Huntsman Takes His Pro-Science Message On the Air

By The Intersection | August 20, 2011 11:19 pm

By Jon Winsor

According to Tech President and, Thursday’s pro-science tweet by Jon Huntsman was one of the most effective tweets on record by a GOP candidate. The 90 character message was retweeted over 3600 times (50% higher than Sarah Palin’s best) and earned him 4,275 followers on a single day. It also earned attention from major newspapers, such as the New York Times. Attention isn’t poll numbers (Huntsman isn’t polling well) but it’s attention.

Perhaps sensing that this could be an important theme for him, Huntsman is taking it to the airwaves. Jake Tapper posted some excepts from his interview with Huntsman airing tomorrow on ABC’s This Week:

TAPPER: These comments from Governor Perry prompted you to Tweet, quote:  “To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming.  Call me crazy.” Were you just being cheeky or do you think there’s a serious problem with what Governor Perry said?

HUNTSMAN:  I think there’s a serious problem.  The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party – the anti-science party, we have a huge problem.  We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012.  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 Science – 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.

The Republican Party has to remember that we’re drawing from traditions that go back as far as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, President Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and Bush.  And we’ve got a lot of traditions to draw upon.  But I can’t remember a time in our history where we actually were willing to shun science and become a – a party that – that was antithetical to science. I’m not sure that’s good for our future and it’s not a winning formula.

Huntsman also took on another subject that we’ve covered on this blog, the GOP debt ceiling deniers.  (Early on, we covered Huntsman’s position opposing default.)

TAPPER:  You were one of the only, if not the only Republican candidate, to support the deal to raise the debt ceiling.  You called Congresswoman Bachmann’s position a, quote, “crash and burn” approach. Would you trust a President Bachmann to do the right thing with the economy?

HUNTSMAN:  Well, I wouldn’t necessarily trust any of my opponents right now, who were on a recent debate stage with me, when every single one of them would have allowed this country to default.  You can imagine, even given the uncertainty of the marketplace the last several days and even the last couple of weeks, if we had defaulted the first time in the history of the greatest country that ever was, being 25 percent of the world’s GDP and having the largest financial services sector in this world by a long shot, if we had defaulted, Jake, this marketplace would be in absolute turmoil.  And people who are already losing enough as it is on their 401(k)s and retirement programs and home valuations, it would have been catastrophic.

To be fair, the notion that the other candidates would all have  “let the country default” is probably hyperbole. But the presidential candidates and other political actors did make noises that they didn’t take default seriously–to such an extent that this affected the S & P decision making (according to S & P officials’ own statements).

I’ll post an interview clip from ABC when it becomes available.

Update: ABC has posted the interview. The science-based policy discussion starts at about 5:30:

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Politics and Science
MORE ABOUT: Jon Huntsman

Comments (13)

Links to this Post

  1. News From Around The Blogosphere 8.21.11 « Skepacabra | August 23, 2011
  1. mildly interested

    This is very good news.

    He is, of course, correct.

    He stands to lose all Koch Bros, Big Oil and Big Coal funding.

    So be it. The Kochs, oil, and coal are not the future. I know there’s Big Money that doesn’t want that message to get out, but the reality is, they aren’t the future.

    People who throw all their money in the ring of anti-science, racially prejudiced, financially irresponsible politicians will indeed be on the losing side.

    It doesn’t take any genius to see that, but then again when 100% of your raison d’etre is to promote ignorance, as is the case with the climate denial industry, FOX, and the GOP in general, it’s not surprising they can’t see that.

    I was SO happy to see Al Gore call BS. We need more of that, Al, not an apology!

    We already have an apologist who sells us down the river every time, and his name is Obama.

    If I did believe in God, I’d be praying real hard right now for just one, any, candidate worth my vote. Please, God just one!

    Because there sure aren’t any now.

  2. Mark

    This is nice to see, of course. Sadly, though, Jon Huntsman is one of the few sane adults left in his party. If you go on conservative websites and look at the comments, they all seem to think scientific truth is up for popular vote. As if we could hold a referendum on whether the glaciers will keep melting. If we declare ourselves blameless by landslide vote, that will shame those left-wing glaciers into growing again.

    It didn’t work for the Pope with Galileo’s discovery in the 15th century, and it won’t work now either.

  3. Nullius in Verba

    So, if he got through, would all you Democrats vote for him as a result of his stance?

  4. bad Jim

    I half hope Huntsman is savaged by his fellow Republicans for his sanity. I want the eventual Republican candidate to be so ridiculously unpalatable to the general public that he goes down in flames, which is why I’m rooting for Rick Perry.

    The recent NYTimes poll had the tea party less popular than atheists or Muslims yet more popular than the religious right. I’m actually hoping that no one who isn’t crazy can get through the right wing filter next year. This strategy has problems; a lot of crazies got elected last year, but in a general election with decent turnout sanity ought to be an advantage.

    (What’s that you say, Lassie? Reagan had Alzheimer’s? Bush? Bush?! No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the public?)

  5. Don

    Nullius, are you a Republican?

  6. Mike C

    Nice to see that there is a centrest/moderate republican actually running this year. I won’t vote for crazy!

  7. As someone who generally votes Democrat, I still vote the person and not the party. I would definitely consider voting for Jon Huntsman. I have been a resident of Utah for 16 years and considered him a fairly open-minded governor, particularly when he signed Utah on to the Western Climate Initiative ( The seriously-less-than liberal Utah state House of Representatives (with the “blessing” of the right-wing Eagle Forum – they thought Bob Bennett too liberal) has passed resolutions calling climate science a “conspiracy” and demanding that Huntsman’s successor Gary Herbert (he was Huntsman’s lieutenant governor) pull out of the Western Climate Initiative.

    It remains to be seen whether Huntsman can win the nomination. I feel he would be real competition for Obama. However, he is not on board with the tea party agenda.
    His relation with Huntsman Chemical would be scrutinized under the microscope, as it should be.

  8. Al Cibiades

    The time for clan-loyalty (democrat v republican, conservative v progressive, etc) is over. This self-serving logic has promulgated xenophobia, idiocy, deceit and general racing to the lowest common-de-nominator.

    We need people with integrity, intelligence and realizable leadership — 2 out of 3 is NOT sufficient. Unfortunately, the US political process seems to self-select AGAINST these qualities.

    Huntsman, in particular, is an interesting candidate: Son of billionaire Mormon, Jon dropped out of high school to play keyboard for a rock band, was Mormon missionary to China, speaks fluent Chinese, reduced taxes as Governor of Utah, increased spending and ended up with a surplus – garnering Utah the position of top 3 states to do business in, and his administration top marks for financial management.

  9. Nullius in Verba




    Thanks. That’s interesting. So there may be some benefit to it for him, if he can get the nomination.

  10. jerry

    Ron Paul has supported evolution for as long as I can remember. Don’t know why there isn’t an article on him here.

  11. Incredulous

    3. Nullius in Verba

    Actually, if they feel that Perry is such a bad candidate, they should rally behind him so there is not a stronger Republican candidate to challenge the Democrats in the final election.

  12. Most media outlets are wondering if he’s trying to lose. I think he sees 2012 as a branding opportunity and that he’s really running for 2016.


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