Video: Huntsman withdraws, says race “degenerated into an onslaught of negative and personal attacks”

posted at 12:50 pm on January 16, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

As expected, Jon Huntsman withdrew from the Republican presidential nomination sweepstakes this morning, endorsing Mitt Romney as he exits — as well as scolding Republicans just one last time. In a public statement from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Huntsman rebuked his Republican colleagues for going negative and personal in the primary fight:

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman abandoned his quest for the presidency Monday morning with an endorsement of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and an unexpectedly sharp condemnation of the “toxic” tone that the Republican primary battle has taken.

“This race has degenerated into an onslaught of negative and personal attacks not worthy of the American people and not worthy off this critical time in American history,” Huntsman said in a news conference in which he was flanked by his wife, children, father and South Carolina supporters.

Huntsman did not name names in aiming criticism at his rivals, but he did take a shot at President Obama for engaging in what Huntsman called “class warfare” and said it contributed to divisiveness in American politics. But Huntsman, who often talked on the campaign trail about rebuilding trust in the political process, made clear that he thinks the GOP race has taken an ugly turn.

Yeah … it did get ugly, but it’s not as if Huntsman was clucking his tongue from the sidelines of the personal attack war. Even apart from his contention in New Hampshire earler this month that the GOP went insane when Barack Obama got elected, Huntsman delivered more than his own share of zingers — at the expense of the man he’s now endorsing for the nomination, as CNN’s collection of Huntsman attacks shows. Romney “enjoys firing people,” Huntsman told the media, taking Romney’s quote out of context in two separate clips, but otherwise, Huntsman’s attacks were aboveboard, if plentiful, certainly negative, and arguably personal:

On Thursday, Huntsman proclaimed Romney “unelectable,” and today he endorsed Romney. Maybe that’s contrition, or maybe Huntsman needed to take some of his own advice weeks and months ago.

Update: Romney doesn’t seem all that excited to get the endorsement, as The Hill reports:

Romney’s eventual email on Huntsman was a terse email and tweet that barely mentioned the endorsement. “I salute Jon Huntsman and his wife Mary Kaye,” Romney said. “Jon ran a spirited campaign based on unity not division, and love of country.  I appreciate his friendship and support.”

That stands in contrast to Romney’s embrace of Tim Pawlenty’s endorsement. After Pawlenty endorsed Romney in September Romney named him a national co-chair of his campaign.

“It is an honor to have Governor Pawlenty’s support,” said Romney at the time. “Tim will be a trusted adviser as I move forward with my campaign. Tim has always been an advocate for lower taxes, reduced spending, and an environment where jobs can be created. It is an honor to have him serve as co-chair to my campaign for the presidency.”


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So long John Tiberius Reginald Roberts McPherson Allen Cougar Steven Ray-Ray LeRoy David Davis Victor Conrad Micheal Thomas Adam Hunstman! :-P

ThePrez on January 16, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Your Mamma loves me on January 16, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Why…….Happy MLK day to you!

Bmore on January 16, 2012 at 4:35 PM

“This race has degenerated into an onslaught of negative and personal attacks not worthy of the American people and not worthy off this critical time in American history,” Huntsman said

Oh, puh-leeeze. The 2008 cycle did, too, what with Huck and McCain attacking Bain. The 2000 cycle was nasty what with rumours that it was BUSH who planted the story that McCain had fathered a half-black baby (and this in reference to McCain’s adopted Bangledeshi daughter that he adopted through MOTHER TERESA!). All primaries are hateful, nasty business.

And of course, going back far enough, our early POTUSes slandered and libeled each other unmercifully.

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on January 16, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Neither the debate nor the campaigns were enhanced by having Jon Huntsman enter the lists. He obviously has been out of the country too long, and he appears to have a better fit with Democrats.

onlineanalyst on January 16, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Obama preached redistribution this morning, a a MLK gathering, claiming falsely that MLK would have asked for same.

Never has a president divided the land so badly, in so many ways. I wish him ill for this and for destroying her/us.

Alas, I see no one fit to replace him.

Schadenfreude on January 16,2012

I heard just enough of a radio clip of Big O today while driving, and he simply galls me. Is every national holiday supposed to be a “national day of service” now? Does Zero not understand that government figures are to serve the people, not the other way around?

I understand that he and his family spent time building book shelves in some DC school as part of their “penance” and photo-op to demonstrate how community service is to be done. The Bozo-in-Chief has not clue that the American people contribute to their communities in countless ways on many, many days. What a self-righteous prig!

onlineanalyst on January 16, 2012 at 6:55 PM