By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com August 23 2011 2:25 PM ET
Maybe Jon Huntsman doesn't think the rest of the Republican presidential field is so "fringe" after all.
The former Utah governor had aggressively tried to separate himself this week from others in the race. He criticized Rick Perry on secession and for denying climate change. Of Michele Bachmann's promise to reduce the price of gas to below $2, he said while on ABC's This Week, "“I just don't know what world that comment would come from."
But Monday, Huntsman told Piers Morgan that he would "absolutely" sign up to be in Bachmann's orbit, wherever it might be.
"Every time I’ve been asked to serve over different administrations from Reagan to the two Bushes to President Obama, I have the same answer and that is: If you love this country, you serve her," Huntsman said, seeming to riff on his standard explanation for why he served a Democratic president.
Huntsman had also lumped in Obama with the "people on the fringes," and yet he left his job as governor to join the administration as ambassador to China.
Most presidential candidates won't engage in talk of being named vice president. And Morgan pointed out that the admission sounded like a signal of defeat, to which Huntsman responded by insisting the conversation had only been "hypothetical."
If Huntsman ever did get the chance to be Bachmann's vice president, his views on gay rights line up on same-sex marriage (he's against it) and repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (he calls it a "safeguard").
"I think we can do a better job in this country as it relates to equality and basic reciprocal beneficiary rights," he told Morgan. "I am in favor of traditional marriage. I don't think you can redefine it without getting in trouble. But I think along with that we can have civil unions. I think this country has arrived at a point in time when we can show a little more equality and respect."
Bachmann and Huntsman also agree on the states' right to define marriage, although Bachmann supports simultaneously trying to add a ban to the U.S. Constitution, while Huntsman does not.
"Leave it to the states," he said. "I think it is a state issue that ought to be driven by discussions in various states, and you've got the Defense of Marriage Act that basically is a safeguard that allows that to happen."