Jon Huntsman: Mitt Romney 'Is In The Hip Pocket Of Wall Street'
During a New Hampshire campaign event on Monday, Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman had some harsh words for fellow contender Mitt Romney.
As CNN reports, Huntsman said of the former Massachusetts governor, "Anyone who is in the hip pocket of Wall Street because of all the donations they are picking up, like Mr. Romney, is in these days not going to be the change agent who is going to fix the too-big-to-fail banking system." Per MSNBC, Huntsman's comments were delivered to an audience of about 80 people.
Huntsman went even further in his attack on Romney. Presumably referring in part to endorsements that Romney has received from Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Congressman Charlie Bass (R-N.H.), Huntsman said, "You should be wary of any candidate who carries the endorsements of every member of Congress, because it means they're going to be a status quo president."
This is not first time Huntsman has gone after Romney. During a Republican presidential debate last week in Washington, D.C., the two candidates sparred over Afghanistan policy. HuffPost's Sam Stein reports:
In one of his sharper moments in Tuesday night's debate, Jon Huntsman pressed Mitt Romney specifically over his willingness to defer to military commanders when it comes to U.S. policy in Afghanistan.
"At the end of the day the President of the United States is Commander in Chief, Commander in Chief. Of course you are going to listen to the generals... but the president is Commander in Chief," Huntsman declared, underscoring the argument that Romney was outsourcing policy to the Pentagon.
To bolster his point, Huntsman pointed to the Vietnam War as an instance in which military command dictated U.S. policy too far. The invocation of Vietnam as a nadir in U.S. history may not win over the GOP crowd. But it certainly got Romney a bit piqued.
"Of course the Commander in Chief makes the final decision," he replied. "But the Commander in Chief makes that decision based upon that input of people closest to the ground."
In addition to criticizing his opponent's ties to Wall Street, the former Utah governor announced on Monday a plan to prevent future bank bailouts. Per Bloomberg Businessweek, "Huntsman's priorities include ending 'too big to fail' by setting a 'hard cap' on bank size based on assets as a percentage of gross domestic product." As the Associated Press reports, "Huntsman also wants to shut mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and repeal the law, known as Dodd-Frank, that overhauled the financial system."
The candidate's plan to "end too-big-to-fail" is outlined on his official campaign website. Huntsman is quoted on the site as saying, "Capitalism without failure isn't capitalism. We need banks that are small and simple enough to fail, not financial public utilities."
Huntsman, whom MSNBC reports is polling at 8% in New Hampshire, has been aggressively courting the state's primary voters. He even made an appearance on a recent episode of "Saturday Night Live," heaping praise on the Granite State during the show's "Weekend Update."