Huntsman pitches jobs plan to Sun City crowd

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Huntsman pitches jobs plan to Sun City crowd

By KYLE PETERSON
kpeterson@beaufortgazette.com
Published Wednesday, November 2, 2011   |  424 Words  |  

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman pitched his jobs plan -- and presidential candidacy -- to more than 100 people Wednesday at a Sun City campaign stop.

Waving a copy of The Wall Street Journal, which editorialized in support of his plan to reform the tax code and rein in federal regulators, Huntsman urged the crowd to give his agenda a look.

"When you walk out of here, what I want you to do is pick up my plan," he said. "It is simple. It is comprehensible and totally doable."

Huntsman would eliminate deductions and credits, and lower marginal income tax rates to 8 percent, 14 percent and 23 percent for individuals and to 25 percent for businesses. He would expand free trade and roll back President Barack Obama's signature health-care law.

Huntsman criticized his GOP rivals for offering unrealistic or unambitious economic plans, while presenting his own as bold and achievable.

Huntsman also touted his background in foreign policy. He served as ambassador to China, an experience which seemed to resonate with many of the attendees.

"You're the man of the 21st century," one woman said during the question-and-answer period. "What I don't understand is why the media is ignoring you."

One answer might be Huntsman's anemic poll numbers.

Rasmussen Reports released a survey Wednesday of likely South Carolina primary voters in which Huntsman had just 1 percent, tied for last place with former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and "some other candidate."

After the event, hosted by the Republicans of Sun City Hilton Head, Huntsman said he's not concerned about polls yet.

"We're early enough where people are still just beginning to tune in," he said. "New Hampshire always has a way of upending conventional wisdom."

Convincing Blufftonians, though, could be a challenge.

Sun City resident Ron Wilson said he found Huntsman's presentation appealing and thinks the former governor has exactly what the country needs. Yet he plans to support former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, who Wilson described as "the guy that can win the election."

Jocelyn Staigar, president of the Republican Women of Southern Beaufort County, said Huntsman spoke well, but delivered more generalities than other candidates she has seen.

"If I was going to pull a lever," she said, "I need to know a heck of a lot more than I learned today."

Follow reporter Kyle Peterson at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufortCo.