Perry's extremism makes him 'unelectable'

Aug. 21, 2011 at 1:19 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry's extreme positions make him "unelectable" to the White House, GOP presidential rival Jon Huntsman Jr. said Sunday.

"I think when you find yourself at an extreme end of the Republican Party, you make yourself unelectable," the former Utah governor told ABC's "This Week."

Perry's comments doubting global warming were an example of an extreme position that posed a "serious problem" for GOP efforts to defeat U.S. President Barack Obama next year, Huntsman said.

"The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party -- the anti-science party, we have a huge problem," said Huntsman, a former deputy U.S. trade representative under President George W. Bush and a former U.S. ambassador to China under Obama.

"We lose a whole lot of people that would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012," he said. "When we take a position that isn't willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said, what the National Academy of Sciences has said about what is causing climate change and man's contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science and, therefore, in a losing position."

He labeled as "treasonous" a scenario Perry made up about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Perry said, "If this guy prints more money between now and the election" for political reasons, "we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas."

"I'm not sure that the average voter out there is going to hear that treasonous remark and say that sounds like a presidential candidate," Huntsman said, using a the same word to describe the remark that Perry used to characterize the scenario of Bernanke printing more money.

Extreme positions do not work in the United States, which he called "a center-right country," Huntsman said.

"People are crying out for us to get back to some level of sensibility," he said.

"And every time we have these sideshows take place -- finger-pointing and name-calling -- it takes us that much further off the ball, which is fixing our core in this country, is getting our economy fixed and creating jobs," he said.

Huntsman described GOP presidential hopeful and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as a flip-flopper who opposed a flat tax in 1996 and now favors it.

And he ridiculed presidential rival U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's claims she could bring gasoline prices below $2 a gallon if elected president.

"I just don't know what -- what world that comment would come from, you know? We live in the real world. It's grounded in reality. And gas prices just aren't going to rebound like that," he said.

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