Only two of the Republican candidates running for president actually played a direct role in the fight that has locked Washington in an endless cycle of procedural votes and late-night pizza runs for the past week. And in the end, each came down on a different side of the fence.
Other candidates are necessarily on the sidelines of the debt limit scrum. But Jon Huntsman’s campaign got involved anyway, using Friday’s House vote to score some political points.
Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) voted for the bill written (and re-written) by Speaker John Boehner. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) made good on her longstanding promise not to vote for an increase on the debt ceiling, and voted no on Boehner’s bill.
Had Huntsman been in the House, he’s hinted that he would have voted McCotter’s way. While many of the other candidates either openly oppose a debt ceiling increase or refuse to take a position on Boehner’s bill (which riled up some in the tea party base, even in its revised form), Huntsman put out a statement Friday calling on President Obama to “to demonstrate some leadership by working to pass the Boehner plan in the Senate and signing it into law.”
Huntsman, kicking off “more aggressive” phase two of his campaign, has started using the Boehner bill as a chance to take a swipe at Mitt Romney. The current GOP frontrunner didn’t take an overt position on the Boehner bill, and Hunstman’s campaign set about dinging him over it.
Tonight, the campaign went after Romney again — by throwing some praise Bachmann’s way.
“We may disagree with Michele Bachmann’s solution to the debt crisis,” Huntsman spokesperson Tim Miller tweeted, “but at least she stood up & took a stand. This is a time for leadership.”
Most candidates are keeping their distance from the messy debt limit brawl, which will likely end in a compromise no one (especially the compromise-phobic GOP base) will be happy with. Huntsman seems to think there’s a win in it for him.