Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) criticized his opponents for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday for showing very little leadership in the debt-ceiling fight.

Huntsman, in a thinly veiled barb directed toward former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), criticized candidates who failed to stake out a firm position on the debt-ceiling fight in Congress. Romney had kept quiet until Monday, when he announced he opposed the agreement that ultimately passed through Congress.

Whether it was the president who didnt stand up early enough to find a solution here, or whether its some of my opponents, who have shown very little leadership on this, the fact of the matter is that the president has had two and a half years to do the most important thing the American people expect him to do: Thats expand the economy, thats create jobs, thats infuse some sense of confidence in our economy, Huntsman said Tuesday on Fox News.

The former ambassador to China was the only GOP presidential candidate to endorse the debt-ceiling deal and, before that, the more conservative proposal put forth by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

But in perhaps the best sign yet that hes trained his sights solely on Romney, Huntsman absolved such figures as Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas) for voting altogether against any debt-ceiling deal. They, at least, had made their position known, Huntsman said. 

I applaud them on taking on a position early on, he explained, noting his disagreement with them nonetheless. I think that is commendable.

As for Romney, Huntsman said the silence was telling.

He certainly is one who waited right until the very end, until, effectively, a decision had been made, he said. This is a significant issue before our country ... the thought that a candidate for the presidency of the United States wouldnt be willing to stand up during a time when leadership is needed like never before and to embrace or put forward a solution to get us to where we need to be, I think, is very telling.