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Huntsman Says GOP Field Has 'Zero Substance'; McCain Says Qaddafi Could Be Out Within 'Hours' Huntsman Says GOP Field Has 'Zero Substance'; McCain Says Qaddafi Coul...

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Sunday Show Blog

Huntsman Says GOP Field Has 'Zero Substance'; McCain Says Qaddafi Could Be Out Within 'Hours'


Jon Huntsman is doubling down on his newly combative stance in the GOP presidential race.(PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Correction: The original version of this article misstated Karl Rove's role with American Crossroads. He is an adviser to the organization.

1:20. Daniels Touts Ryan, Says GOP Needs Affirmative Message


Amid calls for Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to enter the GOP presidential race, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) suggested on Sunday that Ryan might provide just what the Republican field is lacking.

In an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Daniels stopped short of urging Ryan to run, but he said the House Budget chairman “would be a very effective and clear spokesman with a heart that I think our party must display.”

That “heart,” Daniels suggested, may be what the current field is missing. He said it would be important for Republicans to “unify and reach out to people” with an affirmative message rather than simply attacking President Obama.


“We know these folks have great personal qualities,” Daniels said of the current GOP field. “I’m waiting to hear their message.”

Asked about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s recent comment on “treasonous” policies at the Fed, Daniels lamented that Perry “made a serious point in an unfortunate way.”

“We don’t need to bash the president,” he said. “The failure of what he’s done… is pretty obvious to us all.”

-- Deron Lee


1:00. Gibbs Defends Obama's Vacation

Former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs defended the president for continuing on with his Martha’s Vineyard vacation in the midst of economic turmoil.

“The presidency goes with you wherever you go,” Gibbs said on NBC’s Meet the Press, noting that Obama was joined by counterterrorism chief John Brennan on Sunday.

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“I have no doubt right now that the president is likely sitting in Martha’s Vineyard getting an update on the situation in Syria and Libya, as well as talking to advisers about the economy,” Gibbs said, dismissing criticism over the vacation as merely “a big political game."

-- Deron Lee

12:30: Moody's Chief Urges Payroll Tax Cut, Deficit Reduction

Mark Zandi, the chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, urged President Obama on Sunday to include extending the payroll tax holiday in his jobs plan.

“As you know, we all have a holiday for this year,” Zandi said on CBS's Face the Nation. “We need to extend that in 2012. Otherwise the drag on the economy will be too great.”

Zandi also said that Congress needs to execute deficit reduction in a “reasonably graceful way.”

If they don’t, he said, “there will be more downgrades, turmoil in the stock market, and we’re back in recession.”

-- Ben Terris

12:20. Santorum Says He's More Electable Than Perry

Coming off a better-than-expected showing in the Ames Straw Poll, former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., laid out the case on Fox News Sunday that he is the most accomplished and electable GOP candidate.

Santorum trails Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the polls, but he suggested on Sunday that Perry’s message would not translate to swing states.

“Rick Perry has won in Texas. That’s great,” Santorum said. “We’re going to win Texas no matter who the nominee is. But we’re going to have to win Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. I’ve got the track record to win in those states.”

Santorum acknowledged that he had endorsed current front-runner Mitt Romney in the 2008 presidential primary, but he said the endorsement had come late and with considerable hesitation.

“In that race I really felt anybody but McCain was the best solution,” he said. His biggest concern about Romney, he said, “then and now, is Romneycare” -- the Massachusetts health reform law enacted during Romney’s tenure as governor that provided a model for President Obama’s health care law. Santorum said his first objective if elected would be to repeal “Obamacare.”

-- Deron Lee

11:00. McCain Says Qaddafi Could Be Out Within 'Hours'

With Libyan rebel forces closing in on Muammar el-Qaddafi, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., says that the end is near for the dictator.

“It’s a matter of hours if not days,” McCain said on Face the Nation. “I believe it’s nearing the end.”

Rebel forces and loyal Qaddafi forces are engaged in what has been described as the heaviest fighting in six months in the capitol of Tripoli, though Qaddafi’s exact whereabouts are unknown. McCain said that even if the dictator’s reign comes to an end, there are still a lot of challenges for Libya.

“It's going to be a big challenge forming a new government, uniting a country that has never known democracy,” he said. “We've seen the difficulties with other countries who made this transition, but we will be rid of a guy with the blood of Americans on his hands.”

In order for a transition to occur, McCain said Libya is still going to need outside help.

“I think they can succeed, but our European friends and we are going to have to help out a lot,” he said. “Let me just say this will send a message to [Syrian President] Bashar al- Assad, and to Yemen and to other dictators, that their time is nearing the end. This Arab spring is echoing all over the world.”

-- Ben Terris

10:30. Huntsman Slams GOP Field as Having 'Zero Substance'

On ABC’s This Week, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman did not hesitate to differentiate himself from the rest of the Republican presidential field. In fact, he went as far as to criticize the entirety of his GOP competition on their views of the economy.

“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,” Huntsman told ABC's Jake Tapper.  “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.”

Huntsman said that his opponents represented what is wrong with the current political landscape.

“Right now this country is crying out for a sensible middle ground,” he said. "Right now we have people on the fringes.... We have zero substance.”

No surprise, Huntsman said he believes he can provide that middle ground. He said that the “most important thing we can do is” create a competitive tax code that phases out loopholes, lowers the rate, and broadens the base. He also said that another important step would be to work toward energy independence and end the nation's “heroin-like dependence” on foreign oil.

-- Ben Terris

10:05. Rove Says Palin More Likely to Run than Not

American Crossroads adviser Karl Rove on Sunday laid better than even odds that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will still jump into the Republican presidential race.

“I’m not a gambler, but I’d put in a bit more money that she does get in than she doesn’t. The schedule she’s got next week in Iowa, it looks more like that of a candidate rather than a celebrity,” Rove said on Fox News Sunday.

But, he added, “you can only tease so many times in the political process, and it looks like she’s getting to the end of that.”

Rove also took a jab at his host, Fox’s Bret Baier, over the much-discussed moment in the Fox News Republican debate when the candidates raised their hands to affirm that they would not vote for a tax increase even if it was accompanied by spending cuts that outnumbered the tax hike by 10 to 1.

“Brett, with all due respect, that was a lousy question for a debate,” Rove said. “If you wanted to get a better answer, ask the candidates individually.”

-- Deron Lee

9:40. Axelrod Previews Obama Jobs Plan

Last summer, with unemployment over 9 percent, President Obama said that creating jobs was his priority. Now, a year later, unemployment still hovers above 9 percent. Obama’s senior campaign strategist, David Axelrod, went on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning to say the problem does not lie in the president’s policies, but rather the political state of the country.

In previewing the jobs plan that Obama will reveal in September, Axelrod said, “These are not all new ideas.”

“There are things that he has been asking Congress to do for some time, for example extending the payroll tax cut that was passed in January for another year,” he said. “There are basic things we need to do relative to infrastructure, rebuilding roads and bridges, and that needs to get done. So some of the things will be familiar because he has been talking about them.”

Axelrod said the forthcoming plan has “nothing in there that reasonable people shouldn’t be able to agree on.”

When asked how the proposal might address entitlements such as Medicare, Axelrod said he didn’t want to come out in front of the president’s plan, but said Obama believed “modest adjustments” to Medicare would ultimately be necessary to keep the program viable.

-- Ben Terris

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