Huntsman: 'Healthy Dose of Nation-Building' Needed

June 22, 2011 - 6:30 AM

Republicans Huntsman 2012

Mary Kaye Huntsman listens as her husband, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr., speaks at the Town Hall in Exeter, N.H.,Tuesday, June 21, 2011. Earlier, Huntsman announced his plan to seek the republican nomination for president. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Newly declared Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman says the Obama administration's pace of troop drawdown in Afghanistan is too slow.

Huntsman tells NBC's "Today" show "what we need now is a healthy dose of nation-building here at home." The former Utah governor also said "we can probably be a little more aggressive" about withdrawing American forces from Afghanistan. President Barack Obama gives a prime-time speech Wednesday night on his new Afghan war policy.

Huntsman was Obama's ambassador to China. He's said he respects Obama but that the two have different visions about how to make America stronger.

Huntsman said Tuesday there's "no real sign of recovery" in the economy and said the country must "grow out of the hole we're in." He said raising taxes should be "off the table."