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Utah Governor on Terror and Politics

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," October 27, 2006, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, meanwhile, is Iran's defiance proof that anyone running for president in 2008, Democrat or Republican, needs to be very tough on the war on terror to win?

Joining me now is a very special guest, Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr.

Now, you might think talking terror with the governor of Utah does not seem in simpatico, but you're arguing it is, right?

GOV. JON HUNTSMAN JR., R-UTAH: Well, listen, if — if terror affects the stock market, and if the stock market affects the valuation of some of our companies here in Utah, then, absolutely, you have to make the connection that terror is a worldwide phenomena. And, even here, in the Intermountain West, we are affected by it economically, without question.

CAVUTO: Your party, though, Governor, sort of is confused in how they present that message on terror. And the argument is, is, it is going to cost it dearly next week. What do you think of that?

HUNTSMAN: I think the president has been very singular and focused against the war on terror.

Now, clearly, is there more that we need to do? Absolutely, there is more we need to do. We have a rogue state in Iran. We have a rogue state in North Korea. We have got mischief-makers that are allied with them. And there is more that we can do, absolutely.

I think the call for a summit at — called by the highest levels of our government is probably a very good thing to consider. We have got the U.N. Security Council that is not moving, because Russia is not agreeing with the language that is now before them.

But let's start with a form of economic strangulation, financial, and materiel that would go in support of nuclear programs and ballistic missile programs, and let's start the strangulation progress. But you also need the kinds of relationships in the world that will allow you to do that.

CAVUTO: Your party — I know you are very different, but your party is giving mixed messages on that now. And, even in your own family, I guess, there are mixed messages.

I know you like John McCain. You have been out, you know, all over the country with him. He has come here and greeted the legislature. Your dad, Jon Huntsman Sr., I think is supporting Mitt Romney. I could be wrong.

Is there — is there a mixed message even within the Huntsman family on who is best to handle this war on terror?

HUNTSMAN: We — we — we love each other in the Huntsman family.

(LAUGHTER)

HUNTSMAN: And there — there is great respect...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Well, he is going to be here later, so I'm going to be careful.

HUNTSMAN: You can get...

CAVUTO: All right.

HUNTSMAN: You — you can get it verified from him personally.

(LAUGHTER)

HUNTSMAN: Listen, we are — we're all for, first and foremost, an America that can properly represent and defend its values abroad.

And, in order to do that, you have got to have an economy that is strong enough to do that. And I think one of the messages that is being missed in this whole debate so far is the strength and the power of the U.S. economy today. I mean...

CAVUTO: Why don't you think that registers, Governor?

I mean, you are right. We have a market in and out of all-time highs. The economy seems to be doing well. We had a weak GDP report today. Nevertheless, the — the — the overwhelming data is overwhelmingly good.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Doesn't register in the polls. Why not?

HUNTSMAN: Because it's a good story, and nobody wants to talk about a good story.

I mean, I kind of, you know, say in jest, when I welcome you here, welcome to the — to the hottest economy in the hottest economy in the world. That isn't hyperbole. I mean, Utah is doing remarkably well economically in the U.S. economy, which is a powerhouse.

And all you have to do is visit places like China, which I was able to do last week. And you understand the power of the U.S. economy, and how people pay attention to a resilient, powerful, innovative, creative...

CAVUTO: But people in polls, Governor, unless it's the way the questions are raised, aren't paying attention.

HUNTSMAN: Well, and maybe it's because we have got unemployment rates that are — are significantly low. We have an economy that nobody is worried about.

Guaranteed, if the economy were misfiring right now, you would hear everybody talk about it. I haven't heard a single debate about — about outsourcing of jobs. I haven't heard a single debate about over — overall competitiveness. These are huge issues.

And the United States, for the most part, is getting them right. And that's a good story. And, because it's a good story, nobody is willing to talk about it.

CAVUTO: Real quickly, John McCain, clearly, your guy — or so it would appear — do you think he is going to be the next president?

HUNTSMAN: I don't know. I hope he runs. I think he is a good man.

I spent 9/11 in Vietnam. I — I visited the Hanoi Hilton, where he spent five-and-a-half years. In order to understand the man, you have to understand where he has been.

And I am attracted by a few issues.

Ethics — I think ethics needs to be strengthened in government. I think he — he has got the capability to do that.

World view — he has a very good gut when it comes to understanding America's interests.

Service and sacrifice...

CAVUTO: All right.

HUNTSMAN: ... I think it's there.

Transcending partisan divides, I think that is there, too.

Fiscal conservatism...

CAVUTO: So, it's not causing any food fights at the Huntsman dinner table or anything like that?

HUNTSMAN: Oh, listen. We — we — we already have pretty robust debates...

(LAUGHTER)

HUNTSMAN: ... around the — around the dinner table...

CAVUTO: I bet you do.

HUNTSMAN: ... and great respect for another other.

And I might tell you that the last debate was around the 2000 presidential election...

CAVUTO: That's right.

HUNTSMAN: ... where we were on different sides, as well.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Exactly. I remember that distinctly.

All right. Governor, thank you very much.

We will have your dad here a little later in the broadcast...

HUNTSMAN: Tell him...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: ... and maybe have him criticize you or something.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Good seeing you again, Governor.

HUNTSMAN: Thank you.

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