have great respect for.”

Huntsman said the protests are “driven by high joblessness” and  “loss of opportunity,” blaming the Obama administration for the demonstrations.

“Right now, the administration obviously because for two and a half years they’ve failed to revive this economy and to create an environment that allows us to create jobs and so people are rightly upset. I don’t buy tactics where people break the law, but if they want to protest and they want to gather and they want to speak out, that’s completely their right,” Huntsman said.

While in Manhattan, Huntsman is keeping the focus on his new New Hampshire headquarters where, he said, he is seeing a “groundswell” of support, offering a preview of his upcoming foreign policy speech , which he will deliver at Southern New Hampshire University Monday. The former ambassador to China said the country needs to realign “our foreign policy interests and deployments abroad in a way that is consistent with 21st century reality.”

“We need to remember that fixing our core here at home, strengthening our economy should guide everything we do on the foreign policy realm: free trade agreements and international economic engagement.” he said. “Without a strong core, we don’t have a foreign policy.”

ABC News’ Josh Haskell contributed to this report.