With Washington embroiled in a last ditch effort to raise the debt ceiling Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman said President Obama missed an opportunity to lead, noting that while the country will meet its financial obligations and avoid default the bill fails on several levels.
"What we're not getting is a balanced budget amendment, a movement toward a balanced budget amendment," said Huntsman, adding there should have been "real focus on entitlement reform, which if we want to take this seriously - that is debt and spending - we've got to deal with entitlements realistically."
Huntsman, the former Governor of Utah, made the comments while campaigning in New Hampshire on Monday, also questioning the leadership of other Republican presidential candidates, "it's easy to take a political position later on - it's tough to take a position early on, which is the real world. These are real world issues and leaders step up and take on these real world issues and they make decisions that matter."
In a thinly veiled jab at Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who has repeatedly stated she will not vote to raise the debt ceiling, Huntsman said "you have some in favor of crash and burn. I don't consider that to be a policy."
Huntsman, also a former Obama Administration U.S Ambassador to China, has been largely absent from New Hampshire since June 22, when he visited the 'First in the Nation' presidential primary state on the same day he formally announced his candidacy in front of the Statue of Liberty.
However, this week Huntsman will make multiple stops in what is seen as the beginning of a big push in the Granite State."We've always felt that New Hampshire would be a critically important state for us... We're banking on New Hampshire, we're working New Hampshire hard," said Huntsman.The Huntsman campaign now has more than twenty paid staffers in New Hampshire, the largest organization of any candidate.
In a signal of his campaign strategy Huntsman has indicated he will skip Iowa and focus his full attention on New Hampshire. However, he faces an uphill battle against Granite State frontrunner Mitt Romney who is the former Governor of neighboring Massachusetts and owns a home in New Hampshire, giving him better name recognition within the state.