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Republican party is 'devoid of a soul', says Jon Huntsman

Published: Monday, Dec. 31 2012 9:32 a.m. MST

Jon Huntsman Jr., former Utah governor talks during an interview Tuesday, May 1, 2012, at Huntsman Corp. headquarters in Salt Lake City. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Jon Huntsman Jr., former Utah governor talks during an interview Tuesday, May 1, 2012, at Huntsman Corp. headquarters in Salt Lake City. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

Our take: In a recent interview with the Daily Telegraph, former Utah governor Jon Huntsman said that the "Republican Party is leaderless and "devoid of a soul" but can rebuild in the wake of its election defeat if it embraces its history of supporting limited government".

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the former Utah governor and leading Republican moderate said the party must accept "a strong dose of libertarianism" on social issues and allow state governments to move ahead with gay marriage.

Offering his prescription for the party's renewal, Mr Huntsman said the early stages of the Republican presidential primaries rewarded extreme conservatives rather than "long-term competitive candidates" who could effectively take on the Democrats.

Barack Obama appointed the Mandarin-speaking 52-year-old US Ambassador to China in 2009, a decision the newly-elected President hoped would keep Mr Huntsman out of this year's election.

Obama campaign aides openly acknowledged that they believed the two-term governor would be a difficult general election opponent and possibly the most dangerous Republican in the field.

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