Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman engaged in a friendly, rather academic foreign policy debate today that saw more agreement than fireworks, the Los Angeles Times reports. Modeled on the Abraham Lincoln-Stephen Douglas debates of 1858—in which candidates spoke for long uninterrupted stretches—the two Republican contenders discussed issues including Iran, China, and Afghanistan at a college in New Hampshire. “I can see my daughter nodding off over there,” quipped Huntsman.
Among the medium-lights:
- Both were hawkish on Iran. Gingrich equated a nuclear-armed Iran with a second Holocaust, and Huntsman called it “the transcendent threat of this decade.”
- Huntsman, a former ambassador to China, described a "nationalistic, hubristic generation" emerging there, but said its rise to power could lead to better dialogue with Washington, the Atlantic notes.
- Huntsman wants US troops out of Afghanistan.
- Gingrich called Obama's foreign policy dangerously unfocused: "We're randomly using our forces," he said.
- Gingrich also disapproved of Obama's handling of former Egyptian ally Hosni Mubarak: "Obama dumped him in a very unceremonious way."
to see how the candidates and audience reacted after the debate. (Read more Jon Huntsman 2012