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Jon Huntsman: ‘I Cringe’ When Rick Perry Goes Birther

LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Jon Huntsman has a stark warning for Rick Perry on his apparently playful suggestion that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States: Don’t go there.

On ABC’s Top Line Wednesday, the former Utah governor said Perry is in danger of alienating independent voters by wrongly suggesting that there’s doubt about the president’s birth status.

“When I see one of my colleagues, Gov. Perry, who starts talking about birtherism again, I cringe.  I say, as a party if we are going to win this election we have to focus on the issues that are germane for the American family,” Huntsman said.  “That’s expanding the economy, that’s jobs, that’s our position in the world.  And when we get off on those fringe issues, we lose the independents in particular.  The independents are looking for a home, and the independents largely are gonna drive the outcome of the election.”

“They hear some of that chatter, some of that nonsensical talk, and it causes them to turn and walk away.  And we can’t afford to have that happen,” he added.  “It’s been settled folks.  It’s been settled: The president is a citizen of the United States.  I mean, how much more do we have to talk about it?  Let’s move on to the real issues of the day.”

Huntsman said that while he’ll commit to supporting whoever wins the Republican nomination, “of course” the GOP can still lose to Obama.

“If we take our eye off the ball called debt, if we take our eye off the ball called our position in the world -- continue going with you know, two wars simultaneously -- of course we can lose it," he said.  "And if we kind of begin wasting time on the nonsensical and the silly issues like birtherism…”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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