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A Chink in Huntsman’s Pro-Life Armor? And…His Support for Michael Moore. (Yes, Really)

Morgen on June 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm

With Jon Huntsman scheduled to announce his run for president next week, and much of the media seemingly caught up in the aura of a potential Republican nominee who says things they like, I thought I would do a little more actual vetting of Huntsman. Earlier this month Huntsman touted his pro-life credentials at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual conference, stating that he “signed every pro-life bill that crossed his desk” while serving as Governor of Utah. I don’t doubt that this is the case, but wondered where he stood on a related pro-life issue – stem cell research.

So far I have not been able to find any contemporaneous reports on this – perhaps in between admiring Huntsman’s motorcycle handling skills and the sheen of his leather jacket, someone in the press can ask him about it. However, I was able to dig up a report from 2004 when Huntsman first ran for governor that touched on this topic. From the October 21, 2004 edition of the Salt Lake City Weekly:

Being familiar with the Eagle Forum, can you think of a few issues on which you disagree with them?

Sure. At the risk of making all kinds of enemies—because I respect people on all sides of the political debate—I probably disagree with them on guns in churches and schools. Probably on land use. Stem cell research would be another issue on which we part company, and perhaps the issue of reciprocal beneficiary rights would be an area of disagreement.

The Eagle Forum is a staunchly conservative outfit founded by Phyllis Schlafly. Anyone who is familiar with Schlafly and her tireless advocacy for the pro-life cause would know that if Huntsman was taking a position in opposition to that of her organization, then it was in support of stem cell research. (Update: Media reports from the time confirm the Eagle Forum’s opposition to stem cell research.)

Huntsman’s father is the founder and chief financial backer of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, a research organization which has consistently advocated in favor of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. In fact, it was the Institute’s involvement in this issue which prompted Senator Orrin Hatch to switch his position in support of stem cell research back in 2001.

So it sure seems that Huntsman was in favor of embryonic stem cell research as of October 2004 – is this still his position?

More. I was going to save this for another post but since I linked to the Salt Lake City Weekly piece I don’t want to get scooped on it. In that same interview Huntsman was asked about his support of an upcoming visit by Michael Moore to a local college campus in Utah. Get a load of this:

What message were you trying to send by interjecting yourself into the UVSC Michael Moore controversy? Why did you pay for a portion of his transportation costs?

What I was trying to say was that I love and cherish free speech. And I think it’s great that Michael Moore is coming. And I think when you balance out the debate it’s even more edifying. Lost in this whole debate were the students of UVSC. I think the students are going to come out real winners in this, having heard Michael Moore and Sean Hannity.

Have you read many or most of Hannity’s books?

No.

Have you seen Fahrenheit 9/11?

No, but I’m interested in doing so.

Michael Moore and Fahrenheit 9/11 – seriously? Talk about a WTF moment. Clearly he was pandering to a younger, more liberal audience with this interview, and I almost want to cut him some slack here. But c’mon, this wasn’t just some minor liberal villain he was defending supporting – this was MICHAEL FREAKING MOORE. For conservatives, Fahrenheit 9/11 is one of the most vile, partisan hack-jobs ever put on film. This goes a little beyond just supporting free speech I think.

I wonder if Huntsman ever got around to watching Moore’s movie?

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