Huntsman Says Cain Scandal Distracts From Issues

Herman Cain’s sexual harassment scandal is an unwelcome distraction that he needs to address, fellow Republican candidate Jon Huntsman, the former governor of Utah, said in an ABC News/Yahoo interview today.

“Herman Cain can deal with it however he chooses to deal with it, but I’m worried about the 13 or 14 million unemployed, I’m concerned about those who are worried we’re losing our position in the world,” Huntsman said. “It takes all of the oxygen out of the room. Far be it from me to give Herman Cain any advice, but eventually he’ll address these issues.”

In a historic countdown one year out to the U.S. presidential election, ABC News/Yahoo today will interview each Republican presidential candidate live online. The first candidate to be interviewed today was Huntsman.


Huntsman said this weekend on “Meet the Press” that the recent sexual allegation scandal with candidate Herman Cain was “taking up most of the bandwidth in the discussion” of the presidential campaign. Today he told ABC News’ Sharyn Alfonsi that he views it as a distraction.

Though Huntsman was appointed by president Obama to be the ambassador of China and was a popular governor of Utah, his poll numbers nationally are only at 1 or 2 percent. Today he said that will all change soon.

“Believe it or not, people are just tuning in. Sit around for a couple months and you’re going to see different numbers,” Huntsman said.

Huntsman said he’s experiencing a steady and substantive rise in New Hampshire. He believes the New Hampshire primary on Jan 10  will be good day for the campaign. Huntsman said the people of New Hampshire really do pay off the hard work and investment of a candidate in their state. Huntsman certainly has worked hard in the state — he’s made more than 100 appearances in the state so far and plans to do at least 100 more.

“It will happen in New Hampshire, failure is not an option,” Huntsman said. “If I didn’t feel it in my bones, if I didn’t sense a connection with these people, I’ve been out there and they’re seeing my vision. They say ‘Hey, this crazy huntsman guy, he’s got a track record.”

In the last quarter the Huntsman campaign reported they raised $4.5 million and spent $4.1, however $2.2 million was given by Huntsman himself.

“I put some into begin with, you’ve got to get the machine going,” Huntsman said. “I don’t have the luxury of having run for president for four or six years. You’ve got to start from scratch and the fundraising has followed suit. As we do well in New Hampshire, people will see that and we’ll become that undervalued stock.”

As for the question of Huntsman being too moderate, he says his record as governor shows he is a conservative candidate.

“People should not confuse a moderate temperate with a moderate record,” Huntsman said.

Huntsman also added that he’s just waiting for people to see what he can bring to the presidential race as the other candidates rise and fall in the polls.

“I’m getting a little whiplash watching everyone go up and down. Now we have to go to the ballot box and decide who can actually do this job,” Huntsman said.

In an effort to discover more about the candidate’s personality, ABC News asked each candidate these rapid-fire questions, here are Huntsman’s answers:

Worst job you ever had?

“At a restaurant where I had to clean toilets.”

TV guilty pleasure?

“Curb Your Enthusiasm”

Favorite junk food?

“Fried oreos in New Hampshire”

Who would play you in the movie?

“I’m not going to say Lloyd Christmas from dumb and dumber, maybe Tom Hanks.”

What is your personal theme song?

“I won’t back down by Tom Petty”

First thing you’d do in the Oval Office?

“Send three measures to the office, tax reform, regulatory reform and energy independence.”

Name a 5th president who belongs on Mount Rushmore?

“Ronald Reagan”

Tell us – in Tweet length – why do you want to be president, in 140 characters or less?

“Because I’m unwilling to see the end of the American century.”