Jon Huntsman criticizes President Obama, but says he’d work for him again

Holly Bailey
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Ahead of his expected White House run, Jon Huntsman says he'd work for President Obama again, but he also criticized his former boss, saying he wouldn't have intervened in Libya and would repeal Obama's health care law if given the chance.

"We have too much in the way of boots on the ground in corners of the world where we probably don't need it. It means that we must prepare for an asymmetrical kind of response," the former Utah governor told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "It means that we probably don't need to be in certain parts of the Middle East where there are domestic revolutions playing out. Where we probably just ought to let them play out."

Asked if the intervention in Libya was a case in point, Huntsman said yes.

But the former GOP governor, who resigned as Obama's ambassador to China last month, defended his decision to work for a Democratic president, insisting he was serving his country and would do so again.

"I hope to train my own family that when your country needs you, particularly in a critical and sensitive bipartisan position, which is the U.S. ambassador to China, that you--if there is the prospect that you can get in there and bring about change in a way that helps your country through public service, I'm there," he said.

You can watch a portion of the interview here, courtesy of ABC News:

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Still, like other GOP hopefuls, Huntsman said he would repeal Obama's health care law if he "had a chance" and said it should be left up to the states to determine how to handle rising medical costs and the growing numbers of uninsured.

"All the states that are incubators of democracy, are experimenting on their own. They're coming up with novel solutions," Huntsman said.

Meanwhile, the moderate GOP governor weighed in on Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal that includes an overhaul of Medicare, saying he would have voted for it. And he distanced himself from his previous position on a proposed cap-and-trade energy policy, saying that "circumstances change."

"Although we all care about the environment, today our number one priority's the economy, and we should not be doing anything that stands in the way of economic growth," Huntsman said. "We can no longer focus on that debate as aggressively as we did in years past."

But asked about a few issues that could potentially undermine his bid for the GOP nomination, Huntsman indicated he would support an increase of the national debt limit. He also reiterated his support for civil unions for gay couples and legislation that would allow the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at colleges.

"It's a fairness issue," Huntsman said of civil unions. "I believe in traditional marriage … but we probably can do a better job when it comes to fairness and equality."

(Photo of Huntsman in New Hampshire: Cheryl Senter/AP)