Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman defended his status at the back of the 2012 pack Sunday, calling early polls "absolute nonsense" and urging Americans to "stay tuned" for a serious Republican frontrunner to emerge.
Huntsman, appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation," pointed to a series of past presidential candidates who flamed out despite early leads, and noted that "if we had gone by the polls back in 2008, Fred Thompson would be president, Howard Dean back in 2004," Huntsman told CBS' Bob Schieffer. "I believe we've already had about four frontrunners in the race so far.
"Stay tuned," he added. "There's a lot to play out."
Nevertheless, a handful of recent polls place the former Utah governor firmly at the bottom of the pack with less than two percent support - calling into question his ability to break into the ranks of candidates like Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, and Michele Bachmann.
Huntsman said his low polling numbers wouldn't prompt him to shift to the right.
"Let me just say, everybody kind of gets a label slapped on their forehead - which I think is unfortunate. All you have to do is look up at my record. My record is what it is," he said. "I'm running proudly on my record. I am who I am - as a politician and as a human being."
Huntsman touted his recently-unveiled jobs plan, which he said was modeled on the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission, and called for a "complete remake" of the American tax code.
"We forget we just haven't made a whole lot of progress in the last 30 years, all the while you have a lot of our competitor nations in the world who have made tremendous strides towards becoming more competitive," Huntsman said. "We're sitting kind of a little bit fat, dumb and happy as still 25 percent of the world's G.D.P., without having made the steps necessary to get us back in the game."
He continued: "So I'm calling for that which is bold. I know it's going to be politically controversial but I think it is absolutely needed at this point in our nation's history. Clearing out the cobwebs, clearing out the deductions, the corporate welfare, the subsidies, buying down the rate. And when I hear people saying you can take it down to zero, all I'm saying is you have to be real about the math here."