Republican presidential candidate and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman took aim at Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) criticisms of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke saying that Perry risks being dismissed by voters as someone not "serious on the issues."
“I'm not sure that the average voter out there is going to hear that treasonous remark and say that sounds like a presidential candidate, that sounds like someone who is serious on the issues,” said Huntsman in an interview with ABC News’ Jake Tapper to be aired on This Week on Sunday.
On the campaign trail, Perry had said Bernanke would have been treated "pretty ugly" in Texas if the Federal Reserve chief were to print more money and suggested such an action would be “almost treacherous — or treasonous.”
"I don't know if that's pre-secession Texas or post-secession Texas," added Huntsman in his interview a reference to a report that Gov. Perry had once said that Texas could leave the United States "anytime we want."
Huntsman also took issue with Perry’s skepticism over climate science and evolution.
“I think there's a serious problem. The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party - the anti-science party, we have a huge problem,” said Huntsman. “We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012.”
Perry made comments Wednesday on the campaign trail that cast doubt on climate science and evolution.
“You know it’s a theory that’s out there, and it’s got some gaps in it,” Perry said of evolution. On climate change he added, “I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized.” “I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their — to their projects.”
Huntsman took to Twitter in response on Thursday, tweeting: “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”
In his interview with Tapper, Huntsman doubled-down on that criticism of Perry.
“When we take a position that isn't willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said … I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position,” he said.
Huntsman also criticized his Republican rivals for their opposition to the debt-ceiling deal negotiated by congressional leaders and the White House.
“There was zero leadership on display in terms of my opponents,” Huntsman said.
“I don't think you can just allow the greatest nation that ever was, 25 percent of the world's GDP, to default. I thought the -- the implications would have been catastrophic. The global markets would have been a complete wreck,” he added.
Huntsman praised Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for backing the proposal. “We had Speaker Boehner, I think a pretty courageous guy, step up and say we can cut deeper than we have to take it up in order to meet our obligations,” said Huntsman.