The Sciences

Huntsman Takes His Pro-Science Message On the Air

The IntersectionBy The IntersectionAug 21, 2011 8:19 AM


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By Jon Winsor According to Tech President and, Thursday's pro-science tweet by Jon Huntsman was one of the most effective tweets on record by a GOP candidate. The 90 character message was retweeted over 3600 times (50% higher than Sarah Palin's best) and earned him 4,275 followers on a single day. It also earned attention from major newspapers, such as the New York Times. Attention isn't poll numbers (Huntsman isn't polling well) but it's attention. Perhaps sensing that this could be an important theme for him, Huntsman is taking it to the airwaves. Jake Tapper posted some excepts from his interview with Huntsman airing tomorrow on ABC's This Week:

TAPPER: These comments from Governor Perry prompted you to Tweet, quote: "To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy." Were you just being cheeky or do you think there's a serious problem with what Governor Perry said?HUNTSMAN: I think there's a serious problem. The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party - the anti-science party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012. When we take a position that isn't willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said, what the National Academy of Science - Sciences has said about what is causing climate change and man's contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position.

The Republican Party has to remember that we're drawing from traditions that go back as far as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, President Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and Bush. And we've got a lot of traditions to draw upon. But I can't remember a time in our history where we actually were willing to shun science and become a - a party that - that was antithetical to science. I'm not sure that's good for our future and it's not a winning formula.

Huntsman also took on another subject that we've covered on this blog, the GOP debt ceiling deniers. (Early on, we covered Huntsman's position opposing default.)

TAPPER: You were one of the only, if not the only Republican candidate, to support the deal to raise the debt ceiling. You called Congresswoman Bachmann's position a, quote, "crash and burn" approach. Would you trust a President Bachmann to do the right thing with the economy? HUNTSMAN: Well, I wouldn't necessarily trust any of my opponents right now, who were on a recent debate stage with me, when every single one of them would have allowed this country to default. You can imagine, even given the uncertainty of the marketplace the last several days and even the last couple of weeks, if we had defaulted the first time in the history of the greatest country that ever was, being 25 percent of the world's GDP and having the largest financial services sector in this world by a long shot, if we had defaulted, Jake, this marketplace would be in absolute turmoil. And people who are already losing enough as it is on their 401(k)s and retirement programs and home valuations, it would have been catastrophic.

To be fair, the notion that the other candidates would all have "let the country default" is probably hyperbole. But the presidential candidates and other political actors did make noises that they didn't take default seriously--to such an extent that this affected the S & P decision making (according to S & P officials' own statements). I'll post an interview clip from ABC when it becomes available. Update: ABC has posted the interview. The science-based policy discussion starts at about 5:30:

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