Former Gov. Jon Huntsman
Primary Night
Manchester, NH
January 10, 2012

[Chants: Join the Hunt]  Thank you ladies and gentlemen.  I'd say third place is a ticket to ride, ladies and gentlemen.  Hello, South Carolina!

Ladies and gentlemen we are here tonight because of you.  We've got the greatest volunteers, the greatest organizers this state has ever seen.  Give yourselves a hand. 

And we proved the point that this state wants its candidates to earn it the old-fashion way—that's on the ground, handshake by handshake, conversation by conversation, vote by vote.  We got it done, ladies and gentlemen.

You know what else we got done during this great seven months where we've had at least 170 public events in this great state.  A hundred and seventy public events.  No one even came close.  We had conversations about the importance of putting this country first, ladies and gentlemen.

Because the people... [chants: Country First]  Because the people of this great nation—the greatest nation that ever was—they're tired of being divided.  They want leadership that will stand up and tell us all that first and foremost we need to come together as Americans in order to solve our problems.

We need a president, ladies and gentlemen, that's going stand up and say we have an economic deficit—it's called $15 trillion in debt.  This isn't a debt problem; it is a national security problem, and we are not going to leave it to the next generation of Americans, ladies and gentlemen. 

And I want to stand up, and I want to square with the American people about this.  Afghanistan is not our nation's future.  And Iraq is not this nation's future.  Our nation's future is how prepared we are to rise up as the American people and hit head on the competitive challenges of the 21st century.  You know what I'm talking about?

And this is about economics.  And this is about education.  And this is going to play out over the Pacific Ocean with countries that I have lived in before.  And all I can tell you tonight, without any hint of hyperbole folks, if we don't get our act together at home, we will see the end of the American century by 2050, and we are not going to let that happen, are we?

Ladies and gentlemen we've also been able to get our message out to the people of this great state about a second deficit that we have.  It's not an economic deficit, but it is just as corrosive as the economic deficit.  It's called a trust deficit.  Because the people of the greatest nation that ever was, the United States of America, no longer trust their institutions of power, and no longer trust their elected officials.  And I say how did we get to this spot?  We are too good as people to be in this hole.  We are the most blue sky, problem-solving, can-do, optimistic people on Earth, and we're going to get out there and we're going to address the trust deficit. 

And it's going to start, and it's going to start with Congress because everybody knows Congress needs term limits.  And everybody knows we've got to close that revolving door that allows members of Congress to file right on out to become lobbyists, trading in on their insider information and relationships.  And we wonder why there is cynicism as seen by the American people toward Congress.  No trust.

And I say, there is no trust in our wars abroad, ladies and gentlemen, and we're going to fix that part.  Because I'm going to stand up in front of the American people, and I'm going to say we have something to show for our ten years in the war on terror, something to show for the American people that's mighty important.  We have run the Taliban from power.  We have upended and dismantled Al Quaeda; they're now in sanctuaries in Waziristan and beyond.  Osama bin-Laden is no longer around.  We've had free elections.  We have strengthened civil society and helped the military and helped the police.  We have done what this nation can do.  It is time to bring the troops home from Afghanistan, ladies and gentlemen.

We need trust infused back into this nation.  We need a president who's going to stand up and say it's time we come together as Americans first and foremost.  This nation, the greatest nation on Earth, has every, every attribute a nation would ever want for success.  You know that.  That's why we're going to succeed as we go forward.  All we need is a little bit of leadership and a plan. 

But I saw this nation from 10,000 miles away, you hear me?  Ten thousand miles away.  When you see this nation from abroad, you tend to see it in bold colors.  You know what I saw from 10,000 miles away living over in China?  I saw a nation with the greatest people on Earth, a nation that is down for the moment, down temporarily, but a nation that's about to rise up again because we have every attribute a nation would ever want to succeed. 

We have stability.  We have rule of law.  We have the longest surviving Constitution in the world.  We even have private property rights right here in New Hampshire.  We have the greatest colleges and universities on Earth, and people flock here from every corner to attend them.  We have the most creative, innovative and entrepreneurial people anywhere, and they're sitting on their hands because there is no confidence about the direction or the leadership of this nation.  And I say that's an engine of growth that we are going to re-fire. 

And I say we have the greatest and most courageous armed forces this nation has ever seen.  And I'll be darned if we're going to allow the men and women come from the theaters of combat, the front lines, to the unemployment lines.  That's not going to happen.  Those men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States of America in the theater of combat are going to come home to dignity and respect and to admiration, and they're going to come home to jobs and opportunity as well.  And they're going to do the same thing for this nation that the "Greatest Generation" did so many decades ago.  They rebuilt this nation.  They pulled this nation up by the bootstraps, and there's another greatest generation coming up.  You know the people I'm talking about.  They're in your families, they're in our neighborhoods; we love them all.  And they're going to do what earlier generations did.  They're going to help us rebuild this nation.  They're going to help us make it the very best it possibly can be. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I love this state.  This state, this state we have worked hard and diligently.  We have pounded the pavement.  We have shaken hands.  We have had conversations.  We have won people over person by person.  This is the old way to get politics done in New Hampshire.  And my confidence in the system is reborn because of the people of New Hampshire.  Because they just turn out at these town hall meetings; nobody forces them, nobody tells them they have to do it.  It's because they believe in a better tomorrow for the United States of America.  [voice from crowd: They believe in Jon Huntsman.]  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  And they turn out to the town hall meetings and they turn out to the house parties and they hear from the candidates, and then they assimilate and they digest it all and then they render a judgment.  And here we sit tonight ladies and gentlemen with a ticket to ride and to move on.  Here we go to South Carolina.  Thank you all so very much.  Thank you.


Transcript Copyright © 2012 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.  All rights reserved.