Huntsman on China-GOP comparison: I was "waxing philosophical"

Former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman.
Getty Images/Joe Raedle
(CBS News) Former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman on Monday clarified remarks he made the previous night comparing the Republican party to communist China, arguing in an appearance on MSNBC that he had merely been "waxing philosophical" and that his comments had been taken out of context.

"You get these blogs out there, you know, Bottom-feeder, Buzzsaw, Buzzfeed, whatever they are, and they take a sentence out of context and it becomes a headline and pretty soon mainstream newspapers pick up on that," Huntsman said in an interview with "Morning Joe."

Buzzfeed reported Sunday night that the former Republican presidential candidate, in an interview at the 92nd Street Y, "took a battle axe to his own party, comparing it to China's Communist Party and criticizing its standard bearer."

"I said, you know, if you're not on-script and you get knocked out of an event like that - the parties are supposed to be big-tent, you're supposed to bring in all ideas - and I said, I thought for a moment about what they do in China if you're off-script. The party, they knock you out. We shouldn't be doing that here, we should be accommodating all voices," Huntsman said Monday.

The former Utah governor appears to be embracing the freedom that comes from not being a White House candidate. Huntsman's original comments were in reference to the fact that he had been disinvited to a Florida Republican party fundraiser after calling for a third party candidate to bring more moderate ideas into the national political conversation.

"This is what they do in China on party matters if you talk off script," Huntsman said of the rescinded invite at the 92nd Street Y Sunday night, according to Buzzfeed.

During the same interview, the former ambassador to China also criticized the GOP candidates broadly for their foreign policy, particularly with respect to the world's second largest economy -- though he did not mention presumptive nominee Mitt Romney by name.

"I don't know what world these people are living in," said Huntsman, who backed the former Massachusetts governor immediately after dropping out of the race in January.

Referring to the crop of candidates who shared a debate stage with him last summer, he said he asked himself "is this the best we can do?"

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