Republicans may be riding high in the 2014 midterm elections, but billionaire mega-donor industrialist Jon Huntsman believes that because of the tea party, the GOP is likely to crash and burn in the 2016 run for the White House.
"The Tea Party has completely captivated and ruined the Republican Party today and they'll show this in 2016," Huntsman told Yahoo Finance.
"Unless a Jeb Bush comes in or Jon Huntsman Jr., the Republicans don't have a prayer."
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However, he said of his moderate Republican son's chances at the nomination, "I doubt that he is going to be embraced too heavily by the tea party gang."
Huntsman, 77, who served in the Nixon White House, would like to see his son, Jon Huntsman Jr., 54, take a run at the Oval Office, as he briefly attempted in 2012, but lacking that, Huntsman told Yahoo Finance, he surprisingly could accept a Democrat — Hillary Clinton — as president.
"I think she would be a fine president," he told Yahoo News.
Huntsman Jr., former ambassador to Singapore and China and former governor of Utah, has told Politico that he does not intend to seek the nomination in 2016.
"I can’t describe a pathway through the early primary states up to Super Tuesday, and if you can’t find that pathway or describe what that pathway is, then you had (better) not be in the race," he told Politico.
While his dad told Yahoo Finance, "I wish he'd listen to his father and then he would run," Huntsman Sr. said he also would like to see a third Bush in the White House.
"I think (former Florida governor) Jeb Bush would represent the Republican Party well. He is very smart. He is astute. I would be very honored if he was president of the United States," he told Yahoo Finance.
Huntsman's driving cause is cancer research and, he said, "I've been a lifelong Republican. Well, I shouldn't say that. Fifteen years ago, I announced that I was a member of the Cure Cancer Party, starting my own political party. All I cared about was one issue and that's cancer, and if the Republicans supported it, they would get my money. If the Democrats supported it, they would get my money. So I support the candidates who support cancer research."
The Huntsman Cancer Institute is recipient of about $450 million in Huntsman money and, according to the New York Times,
Huntsman, who lost his father, mother and stepmother to the disease, estimates that he has given $1.6 billion over the years in the fight against cancer.
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