Jon Huntsman 2.0 is continuing his sprint to the center, telling the PBS Newshour on Thursday that wealthy Americans will have to make sacrifices to revive the struggling American economy.
“As president, I wouldn’t hesitate to call on a sacrifice from all of our people, even those at the very highest end of the income spectrum,” Huntsman said. “I’m not saying higher taxes, but there are contributions they can make too.”
Although Huntsman stopped short of saying that he would raise taxes on the wealthy, his comments are sure to distinguish him from fellow candidates such as Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, who consider calls for greater sacrifice from the rich to be a form of class warfare.
Huntsman also made waves last week when he tweeted, “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.” This was a clear jab at Perry, who is notoriously skeptical of almost anything that scientists tell him.
The former Utah governor is clearly pinning his hopes for the nomination on capturing moderate voters who aren’t comfortable with supporting a Tea Party candidate. This strategy may pay off in New Hampshire, where the electorate is not extremely conservative and independents are allowed to vote in the Republican primary. It’s worth noting that John Weaver, who is Huntsman’s chief strategist, has pulled off two shocking Granite State upsets in the past while working for John McCain in 2000 and 2008. Still, in a Republican primary dominated by extreme-right politics and overt hostility to the President, Huntsman’s status as a former member of the Obama Administration makes him an extreme long shot to be the Republican candidate for president.