"When you take someone who has been a governor —- the issues don't always transfer directly from a gubernatorial administration into a presidential campaign," Lee said. "You can't necessarily read into things someone did or didn't do as governor to see what type of approach they would take as a presidential candidate or as president simply because a lot of things that states do are outside the scope of what the federal government does or what the federal government ought to be doing."

The Tribune said that when reporters asked Lee if he considered Huntsman a "Tea Party Republican," the freshman senator "essentially ducked" the question. Lee is closely aligned with the Tea Party movement.