Gingrich, Huntsman Agree: Iran Is Scary

GOP candidates exchange foreign policy views in New Hampshire debate
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2011 6:35 PM CST
Republican presidential candidates, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, left, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich participate in a one-on-one debate in Manchester, N.H., Monday, Dec. 12, 2011.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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(Newser) – 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."
Visit Politico to see how the candidates and audience reacted after the debate. (Read more Jon Huntsman 2012 stories.)

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