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Huntsman: Obama shouldn't have intervened in Libya

Published May 20, 2011 12:01 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

WASHINGTON • Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, weighing a run for the Republican presidential nomination, says U.S. military forces are spread too thin around the world and he thinks President Barack Obama erred in intervening in Libya.

Traveling in New Hampshire, Huntsman told ABC News that Libya "is not core to our national security interest." He also said he's close to a decision on whether to get into the GOP presidential sweepstakes and that only his wife, Mary Kaye, could stop him if he chose to run.

In the interview broadcast Friday on "Good Morning America," Huntsman backed away from previous statements supporting a "cap and trade" policy aimed at expediting corporate efforts to curb harmful emissions, saying the global economic slump has dramatized the need to put a heavier focus on business growth, at least for a while.

He also defended his service as U.S. ambassador to Beijing under Obama.

"I'd do it again," Huntsman said. "The president asked me, the president of all the people. And during a time of war, during a time of economic difficulty for our country, if I'm asked by my president to serve, I'll stand up and do it."

On other points, Huntsman:

• Suggested that a drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is inevitable. "We have too much in the way of boots on the ground in corners of the world where we probably don't need it," he said.

• He would repeal Obama's health care overhaul, if he had a chance. And he backs the alternative deficit-reduction plan put forth by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, which includes a proposal to substantially overhaul Medicare. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination, has retracted a statement he made Sunday in which he referred to Ryan's plan as a "radical" approach.

• Said he is "very proud of my Mormon heritage."