Since this is Jon Huntsman's first day as a presidential candidate, there's a lot that voters need to learn about his record. But first, I know what you're thinking: Doesn’t Jon Huntsman work for President Obama? The answer is no, he's working on becoming Mitt Romney.
Just like Romney, Jon Huntsman has attempted to reinvent himself as a candidate who can compete in the Republican primary, reversing his position on major policy issues and pandering to the right-wing of the GOP.
Once a supporter of health reform, now he’s opposed; once a supporter of the Recovery Act, now he’s opposed; once a supporter of cap and trade, now he’s opposed. It seems like there's only one issue on which the former ambassador has been consistent -- his support for the Paul Ryan Republican budget that would double health costs for seniors.
Here are five things you should know about Jon Huntsman:
1) Jon Huntsman supports the Ryan Republican budget to end Medicare as we know it. When asked about the Ryan budget, he said: "I would've voted for it...Including the Medicare provisions.” Huntsman continued, saying that proposals like the Ryan budget deserve consideration now. Huntsman notes there are “proposals on the table that perhaps in years past would've been laughed out of the room. And we've got to look seriously at them. We don't have a choice. We've hit the wall." (ABC News, 5/20/2011)
2) Jon Huntsman supported an individual mandate for health reform as governor of Utah, but now opposes it. As governor of Utah, Huntsman supported health reform that would “mandate that all Utahans have health insurance through a nonprofit exchange that would facilitate the purchase of insurance” (Salt Lake Tribune, 8/11/07). Now that he’s running for president, Huntsman denies supporting those mandates. (Huffington Post, 5/20/2011)
3) Gov. Jon Huntsman signed legislation that created a health insurance exchange similar to the Affordable Care Act, but now says he would repeal health reform. As governor, Huntsman created health insurance exchanges similar to the Affordable Care Act that allows consumers to use a “fixed contribution from their employers and pre-tax funds from their own paychecks, can buy and compare plans” (Wall Street Journal, Market Watch, 3/14/2011). But as a presidential hopeful, Huntsman said: "If I had a chance to repeal it, I would.” (ABC News, 5/20/2011)
4) Jon Huntsman supported the Recovery Act, saying it “wasn’t large enough” – but has now changed his tune. In an interview with Politico about the Recovery Act, Huntsman said that it had some “fundamental flaws,” highlighting that “It probably wasn’t large enough,” and that “there probably wasn’t enough stimulus effect” (Politico, 2/24/2009).Fast forward to candidate Jon Huntsman who mischaracterized the Recovery Act, saying it was not “properly focused around that, which would really stimulate the economy, tax cuts, and it was not focused around enhancing our infrastructure, and preparing ourselves for the future.” (ABC News, 5/20/11) For the record, the Recovery Act cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans and invested heavily in our country’s infrastructure.
5) Jon Huntsman led the Western Governors Association and set a goal of creating a national energy policy that included cap and trade, but has now abandoned that position. As chairman of the Western Governors Association, Huntsman proposed “energy policy [to] include incentives for research and development, goals to reduce the nation's carbon footprint and setting a national cap and trade policy to limit emissions” (Deseret Morning News, 7/2/08). Now that he’s a presidential hopeful, Huntsman claims cap and trade is a bad idea and “this isn't the moment’ to keep trying.” (Time Magazine, 5/12/2011)
Now that he's joined the other Republican 2012ers vying for the GOP nomination, Jon Huntsman is attempting to misrepresent the politician he once was. But voters should know the truth.
Share these five facts with your friends, family, and coworkers on email, Facebook, and Twitter. Make sure to use the Twitter hashtag #youshouldknow.