TODAY   |  January 10, 2012

Huntsman: I have support across spectrum

Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman tells TODAY’s Ann Curry that the GOP presidential nominee must be able to steal some votes from President Obama and that he’s the man for the job, citing his support from voters across the political spectrum.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> governor john huntsman is also in manchester. good morning to you.

>> ann, it's a pleasure being with you. this may be a harbinger of the race.

>> let's talk about that. congratulations are in order. you're rising to three in the latest new hampshire poll. you have been endorsed by the boston globe which is in mitt romney 's home state. that said, having skipped iowa to concentrate on new hampshire why are you not doing even better?

>> we started in new hampshire at zero. we are moving up with each passing hour. let's see what the results are tonight, but i can tell you this. if we can move out of new hampshire with a head of steam we'll prove the issue of electability. that's the one thing on the minds of voters in south carolina and beyond. if you can prove that point, fund-raising improve. we must beat the marketplace expectations.

>> beyond how well you do in new hampshire , in a race that's often won by the loudest, sharpest voices, how has your being relatively quiet in this race shown you to be electable, not only against the other republicans but also against barack obama ?

>> well, in order to beat barack obama , the bottom line is you've got to convince people who voted for barack obama last time to vote for you. that's the mathematical reality. we have taken a message to people in new hampshire . we have republicans, independents and democrats. the message of tackling the economic deficit and this trust deficit. we've got people coming to us as supporters from all over the spectrum. that's what's going to prove electability. you have to have math in your favor to beat barack obama longer term. that means you have to reach beyond the republican party to get it done.

>> let's look at the math. right now according to polls you're ahead of -- behind romney by 20 points. behind paul by at least 7 points. gingrich is nipping at your heels. if you don't come in the top three in new hampshire are you out of the race?

>> i don't want to play the expectation game. all i can tell you is new hampshire downtoesn't like to be told for whom to vote. i have a sneaking suspicious tonight may be a replay of new hampshire , stepping up and upending conventional wisdom.

>> you talked about resourcese. some of your supporters say if you don't prevail it will be because of lack of resources. why as the son of one of the richest families in america have you gotten to the point where your campaign could falter because of a lack of money?

>> well, the campaign isn't going to falter. i think having a well-to-do family member has nothing to do with it. we believe in giving to charities and humanitarian causes. politics isn't a charitable cause . you earn it the old-fashioned way. voters will respond. the traditional funders of campaigns will respond, too. they want a winner. tonight i think we'll prove that we have the staying power and we've got the ability to bring this thing home from an electability standpoint. uh i think that will change the financial dynamic in ways that will be positive.

>> those are fighting words. i should ask you about something in the washington post , a column that suggests that 2012 is a dry run, in your mind, for to 16. -- 2016 . is it?

>> i don't think in terms of long-term political calculations. the issues on the stump are 2012 issues. they can't wait for 2016 . i care about this country. i uh'm passionate about taking the message out. 2012 is the year for e me. i don't spend time thinking beyond that.

>> all right. governor john huntsman, thank you very much for joining us.