Jon Huntsman Calls for the Rise of a Third Party

Julio Cortez/AP Photo

Former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman may have endorsed Mitt Romney, but he emphasized today that he is "not a surrogate for anybody."

In an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday,  Huntsman called for the rise of a third party, saying another option in presidential politics "would be a healthy thing.

"I think we're going to have problems politically until we get some sort of third party movement or some voice out there that can put forth new ideas," Huntsman said. "Someone's going to step up at some point and say we've had enough of this. The real issues are not being addressed and it's time that we put forward an alternative vision, a bold thinking. We might not win, but we can certainly influence the debate."

When pressed as to whom the "we" referred to, Huntsman said, "a whole bunch of Americans out there that can't find a place politically." He was quick to rule out his own possible bid as a third party candidate.

"That ain't gonna be me, by the way,"  Huntsman said, pre-empting the inevitable question. "I'm not interested in that."

But while Huntsman may have ruled out another salvo into presidential politics, his supporters have not.

The former Utah governor is currently in second place, behind Ron Paul, in the  Americans Elect online candidate  drafting process, which began last month. Americans Elect will hold a web-based primary in March that will put a third presidential ticket on the ballot in all 50 states.

Huntsman, who ended his own presidential bid after a poor showing in the New Hampshire primary, did not rule out rescinding his Romney endorsement if  a third party candidate emerged.

"I'm not a surrogate for anybody," Huntsman said. "All I can say is I'm looking at the political marketplace and the duopoly is tired and we're stuck in a rut."

He said Romney was the best option "given the lay of the land today.

"Until such time as we can fundamentally address the economic side we're going to be in bad shape," Huntsman said. "I think Mitt Romney's the best person to handle that economic side."

The former ambassador to China was extremely pessimistic about the current state of the economy and about his party's ability to deal with the country's big problems.

"Gone are the days when the Republican Party used to put forth big, bold visionary stuff,"  Huntsman said. "When you have 100 percent debt to GDP you're sunk. I mean, the next generation is completely screwed, let's put it that way."