Following former Governor John Sununu's endorsement of Mitt Romney, the Huntsman campaign released a public letter to Sununu. The letter begins with:
"Over the course of this campaign you have made it abundantly clear that you would endorse a conservative governor – a laudable criterion.
However, I am surprised that you believe Mitt Romney meets that threshold."
It then goes on to list Romney's what the campaign would call failings on taxes, healthcare and abortion It says it is impossible to conclude that Romney is a principled conservative.
It ends with:
"Mitt Romney and I have two very different records and visions for America’s future, which I look forward to sharing with voters in New Hampshire and across the nation. I even look forward to sitting down with you at some point if you ever care to learn the truth."
We called the Huntsman campaign and asked if Huntsman thinks that a man with Sununu's long experience in politics doesn't know the facts. Spokesman Michael Levoff said "Perhaps he's been spun by the Mitt Romney campaign."
We called former Governor Sununu. He said he hadn't seen the letter and suggested that maybe it got caught in his spam filter. Sununu said he chose Romney because he thinks he has the best approach going forward.
Sununu said he isn't bothered by Romney's history. "If people want to quibble about this and that in the past," Sununu said, "that's fine if you're writing a history book. We have to elect a president to replace President Obama and make sure he's a one-term president."
Sununu also said Huntsman was not one his finalists. He said for him, it came down to Romney or Perry.
Did the Huntsman campaign take a risk in saying one of the deans of the state GOP has a poor grasp of the truth? Levoff says no. This was just an opportunity to draw contrasts between Huntsman and Romney and he rejected the idea that this letter goes after Sununu in any way.
Asked if the tone of the letter might hurt their chances with GOP primary voters, Levoff said "New Hampshire has an open primaryprocess. We're attracting Democrats, Independents and Republicans."
In the most recent WMUR/Granite State poll, Huntsman took 8%.
Full Text of the Letter
Over the course of this campaign you have made it abundantly clear that you would endorse a conservative governor – a laudable criterion.
However, I am surprised that you believe Mitt Romney meets that threshold. Consider some of the fundamental issues:
- While Mitt Romney opposed the Bush tax cuts and raised taxes and fees by $750 million in Massachusetts, I signed the largest tax cut in Utah history which helped our state lead the nation in job growth.
- While Mitt Romney implemented government healthcare in Massachusetts – which included an individual mandate and became the blueprint for Obamacare – I signed free-market healthcare reform described as “the other end of the spectrum” from the Obama-Romney approach.
- While Mitt Romney once declared that he does not “line up with the NRA” and pledged to not “chip away” at Massachusetts’ onerous gun control laws, I signed landmark legislation to defend the Second Amendment.
- While Mitt Romney was once ardently pro-choice – stating in 1994 that “abortions should be safe and legal” – I am proud to be a lifelong defender of the sanctity of life.
- While Mitt Romney proudly declared himself an independent during the Reagan-Bush years – even saying during his Senate campaign that he was “not trying to return to Reagan-Bush” – I am proud to have served in President Reagan’s administration which ushered in a golden era of prosperity in America.
When you look at his past statements, positions and voting record, the idea that Mitt Romney is a principled conservative is an impossible conclusion. It is more than his one term dealing with a liberal legislature; it’s a lifetime and record of inconsistent and liberal positions.
One last thing I almost forgot to mention: while we both served President George H.W. Bush – you as Chief of Staff and me as ambassador to Singapore – Mitt Romney supported and voted for Democratic presidential candidate and potential Bush opponent Paul Tsongas.
Mitt Romney and I have two very different records and visions for America’s future, which I look forward to sharing with voters in New Hampshire and across the nation. I even look forward to sitting down with you at some point if you ever care to learn the truth.