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Press Release - Huntsman, Palin ask: Why'd Romney Hide From Debt Ceiling Debate?

August 03, 2011

[T]he thought that a candidate for the presidency of the United States wouldn't be willing to stand up during a time when leadership is needed like never before and to embrace or put forward a solution to get us to where we need to be, I think, is very telling.

In a Tuesday evening appearance on Sean Hannity's Fox News show, Sarah Palin blasted Mitt Romney as a man for whom she has no "respect" over his debt ceiling truancy. Palin, like Jon Huntsman before her, criticized Romney's extended demurral that stretched until a last-minute compromise framework was constructed over the weekend.

"Bless his heart," the former Alaska governor said last night, "but I do not have respect for what [Romney] has done through this debt increase debate. He did this, he waited until it was a done deal ... and then he came out and made a statement that he didn't like the deal after all."

Romney aides have defended the Bay Stater's pronounced silence as a reflection of the still-changing contours of the various bills bouncing through Congress. But the former governor offered no formal statement, even in the abstract, on the weeks-long negotiations until the entirety of the primary field had sized-up the now-adopted measure, because nothing evidences leadership quite like dithering.

Palin's souring sentiment of Romney, in fact, closely resembles the critique Huntsman has offered in recent days.

"So to dodge the debate or to wait until the debate is over effectively and to take a side, I don't consider that to be leadership," Huntsman said Monday in New Hampshire.

Romney's silence on the question of boosting the nation's credit limit was a curious outlier in the Republican primary field, though the position he eventually adopted was shared by all the contenders save for Huntsman. It was also shared by Palin.

Huntsman and Palin -- whose tenures overlapped and for whom the former offered the latter's vice presidential nominating speech at the 2008 Republican convention -- disagree. But he's commended the courage she and rivals Representatives Ron Paul and Michelle Bachmann have shown by taking a stand -- and sticking to it -- on of the transcendent crises awaiting the next president: Our bulging debt and deficit. ("I applaud them on taking on a position early on," he said. "I think that is commendable.")

He wasn't quite so understanding on Romney's balking, though: "[H]e certainly is one who waited right until the very end, until, effectively, a decision had been made. This is a significant issue before our country ... the thought that a candidate for the presidency of the United States wouldn't be willing to stand up during a time when leadership is needed like never before and to embrace or put forward a solution to get us to where we need to be, I think, is very telling."

Huntsman endorsed the compromise plan, shortly after the accord was struck, because it was the lone legislative solution to avert an unprecedented default on the federal government's obligations.

"While this framework is not my preferred outcome, it is a positive step toward cutting our nation's crippling debt," the governor's Sunday statement read. "Because the legislation promises cuts commensurate with the debt ceiling increase, forces a vote on a much-needed federal balanced budget amendment and provides the only avenue to avoid default, I encourage members of Congress to vote for this legislation."

Jon Huntsman, Press Release - Huntsman, Palin ask: Why'd Romney Hide From Debt Ceiling Debate? Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/298712

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