Huntsman says Republican Party is 'devoid of a soul'

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman delivered a scathing critique of the Republican Party that declined to elect him as its presidential nominee, calling the GOP "devoid of a soul" in an interview in which he also left the door open to a possible 2016 run.

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"The party right now is a holding company that's devoid of a soul and it will be filled up with ideas over time and leaders will take their proper place," he told the Daily Telegraph.

The former governor and U.S. ambassador to China has criticized the Republican Party in the past, suggesting shortly after Mitt Romney's loss on Election Day that the GOP should "remembe[r] to put country first." After he dropped his presidential bid, Huntsman criticized the GOP for failing to put forward "big, bold, visionary stuff."

He didn't back away from further criticism in his interview with the Daily Telegraph, suggesting the GOP needs to come to terms with the changing face of the electorate.

"We can't be known as a party that's fear-based and doesn't believe in math," Huntsman said. "In the end it will come down to a party that believes in opportunity for all our people, economic competitiveness and a strong dose of libertarianism."

Huntsman dropped his White House campaign after a disappointing third-place result in the New Hampshire primary last January. Although he told the Telegraph he wasn't "looking for some opening that we can fit in," he didn't fully rule out a run in 2016.

And he said the GOP shouldn't merely worry about revamping its image: it should also be concerned about the benefit the Democratic Party could see over the next four years if the economy continues to improve.  

However, Huntsman said that Republicans could have an opportunity because Democrats "will become lazy."

"The one thing that is as sure as the sun rising tomorrow is that the Democrats will become lazy and they will take their [eye] off the ball," he said. "We will see more crony capitalism in Washington as the state grows and that's the kind of thing Americans hate."