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Jon Huntsman Jr. predicts he'll win New Hampshire GOP primary

Also says controversy over Obama speech 'nonsense'

By Steve Peoples

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Sept. 1 2011 10:08 a.m. MDT

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Brushing off bad poll numbers, presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman predicts he'll win New Hampshire's Republican primary.

The former Utah governor set high expectations Thursday at the popular Politics and Eggs discussion series. His comments came in the same week he earned just 1 percent in two national polls.

He says polls are meaningless this early.

Huntsman also offered a subtle jab at Texas Gov. Rick Perry, his Republican opponent and someone he later called a friend. Huntsman said he brought only his wife to the packed event, instead of a large entourage or the Texas Rangers, a reference to Perry's security detail.

Huntsman met with voters a day after calling for lowering corporate tax rates and ending loopholes.

Appearing earlier Thursday on NBC's "Today," Huntsman criticized his GOP rivals, saying "we're getting drama but not solutions."

Asked if Perry and Michele Bachmann are too far to the right to beat Obama in 2012, he said voters "don't want politics at the extreme ends."

Huntsman also called the fuss over the timing of President Barack Obama's job speech "nonsense," saying it is "what people hate about politics."

Huntsman says Obama "has not been able to deliver on jobs" so far, so it doesn't matter where or when the president delivers his new plan.

After House Speaker John Boehner balked at Obama's request to speak to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 7, the president agreed to move it back to Sept. 8.

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