Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman listens to questions during a meeting with area business leaders and lawyers during a campaign stop in Concord, N.H., Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011.

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. has been pegged by some as a moderate, but now his economic agenda he unveiled this week is receiving praise from the tea party juggernaut, FreedomWorks, and the editorialists at the Wall Street Journal.

Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks, told Deseret News that he liked Huntsman's plan.

"It actually looks pretty intriguing to me and I would have to agree with him," said Kibbe. "One of my frustrations with Mitt Romney is ... there's been no specificity; there's been no plans put on the table. It sounds like Huntsman actually put a real plan on the table and that's exciting. I hope that catches on because I think Republicans win with better ideas not just opposing them all."

Friday, The Wall Street Journal likewise heaped praise on Huntsman.

"Mr. Huntsman's proposal is as impressive as any to date in the GOP presidential field, and certainly better than what we've seen from the front-runners," the Journal wrote. "Perhaps Mr. Huntsman should be asked to give the Republican response to the president's jobs speech next week. The two views of what makes an economy grow could not be more different."

The Huntsman plan would recalibrate tax brackets and close cost-inefficient tax loopholes.

Positive reaction to this new Huntsman strategy is so strong that it may have his fellow GOP candidate Mitt Romney backpedaling.

"(Huntsman's) plan — and the positive response it has gotten from fiscal conservatives — is enough to get Mitt Romney worried," said a piece from Business Insider titled, "Is Jon Huntsman The New Candidate Of The Conservative Intellectual Elite?"

"The former Massachusetts governor will announce his own plan on Tuesday, and he is under pressure to cater it to appeal to the tea party. Such a move would (weaken) his position in the eyes of the so-called 'conservative intelligentsia,' who haven't found a candidate to get behind — until now."

Politico columnist Alexander Burns was far from surprised by the Journal's praise for the Huntsman economic agenda.

"There's a dog-bites-man quality to the editorial — it's no surprise that a candidate who proposes a flattening of the tax code, sharp corporate tax cuts and a scaling-back of regulation would win applause from the Journal's editorial page. ... The Journal's effusiveness could help Huntsman among some elites, however, and maybe get him a second look from the kind of people who write sizable checks in GOP primaries."

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