“The best ideas are going to come out of the states,” said Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman, speaking to a group of bloggers, online journalists and digital strategists at the Heritage Foundation.
Huntsman, who has seen an uptick in interest in his candidacy since the last two Republican debates that showcased his foreign policy strengths, used the event to draw on his experience as Utah’s governor as a way to reinforce his domestic bonafides.
Huntsman served as Utah’s governor from 2004 until 2009, when he was appointed by President Barack Obama to be U.S. ambassador to China.
In a wide-ranging talk, Huntsman’s discussion included Medicare, Medicaid, social security, education, global warming and the deficit, arguing that the answers to many of the country’s problems “are at the state level.”
“Our number one challenge — the economic deficit — can be changed,” said Huntsman. He suggested that the United Stares “could be on the cusp of an manufacturing renaissance.”
However, according to Huntsman, the United States also faces a devastating “trust deficit” resulting from “no trust toward Congress,” “no leadership” from the executive, and total distrust of Wall Street. “The people of this nation no longer have trust in the institutions of power,” he said.
“I want to phase out corporate welfare — totally,” said Huntsman.
“I’m still trying to find the value of the Department of Education,” said Huntsman, pointing out that he was the first governor to opt out of No Child Left Behind.
“Every child has a genius within... It’s not about resources, it’s about priorities,” he added.
When asked about his position on global warming, Huntsman responded by saying that the “scientific community owes us more,” adding that he would not “unilaterally disarm” the U.S. economy to accommodate environmental policies.
It is worth noting that Huntsman did not address an audience at a standard Heritage Foundation event, but rather a unique forum at the Heritage Foundation known as “The Bloggers Briefing” that some speakers view as an opportunity to get their message out among a mostly friendly media audience.
According to the Heritage Foundation, “The Bloggers Briefing was founded in May 2006 as a weekly policy discussion for bloggers, online journalists and digital strategists...Each week we strive to bring together online communicators and newsmakers for a mix of discussion and debate.”