Frank Luntz on Jon Huntsman: He's mainstream for America, but not for the Republican Party

They want to choose somebody who they are sure is going to defeat Barack Obama. And that, they think, describes Governor Romney. They want to choose someone with a plan once they get elected. And even though he was critical — Jon Huntsman was critical of Governor Perry, what Perry's done in Texas is very impressive. And then they want someone with principle, someone who's not going to compromise, and that to them is Michele Bachmann.

But no candidate in the race now has all three of those P's. And that's what's holding these GOP voters back.

Some observers have indicated that Mitt Romney, the presumptive front-runner, has escaped relatively unscathed in the early going, despite his universal health care plan in Massachusetts that has been described as a blueprint for what Barack Obama adopted nationally, which has become the GOP's bete noire.

But according to Luntz, Republicans shouldn't attack each other, but keep their eyes on the prize, which is the President.

"Republicans don't want to hear Republicans attacking other Republicans; they want to know how you're going to take on Barack Obama. I think there's too much negativity in this race so far."

Meanwhile, the hunt for another GOP candidate was discussed on Fox News Sunday, where Karl Rove opined that Sarah Palin could still get into the contest:

ROVE: Well, I'm not much of a gambler but I'd put a little more money that she gets in than if she doesn't, because of the schedule she's got next week in Iowa, it looks like that of candidate, not celebrity. Her difficulty is, if she doesn't get in shortly after next week, then I think people are going to basically say she's not in, she won't be in, if she gets in, I'm not going to be for her. You can only tease so many times in the political process, and I think she is getting to the end of that.

But next week, she's got a robust schedule. And this video on Friday that was released by her campaign strikes me — or by her PAC, strikes me as pre-presidential campaign.

BAIER: And, Karl, the Weekly Standard reported this week that you have been talking to Paul Ryan about his potential presidential bid. How serious is he?

ROVE: Well, I don't know. That's up to Paul to decide. All I know is that from talking to people around the country who picked up the phone and called him and told him what they think, that there are a lot of serious of people he is getting a lot of pressure, as is Governor Christie of New Jersey. And my suspicion is that both of them are going to have to give at least some consideration to the kind of encouragement they are getting.

Meanwhile on NBC's Meet The Press, another would be candidate who says he still has people asking him to reconsider his withdrawal from the race, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, said he isn't getting in, and said the field looks pretty good to him - though he wouldn't object if others got into the race.

GOV. DANIELS: Well, there's nothing wrong with searching for the best we can do. I, I think that's what all Americans are hoping for. And my own view has been that, although I like all those folks, there's something to like about each one of them, that this is a more the merrier situation. That's why we have an extended nomination process. And, you know, I look forward to how these candidates develop their messages. And...

MS. GUTHRIE: But, Governor, wait a minute. If you really felt strongly that, in the current slate of candidates there was somebody who could take on President Obama and win, why would you be saying the more the merrier, come, come one, come all, let's get more candidates in?

GOV. DANIELS: Because I, back to your previous question, I would like to see the very, very best. You know, I think we know that these folks have great personal qualities. I'm waiting to hear their message. I personally hope that our party will speak the language of unity. We are all in this mess together. You know, the American people, as your previous interview showed, don't need a lot of instruction from anyone about how failed these policies have been, how bad, how deep the problems we're facing are. And I think that the best candidate, the one people are searching for, will be one who speaks specifically and candidly about what we ought to do about it. They—we don't need to bash the president, the failure of what he's done, the misdirection of this country is pretty obvious to us all. So let's talk about the important question. What do we do now? And I think maybe one of the existing field is going to emerge as the, as the person who speaks most affirmatively and appealingly in that way.

Last week on the weekly radio show I host on WMNF-FM, I sparred with Tampa GOP political consultant Chris Ingram about the Tea Party's influence on the Republican Party of Florida. I countered that the activist group of Republicans had effectively taken over control of the party, and used the race for the U.S. Senate contest as my prima facie evidence.

But couldn't the argument be made nationally about the GOP as well? I write that after watching noted pollster Frank Luntz speak to Jake Tapper on ABC's This Week, where he says of Jon Huntsman, " he is mainstream America in what he says, but he's not mainstream Republican. And this, after all, is a Republican primary. "

Luntz told Tapper that the winning GOP candidate must have the "three Ps" to win: principle, politics, and a plan.

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