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Jon Ward

Senior Political Reporter, The Huffington Post

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Jon Huntsman: Country 'Divided Because Of Attitudes Like' Romney's

Posted: 01/08/12 11:15 AM ET Updated: 01/08/12 11:51 AM ET

Jon Huntsman finally scored some points, and Mitt Romney didn't exactly make himself look great while disparaging Huntsman's time as U.S. Ambassador to China.

Huntsman raised the point unilaterally, going off topic to point out that Romney -- in last night's debate -- criticized him for becoming an ambassador in the Obama administration.

"I was criticized last night by Gov. Romney for putting my country first," Huntsman said. "He criticized me while he was out raising money, for serving my country in China, yes under a Democrat, like my two sons are doing in the United States Navy. They're not asking what political affiliation the president is."

"I will always put my country first and I think that's important," Huntsman said.

Romney essentially doubled down on his assertion that serving as an ambassador under a president of the opposite political party is an unworthy undertaking.

"I think we serve our country first by standing for people who believe in conservative principles and doing everything in our power to promote an agenda that does not include President Obama's agenda," Romney said. "The decision to go to work for President Obama is one which you took, and I don't -- I respect your decision to do that. I just think it's most likely that the person who should represent our party running against President Obama is not someone who called him a remarkable leader and went to be his ambassador in China."

Huntsman shot back immediately: "This nation is divided because of attitudes like that."

The crowd applauded Huntsman's retort. He went on to say that "the American people are tired of the partisan division."

"They have had enough. There is no trust left among the American people and the institutions of power and among the American people and their elected officials," Huntsman said.

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