Huntsman called for the nation to make difficult decisions on taxes and spending to avert the "disaster" of the mounting federal deficit. He made an appeal to American exceptionalism that has become boilerplate for Republican candidates. Americans feel "the deck is stacked against them," he said, calling for new leadership in the White House.
"For the first time in our history, we are about to pass down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive and less confident than the one we got," he said. "This is totally unacceptable and totally un-American."
But in a departure from Republican party dogma that has put the war on terror at the forefront of the county's agenda, Huntsman suggested it was time for the U.S. to extricate itself from the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
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"It's not that we wish to disengage from the world, don't get me wrong," he said. "Rather we believe that our best long term national security strategy is rebuilding our core here at home."