Republican party needs to focus on environment to survive: Utah Governor

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Washington, Nov.21 : Utah's Republican Governor Jon Huntsman has said that his party can only survive in America's topsy-turvy political cauldron if it focuses on issues related to the environment.

"If we're going to survive as a party, we need to focus on the environment. There's a fundamental tone deafness with our party when it comes to the environment. ... The last place we can be as a party is be viewed as the anti-science party. That's not a model for the future," Huntsman said.

Huntsman said that there's some resistance in Utah from elements of the party base on his environmental views, but said Western conservatives also "feel deeply about the land and the legacy they're leaving behind."

"When you put it in words they understand like clean air, pristine lands, and pure water, they get it," Huntsman said.

He also was critical of the Bush administration's foreign policy, and advocated for a more multilateral approach. He attributed the Republicans' recent political struggles to the lack of an "organizing principle" to drive voters to the party - something the Cold War accomplished for decades.

And he argued the war on terror can't fill that role.

"The war on terror can't be the organizing principle of the Republican party," he said.

"New ideas will emerge, and then the names will follow," Huntsman said.

On Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Huntsman only said that "she'll be in the mix" in 2012, adding that she will have appeal to some social conservatives.

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