CNN Lets Jon Huntsman's Daughter Rip GOP, Diss Sarah Palin

It's no secret that Jon Huntsman was the liberal media's Republican darling during primary season. Now he is skipping the GOP convention and has joined the liberal Brookings Institution, and CNN let his daughter Abby, a network regular, voice her father's disdain for today's Republican Party on Tuesday's Starting Point.

Consider her acerbic take on Huntsman introducing Sarah Palin at the 2008 Republican National Convention: "That's one of his least favorite clips."

"He was – he was deathly ill, if you can tell in his voice. He was not his normal self, unfortunately," Huntsman quipped.

Anchor Christine Romans helped tee her up with questions like this one: "there are -- many in the GOP who are – it's all about repealing this President. Your dad worked for this President." Could her question have echoed CNN's frustration with Republican efforts to repeal ObamaCare, instead of complying with Obama's law?

And Romans contributed to Huntsman's laments. When Huntsman complained of the GOP, "you can say repeal this, repeal that, but where are the ideas? That's what's really lacking today," Romans chuckled, "So many bumper stickers."

Why is Huntsman so upset? According to Abby, he's been "disenfranchised" from the party because he is a "modern day Republican" on social issues. Given how CNN feels about issues like gay marriage, it's no stretch to say he would be one of their favorite Republicans.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on June 10 on Starting Point at 8:46 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

[8:46]

CHRISTINE ROMANS: Former presidential candidate and Utah Governor Jon Huntsman says he won't be at the Republican Convention next month. He says the party needs to make bigger, broader, and bolder changes. Huntsman was a Reagan -- a Ronald Reagan delegate in 1984, and despite losing his voice, introduced a little known running mate named Sarah Palin four years ago.

(Video Clip)

JON HUNTSMAN, former Utah governor: History – history will be made tonight, and her name is Sarah Palin.

(Applause)

(End Video Clip)

ROMANS: I forgot, he lost his voice.

ABBY HUNTSMAN: That did him in, I think that was his last convention.

(Laughter)

LIZZA: Well, he was right. There was nothing wrong about – does your dad, well, does when he watches that clip, does he cringe?

A. HUNTSMAN: Yes. That's one of his least favorite clips. He was – he was deathly ill, if you can tell in his voice. He was not his normal self, unfortunately.

ROMANS: What is – what is the problem here for him and his party?

A. HUNTSMAN: Well you know, like – like Ali Velshi said earlier, you know the candidates are lying about the economy, and that's not the case necessarily in what we're talking about. But I think he's frustrated with the party. They are – like you said, they are not being inclusive. They are not talking about these big, bold ideas. And there are a lot of people that feel the same way that he does and it's because of the lack of leadership that we are in this position today.

And I think – I am very proud of my dad, because I think he is standing up for what a lot of people feel is a problem today, this lack of leadership, this lack of boldness that is so desperately needed in the party. That is – we don't have it today.

ROMANS: So do you think he is speaking for moderate Republicans?

A. HUNTSMAN: I think he's speaking for a lot of Republicans, and you know Independents and Democrats even. This is about – this above politics. This is about the country.

ROMANS: This is what he said to the Salt Lake City Tribune, "I will not be attending this year's convention nor any Republican Convention in the future until the party focuses on a bigger, bolder, more confident future for the United States, a future based on problem solving, inclusiveness and a willingness to address the trust deficit which is every bit as corrosive as our fiscal and economic deficits."

A. HUNTSMAN: You know I would argue that's – that's why he didn't do as well as a lot of people expected in the primaries because he is about boldness, he is about I guess standing up for what he feels is right, not throwing out the red meat because that's what people want to hear at the time.

ROMANS: Well he voted for a president that – much of – there are many GOP – there are -- many in the GOP who are – it's all about repealing this President. Your dad worked for this President.

A. HUNTSMAN: He did, because he always believes in putting country first and serving. And I think he's frustrated with the lack of ideas that are out there today. You know, like you said, you can say repeal this, repeal that, but where are the ideas? That's what's really lacking today.

ROMANS: So many bumper stickers. (Laughter)

CAIN: During the primary, I took the popular position of saying your dad was the best of the field, and he had some ideas that I thought –

(Crosstalk)

A. HUNTSMAN: That surprises me, Will. (Laughter)

CAIN: – enough, you've just got to get to know me here. No but between his ideas from entitlement reform to tax reform your dad had some bold ideas. But you know what I was often met with among conservatives? Skepticism over whether or not your dad was truly a committed conservative. I said the ideas bear that out, but since he's dropped out --

A. HUNTSMAN: He was probably arguably the most conservative governor of the reddest state in the country.

CAIN: But here's my question for you. Since he's dropped out of the race he's joined The Brookings Institute. He's not going to go to the Republican Party. Do I need to fear that my critics are going to be proved right that your dad isn't a committed conservative?

A. HUNTSMAN: No, he is a committed conservative. But what I think when it comes to social issues, I think he's a modern day Republican. And I think you're going to see the party move in that direction in time. I don't think we're there yet, and I think there a lot of people that are disenfranchised.
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014