This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 9, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: Well, he could be the surprise story tomorrow. Jon Huntsman on the hunt and now looking at least for a late surge.
The Republican presidential candidate has seen his numbers improve ahead of tomorrow’s New Hampshire primary. My guest is not all that surprised. John Mack, the former CEO of Morgan Stanley, now a top economic adviser to the former Utah governor, he joins me now in this exclusive chat. John Mack, good to see you.
JOHN MACK, FORMER CEO, MORGAN STANLEY: Good to see you, Neil. Thank you. Happy new year to you.
CAVUTO: You could have glommed on to any guy who looked like a winner, and you glommed on to the one by almost measure didn’t and doesn’t. Why?
MACK: Well, it’s pretty straightforward. I go to China often, as you know. And I got to know the governor there as ambassador. And I spent more time with him. And I would say three or four months later, he and his wife, Mary Kaye, were in town and wanted to sit down with me to get my support. So, Christy, my wife, and I sat down with them, and we enjoyed spending some time with them. And then we had dinner. We liked what he had to say. So on a lot of levels, we like what he stood for. You go back to what he did in Utah as governor and how he created jobs and what he did with taxes. I think his views are balanced.
CAVUTO: We just had a Club for Growth here who said they are not very balanced, he is a spender, and not the guy that a Club for Growth guy should like.
MACK: Well, look, everyone has a different view. I am giving you my view.
In my view, he is balanced. If you saw him on the debate this past Sunday, some of the questions that were asked, the way he handled it, and I think one of the things that resonated clearly with the audience and also with Christy and myself was his answer or his comment about the viciousness of the politics and the debate.
Let’s get to the issues. And stop picking on any nuance of a candidate that could embarrass them. Let’s talk what are about the real issues in the United States, and what we need to work on.
CAVUTO: When you talk about nastiness, then, John, what do you think of Newt Gingrich going after Mitt Romney and his Bain Capital stewardship? That almost sounds like a populist Democratic campaign.
MACK: Look, it is all about gotcha and he was trying to get him. I think what Romney did, it was private equity. As you and I have talked about that in the past, he did a good job at Bain. So that is not an issue that really needs to be flaunted and beaten up, just like I think some of the issues that people are going after Newt Gingrich on are not issues to me that really have to do how he would be as a president.
So, to get back to Huntsman, though, I like what he stands for. I like his experience in the international world. I like what he did when he was in Singapore as an ambassador. I like what he has done in China. And I like the answer to the criticism as a Republican, how can you take this job and work for a president and say some of the things you said about that president? His view is, as he has said, he’s an American, and you do what the president of the United States asks you to do.
So, I like all of that. I like his balance. I like his family values.
CAVUTO: You mentioned ambassador to China. The rap against him is he might be too congenial with the Chinese, as they’re taking advantage of us on trade and opening Apple stores and foreign Apple stores and on and on and on, and that he would be Mr. Nice Guy, but too nice.
MACK: But, Neil, what is the answer to that? Send no ambassador to China?
CAVUTO: I think Donald Trump gets a little in their face.
MACK: Yes, but Donald doesn’t do any business in China. And if he did I’m sure he would modify it somewhat.
We need someone to work with the Chinese and work with the U.S. politicians. One of the frustrating things I see when I go overseas -- and especially with China -- is what little experience our politicians have in dealing in the international community.
CAVUTO: So he has the international gravitas. You’re right there. But this is all politics, as you said. I know I am being very simplistic on it. But by not taking the "I will not hike taxes" pledge, he got a lot of conservatives in the party angry.
CAVUTO: His views on a lot of other issues are deemed to be much more to the left of his rivals, and that as a result, the only shot he has is in New Hampshire and that if he doesn’t make it here he will not make it anywhere. What do you make of that?
MACK: Well, number one, from a personal perspective, I like him being to the left of some of the candidates.
CAVUTO: You don’t think they could win?
MACK: I don’t know that.
CAVUTO: Who is your second choice?
MACK: My second choice is not why I’m on this show. But my second choice would be Romney. There’s no question about that.
CAVUTO: All right, but would you support any of them over Barack Obama?
MACK: I think the toughest president for the president would be Jon Huntsman. That would be my view.
I think he’s more balanced, he has broader experience, and he led when he was governor of Utah for two consecutive terms. He has international experience and he has served his country. I think he would be the toughest candidate for the president to run against.
CAVUTO: What do you think of the president seeing Bill Daley go today?
MACK: I have been so busy today, I did not see that.
CAVUTO: His chief of staff is leaving, not even a year on the job.
MACK: Well, you know, I have spoken to Bill about three or four months ago when he was transitioning. So once he made that original transition, his job was bifurcated.
I think everyone knew it was just a matter of time he would leave. So I don’t think anyone is surprised by that. I think it is unfortunate. I think Bill Daley has good balance. I think he understands the business community.
CAVUTO: It sounded to me, John, that he could not a word in edgewise or couldn’t get his views to reach out to business out there.
MACK: Neil, I would say -- and I don’t have firsthand experience, so it is kind of hearsay, but what I have heard, I think that has been an issue for a number of people in the White House, including Rahm.