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Huntsman: Skipping Nevada debate and caucus a 'Vegas move'

Huntsman went on to say that he was encouraged by rising poll numbers in New Hampshire, on which he has essentially staked his campaign.

"All the polls show we're going up. We're in low double digits. We want a steady, gradual, substantive rise, because that's what the people of New Hampshire demand. And whoever makes it through the New Hampshire primary always bursts upon the political stage with viability,” Huntsman said.

The latest Insider Advantage polls show Huntsman with around 5 percent of GOP voters in the state — good enough for a tie for fourth place, but still substantially trailing Mitt Romney's 39 percent. The campaign is also grappling with discouraging financial news — a financial report released this weekend showed the campaign with nearly $900,000 in debt and only $327,000 in the bank, despite a $2 million personal loan from Huntsman to the campaign.

But Huntsman is hoping that he will endear himself to New Hampshire voters by standing against the Nevada move. He plans to hold a town hall in the state Tuesday night to compete with the primary.

“Let me just say that we have a very, very important issue playing out here, and that's the viability of the New Hampshire primary,” Huntsman said. “Why is that important? Because the primary here, the first in the nation, is the window through which the American public begin to understand the candidates, who they are, what they stand for and their vision for a better America. And you begin to jeopardize that process by other states, like Nevada, most recently, leapfrogging in the process, making New Hampshire virtually irrelevant as you move it forward.”

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