Hopkinton NH--GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman chose to skip the Republican debate in Las Vegas tonight, but the former Utah governor had plenty to say about his rivals from a standing-room only town hall meeting across the country in New Hampshire.
"I was offered an invitation to a game show tonight," Huntsman quipped. "There will be sound bites, there will be talking points and there will be buzzers."
Huntsman wasted no time in reminding New Hampshire voters about the current front runners.
"Romney will likely be staying in the Trump Tower because he's already won the apprenticeship for the presidency created by Don Trump," Huntsman said to a packed town hall of more than 150 voters.
"I know my good friend Herman Cain will likely play the roulette wheel," he joked to laughter. "And he'll be focused on getting that ball on 9, 9, 9."
The former ambassador to China opted out of tonight's debate after declaring earlier this week he will boycott the Nevada caucuses, citing support for New Hampshire's status as the first-in-the-nation primary.
"I heard what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas," he said tonight. "What happens in New Hampshire impacts the world!"
Looking more comfortable with his stump speech than earlier appearances, Huntsman took a long series of voter questions and aggressively touted his position on keeping the Granite State first.
"Its the window through which the rest of the country views and gets to know the candidates for the presidency of the United States of America. There's a little bit of artificiality built into the other caucuses," said Huntsman, who remains polling in single digits nationally.
Last week, Huntsman's campaign alleged that Mitt Romney pressured Nevada to move its caucus date up to January 14. Today, the editorial board of the state's most prominent newspaper, the New Hampshire Union Leader, joined the chorus urging Romney to boycott Nevada.
Today, in a call to New Hampshire supporters, Romney sidestepped the issue.
“I respect the men and women of the state," Romney said. "I also respect and unequivocally support New Hampshire’s status as our country’s first primary.”