Huntsman skipping GOP convention

Jon Huntsman
Republican presidential candidate, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, accompanied by his wife Mary Kaye, announces he is ending his campaign, Monday, Jan. 16, 2012, in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

(CBS News) Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate, will be forgoing this year's Republican national convention, he told Utah's Salt Lake Tribune Friday, citing an apparent dissatisfaction with the current state of the Republican party.

Huntsman, who dropped his bid for the GOP nomination in January, said he would be skipping all upcoming GOP conventions until the Republican Party had refocused its vision.

"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," Huntsman said. He told the Tribune he has attended all Republican national conventions since 1984, when Ronald Reagan was nominated.

Throughout his campaign, Huntsman expressed frustration at what he cast as America's increasingly "toxic" political discourse - including within his own party. When announcing his official withdrawal from the race, the former U.S. Ambassador to China admonished the remaining Republican presidential candidates for their infighting, arguing that "the current toxic form of our political discourse" would not endear the GOP to Americans.

Huntsman is one of a few Republican politicians who will readily admit his belief in the science behind climate change, and was the only GOP candidate who refused to sign a handful of GOP-led pledges -- including one not to raise taxes -- arguing that signing such pledges "diminishes the political discussion" and "jeopardizes your ability to lead once you get there."

He's not the only prominent politician to opt out of the convention this time around: A number of candidates in both parties have said they will not be attending their teams' respective events, likely due in part to the potential political liability of being associated with the name at the top of his or her party's political ticket.

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