By Daniel Strauss - 10/10/11 09:17 PM EDT
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) doubled down on criticism of Pastor Robert Jeffress's comments on Mormonism, calling Jeffress "a moron."
Huntsman's comments came in response to Jeffress saying that Mormonism was "the most ridiculous sideshow in recent politics" while introducing Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) at the Values Voters summit in Washington, D.C., over the weekend.
"It's unfortunate that one person is driving the narrative during the time when we have 15 million unemployed," Huntsman said to CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "The fact that some moron can stand up and make a comment like that — first of all it's outrageous, second of all that we're spending so much time discussing it makes it even worse."
Huntsman said that some of the questions he got after his major foreign policy speech earlier in the day were too focused on religion and not foreign policy.
"I mean, you give a major foreign policy speech today as I did and the questions that come after the foreign speech are more focused on religion than our place in the world," Huntsman continued. "This does not help the American people come to terms with the choices that they have for the 2012 election cycle."
The comments from Huntsman, who originally positioned himself as the civil candidate in the Republican field, to Blitzer were stronger than previous criticism he made about Jeffress. On Sunday Huntsman said it was "nonsense" to focus on religion in the way attention has been paid to Jeffress's comments.
"I have no idea why people are wasting so much political-capital bandwidth on this issue. It's nonsense," Huntsman said at a town hall on Sunday.
Huntsman also used threw a punch at former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) in his interview with Blitzer.
"I'm offering solutions and ideas. He's offering soundbites and bumper stickers," Huntsman said.