Huntsman: 'I cringe' when Perry talks about birtherism

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman slammed Republican presidential opponent Rick Perry for revisiting the issue of whether President Obama was born in the United States, even as Perry continued to backtrack over his recent comments.

“When I see one of my colleagues, Gov. Perry, who starts talking about birtherism again, I cringe. I say, as a party if we are going to win this election we have to focus on the issues that are germane for the American family,” Huntsman said on Wednesday on ABC’s "Top Line.

Huntsman said that focusing on "fringe issues" could cost the eventual GOP nominee the 2012 election.


"If we take our eye off the ball called debt, if we take our eye off the ball called our position in the world — continue going with you know, two wars simultaneously — of course we can lose it. And if we kind of begin wasting time on the nonsensical and the silly issues like birtherism.” he said.

In an interview with Parade magazine published on Sunday, Gov. Perry had said he did not know if the president had been born in the U.S. and if the long-form birth certificate released by the White House was genuine.

Monday in an interview aired by CNBC, Perry said that it was "fun" to keep the issue of Obama's birth alive. "It's fun to — to poke ... him a little bit and say, 'Hey, how about — let's see your grades and your birth certificate,'" he said.

Perry however has backtracked from his earlier comments, telling the St. Petersburg Times Wednesday that he has "no doubt" Obama is a citizen.

"I was just having some fun with Donald Trump," Perry said.

When pressed about Obama's citizenship, the Texas governor said: "I have no doubt about it."

Huntsman stood by Obama’s U.S. citizenship, and called for Republicans to put the birther issue to rest.

“It’s been settled folks. It’s been settled: The president is a citizen of the United States. I mean, how much more do we have to talk about it? Let’s move on to the real issues of the day,” he said.