Presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman stumps in Hampton

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By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Friday, September 16, 2011

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman begins his tour of several
downtown Hampton busnesses with Senator Nancy Stiles Wednesday.
[Ioanna Raptis photo]

HAMPTON -- Former Utah governor and presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman is banking on a win in the state's first-in-the-nation primary to keep his campaign for the presidency alive.

Just how important is it?

"It's critically important for our campaign and we are putting a lot of our chips down in New Hampshire," Huntsman said after his visit in Hampton. "We are playing it straight up with all the seriousness and vigor that a victory will require and I think we are going to do well."

Huntsman, along with state Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, toured downtown Hampton on Wednesday, stopping in local stores, shaking hands and doing the old-school politicking he says it takes to gain a win in the Granite State.

The duo, along with a hoard of media members, visited a variety of businesses, including Chez Boucher Cooking School and the 401 Tavern, where Huntsman got to try some of the establishment's famous seafood and get his picture added to the wall displaying other notable visitors.

Main topics throughout on the tour were the issues of jobs and the


"Winning over voters in this state is not easy," Huntsman said. "You have to shake a few hands, talk about the issues and slowly you will win them over."

Huntsman is lagging in the polls behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Despite that, Huntsman maintains he the most electable candidate in a general election and has a proven track record and solid plan to reinvigorate the economy.

He criticized President Obama's $450 billion jobs bill saying it's full of "half steps" and not the reform that is truly needed to get economy back on track.

"It's an elixir for the short term," Huntsman said. "It makes you feel good temporarily but in the long term, it does very little. And the marketplace is not responding favorably to it as we can tell. The marketplace is crying out for big structural fixes."

Talking with business owners, he directed them to check out his jobs' plan on his Web site. The plan includes tax reform and tackles the debt issue. He described the nation's debt crisis as the "cancer" on the nation's economy.

While some political pundits have said Huntsman is too moderate to win a GOP primary given his support of civil unions and refusal to take a pledge against new taxes, he disputes that view.

"If they look at my record, I think they will find I'm mainstream conservative," said Huntsman, who noted he's pro-life and pro Second Amendment.

"But I also have a history of bringing people to the table," Huntsman said. "I don't exclude people. I don't close doors. I open doors. That is the way I operate and that is the way I have always operated."

After the tour, Huntsman sat down with several Hampton residents, including former Hampton Beach precinct commissioner Skip Windemiller, former state Rep. Sheila Francoeur and current state Rep Jim Waddell.

"He has my vote," Waddell said. "When people ask very pointed questions, he comes back with facts. He didn't come back with a sound byte. He will give you an honest answer."

Stiles said she has yet to commit to a candidate but said Huntsman definitely impressed her.

"I like the way he operates and I think he's a man who concentrates more on getting the work done than talking about how wonderful he is," Stiles said.

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman shakes hands with the owner of Depot Square Automotive, Don Moore, on the candidate’s tour of downtown Hampton businesses on Wednesday.
[Ioanna Raptis photo]

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman meets Greg Quirjazi, owner of Greg's Pizza on Lafayette Road on his tour of downtown Hampton business Tuesday.
[Ioanna Raptis photo]
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