Statement by Jon Huntsman - Boycotting Tonight's Debate
I feel strongly that I must do more than pay lip service to this issue -- not only for the voters of New Hampshire, but for the integrity of the GOP presidential process.
This evening, rather than accept my invitation to CNN's presidential debate in Nevada, I will be hosting a town hall in New Hampshire to show my solidarity with the Granite State's first-in-the-nation primary status. I want you to be clear about why I made this difficult but necessary decision.
As the nation's first primary state, New Hampshire has long held a unique and powerful role in nominating presidential candidates -- a responsibility the people of that state take very seriously.
The state's tradition of retail politics serves as a critical vetting process in American presidential contests, and its importance in our democratic system shouldn't be underestimated or undermined.
At town halls, backyard BBQ's and VFW halls across New Hampshire, I have had the opportunity to engage voters in substantive discussions on the serious challenges facing our country - the solutions to which cannot be boiled down to catchy slogans or 30-second sound bites. I am proud that our message of bold reforms and principled leadership is resonating as we continue to rise in New Hampshire polls.
In recent weeks, however, New Hampshire's role has been threatened by Nevada's decision to move its presidential caucus up to January - a decision influenced by Gov. Romney's campaign in a clear attempt to manipulate the electoral process.
As a result, I have announced I will boycott the Nevada caucus in January. Several other candidates have joined my boycott, though unfortunately they will also be participating in tonight's debate.
While I understand my absence this evening will sacrifice national media attention, I feel strongly that I must do more than pay lip service to this issue -- not only for the voters of New Hampshire, but for the integrity of the GOP presidential process.
Since you will not see me on the stage in Nevada, our campaign will offer video of the town hall on our website so you can hear real solutions - not meaningless sound bites. I hope you can take time to watch it, and I appreciate your continued support.
Jon Huntsman, Statement by Jon Huntsman - Boycotting Tonight's Debate Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/298652