MIAMI (CBS4) – On a visit to South Florida, Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman dropped by CBS4 and sat down for an extensive interview with anchor Antonio Mora.

His trip comes at a time when he’s gotten positive reviews for his economic plan, but when his poll numbers are stuck in the low single digits.

His plan for turning around the economy calls for simplifying the tax system, cutting spending, and lowering tax rates for individuals and businesses while eliminating loopholes.  The former Utah governor and Ambassador to China also calls for significant regulatory reform, believing those measures will jump start the economy and create jobs.  “It’s too late for President Obama.  He’s had two years and now he’s being analyzed on those two years and all you have to show for it is Obamacare.”

Huntsman blames the president for failing to create the confidence necessary for the economy to recover and create jobs.

Huntsman said he sees China as our greatest economic foreign policy challenge, but also as an opportunity for U-S businesses.

On the security front he called Iran “clearly the transcendent foreign policy challenge of the decade.”

“We have a choice.  You either say we can live with a nuclear Iran, in which case you have nuclear proliferation concerns in the Middle East,” said Huntsman. “Or you say I can’t live with a nuclear Iran in which case all options have to be on the table.”

When asked if he’d support Israel attacking Iran and Huntsman answered, “At some point Israel is going to respond.  In a world, at least personally, where I can’t live with a nuclear Iran, sure I would support Israel.”

Huntsman breaks ranks with most of his Republican opponents in pushing for quicker withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“Afghanistan is not this country’s future.  Iraq is not this country’s future.  Our future is how well prepared we are economically and educationally to compete in the twenty-first century and that’s going to play out across the Pacific Ocean in countries that I’ve lived in,” said Huntsman. “We are either up to that challenge or we’ll see the end of the American Century by 2050.”

Huntsman is betting on New Hampshire to move him into the top echelon of candidates, hoping straight talk will resonate in the nation’s first primary state.

“I’m not going to pander, I’m not going to sign any silly pledges, I’m not going to do a lot of the things some people will do to contort themselves into a pretzel,” said Huntsman. “I am a problem solving firebrand.  They can see what I did in my state when I took it to number one, the best-managed state in America, and I will tell it like it is.”

Huntsman minces no words when it comes to Cuba.  He’s pro-embargo, and pledges to not negotiate with the Castro regime until democratic reforms are instituted.  Huntsman also said he’ll push for the repeal of the President’s health plan and that he wants to fix social security with means testing and by gradually raising the retirement age.

You can see the full, extensive interview with the candidate on News and Views this Saturday at 10 a.m., on CBS4.


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