CNN: Jason Johnson on the South Carolina GOP Primary and the Jon Huntsman Girls

Jason Johnson appeared on “Political Buzz” segment of CNN Newsroom with Kyra Phillips. Johnson appeared on a panel with CNN Contributors Will Cain of National Review and Maria Cardona, a Democratic strategist with Dewey Square Group.

Click here to read a full transcript of Political Buzz with Kyra Phillips.

All right, time for “Political Buzz,” your rapid-fire look at the best political topics of the day. Three questions, 30 seconds on the clock.

And playing today, CNN contributor Maria Cardona, political analyst of Hiram College, Professor Jason Johnson and CNN contributor, Will Cain.

First question, guys, Jon Huntsman, he was the guy that the White House saw as the biggest threat to President Obama. He ignored Iowa, finished a weak third in New Hampshire, where he put all his focus, and then he’s going to drop out next hour. So, do you think we’re going to see him again in 2016, Maria?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think it depends on two things, Kyra. The first is what he does from now until 2016 to maintain himself relevant and continue to be part of the conversation.

But the second and most important thing, I think, is whether the Republican Party continues its rapid lurch to the right. If that happens, then I think it’s going to be very difficult for Jon Huntsman to run.

Because even though he was a fiscal conservative, Republicans would not get over the fact that he actually was rational, he believed in science. He believed in evolution.

He believed in climate change and he was not ready to give up his principle and his values to say and do whatever need to be done in order to get elected.


WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The 2016 is a world away. It’s forever. It’s impossible to know what his position or the entire field of candidates, both on the left and the right, might be at that time.

That being said, if Huntsman decides he wants to run in 2016, he can take massive lessons from his 2012 campaign. Don’t paint yourself as a moderate. Don’t call yourself that. Don’t appeal to Democrats and throw conservatives under the bus in a primary.

Don’t run a general election campaign in a primary election. All that being said, four years away, 2016, if some of the predictions are true, Christine, Ryan, I don’t see his place in a field like that.


JASON JOHNSON, POLITICAL ANALYST, HIRAM COLLEGE PROFESSOR: Look, the Republicans have such a great farm team. Let’s say Barack Obama gets re-elected in 2012. They’ve got Nikki Haley. They’ve got Marco Rubio.

Jon Huntsman is going to look like a throwback to the early 2000s that nobody wants to deal with again. So, I think once he makes his announcement, endorses Mitt Romney, he’s going to ride off into the sunset like so many other Republican candidates of the past.

The Republicans need to be looking towards the future. And if actually Mitt Romney ends up winning the election, then definitely there is no room for Jon Huntsman in any position except maybe going back to the administration as some kind of ambassador. He’s got no future in 2016.

PHILLIPS: All right, talking about the future, guys, it’s looking like Romney. Anything is possible, though. Let’s just put it out there. But hypothetically speaking, if it’s a Romney versus Obama matchup, where does Obama hammer Romney the hardest? Will?

CAIN: I mean, I think where he should hammer him the hardest, what would probably be the most effective in my mind would be to continue to press on this flip-flopper thing, that he’s been on both sides of so many different issues.

That I think will be the most effective. I anticipate that’s not what he’ll do, or that would be his “b” game, his JV strategy. His main game will be hammer on him because he’s rich. Play the inequality, the Bain card. Play that over and over and I have huge amount of skepticism over whether or not something like that will work.


CARDONA: I think it will be to hammer him on the exact same things that Romney has handed him and the Democrats on a silver platter, and it’s not to hammer him because he’s rich, it’s to hammer him because he does not understand one iota what middle class and working class families are going through.

And he has said things to underscore that — that he likes to fire people, making $10,000 bets like it’s 10 cents to you and me, belittling a tax cut for middle class families like a temporary band- aid. This is somebody that does not understand middle class families and what they’re going through and wants to put in place policies that put middle class families in a hardship to begin with.


JOHNSON: Look, if we’ve got a ten-month race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, it’s going to be tough. It’s like Frasier and Niles arguing. These are two guys who are kind of out of touch with a lot of regular people.

But I think Obama’s main argument is going to be, as out of touch I am and as many mistakes I’ve made, this guy is even worse. He’ll go through everything. He’s going to talk about Bain Capital. He’s going to talk about how Mitt Romney flip-flops.

He’s going to talk about how even when Mitt Romney helps someone like in South Carolina yesterday, he had $150 in his pocket, Barack Obama is going to throw every single thing he can at Mitt Romney throughout this campaign and see which one sticks because he certainly can’t talk about his own record.

PHILLIPS: Jason, did you say Frasier and Niles?


PHILLIPS: I love it! All right, your “Buzzer Beater,” 20 seconds each on this one, guys. Jon Huntsman’s exit means his daughters, the Jon 2012 girls, stars of social media as we know, are going to have to find something else to do. And we were kind of thinking maybe “Dancing with the Stars,” I don’t know, reality show. What’s next for them, Maria?

CARDONA: I think they have a bright future. They could direct somebody’s social media campaigns. They could be video directors. They could go to Hollywood. But I think they should actually run for office. They’re beautiful, articulate, they’re smart, and especially Republicans in the House need a lot more beauty and certainly a lot more brains.


JOHNSON: Look, I really think they’re more of an amazing race kind of group. They can make lots of allegories to their father’s race. They can say, hopefully, we’ll be less than 4 percent behind the rest of the candidates.

I think the three of them are very witty, charming, engaging, but politics is not the way they want to go. I think America likes seeing young, active generation who aren’t just politically minded. So “Amazing Race” is their future.

PHILLIPS: All right, Will?

CAIN: I’m with Jason. I think politics is the last place to be. I don’t think they helped their father’s campaign all that much. But I think we can agree the Jon 2012 girls don’t need to go away. They can stick around. We can find a place for them somewhere in this world of television, right, somewhere.

PHILLIPS: They would dominate “American Idol,” let me tell you! Have you heard them all sing? I mean, they can start a band with their dad. There you go and go on tour. Thanks, guys.

CARDONA: I like that.

PHILLIPS: There we go. Appreciate it. Thanks so much.

CARDONA: Thanks, Kyra.

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