Huntsman won't sign taxes, abortion pledges

This post appeared online at The Hill on June 21, 2011.

Huntsman won’t sign taxes, abortion pledges
By Michael O’Brien

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman said Tuesday he wouldn’t sign pledges meant for candidates having to do with taxes and abortion rights.

Huntsman said that he would sign neither the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” the manifesto crafted by Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist pledge of no new taxes, nor the document crafted by the Susan B. Anthony List intended to limit abortion rights.

“First of all, I don’t sign pledges. I was asked to sign a pledge when I ran for governor in 2004, and I didn’t,” Huntsman said in a gaggle with reporters aboard his plane. “And I got attacked because I didn’t. And then we went around cutting and reforming taxes at record levels.”

“My take on all of this is your record should say everything about where you are and where you’re going. I don’t need to sign a pledge,” he added during the flight from New Hampshire to Newark, N.J.

Norquist has turned his pledge into somewhat of a litmus test for Republican candidates for office, from the presidential ticket to congressional races.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), one of Huntsman’s chief rivals for the Republican nomination, has also refused to sign the Susan B. Anthony List pledge. Romney’s drawn fire from more conservative members of the primary field, despite his explanation that he thinks the pledge is overly broad and would have unintended consequences.

“As I mentioned before, I don’t sign pledges,” he said in response to a question about the SBA List pledge.

Huntsman also staked out further turf on social issues, responding to a question about whether he would seek a federal ban on same-sex marriage to overturn a pending New York state law that would legalize gay and lesbian unions.

“I would respect the state’s decision,” he said.

Huntsman’s spokesman followed up the former governor’s remarks with a statement that contained an indirect attack on Romney.

“People who rely on pledges usually don’t have a record to run on. Fortunately Governor Huntsman, a life-long, no flip flops pro-lifer, has actually signed anti-abortion legislation into law — that’s a signature that makes a difference. Not only that, Jon Huntsman has lived it. He and Mary Kaye adopted two children, Gracei Mei who had been abandoned in a Chinese market and Asha from an orphanage in India,” spokesman Tim Miller said.

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