Norquist confident Huntsman will come around on tax pledge

Activist Grover Norquist, the founder of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and author of its "Taxpayer Protection Pledge," expressed confidence that Jon Huntsman, the former ambassador to China and Republican presidential candidate, would eventually sign the pledge promising not to raise taxes.

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"I believe that if he's running for president as a Republican presidential candidate, he'll sign the pledge," Norquist told The Hill on Thursday in a brief phone interview.

Huntsman said earlier this week that he wouldn't sign ATR's pledge — or, for that matter, any other pledge — citing a general opposition to signing on to these sorts of manifestos.

"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."

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The ATR pledge has evolved into something of a standard for GOP presidential candidates; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) announced Thursday that he'd sign it, and Norquist said that all the other presidential candidates have either signed it already, or intend to sign it. (Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minn., haven't signed, but Norquist said they've indicated to him that they'll do so.)

Norquist said he's arranged a meeting soon with Huntsman and his team, which the ATR president said might soothe the former Utah governor's concerns about the pledge.