PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- This fall, Jon Huntsman staked his entire troubled White House bid on New Hampshire and tonight, at what his campaign is calling his 100th stop in the state, he made it clear that both his mind and actions are engrossed in the first-in-the-nation-primary state -- and nowhere else.
"I don't care what the rest of the country thinks or feels. That's not important. I do care about what the people of New Hampshire feel, because this is important," he told voters in a town hall meeting at the Portsmouth Elks Lodge.
The former governor of Utah quickly clarified to reporters that he was referring specifically to national poll numbers.
"I don't care too much where the polls are right now in the rest of the country, I care what they say here in New Hampshire," the former ambassador to China said.
Huntsman is currently polling at 1 percent nationally and remains in the single digits in New Hampshire, though with minor increases over the past few months.
Huntsman also claimed he has yet to see a new television ad funded by a super PAC supporting his candidacy. Our Destiny PAC, which has spent nearly half a million dollars and is believed to be funded by his billionaire father, began running primetime spots in New Hampshire and Boston-area markets introducing Huntsman on Tuesday.
"We've been on the road all day so I'm looking forward to seeing it at some point," Huntsman said. "But anything from the outside that serves to bolster our efforts in New Hampshire I am mighty grateful for."
When asked if had spoken to his father about the advertisement, Huntsman shook his head, "No, no." Our Destiny PAC is not affiliated with the Huntsman campaign.
Early on in the evening, Huntsman also seized an opportunity to make fun of front-runner Herman Cain on his recent gaffe on Libya during an editorial board meeting in Milwaukee.
"You didn't ask me the question on Libya!" Huntsman exclaimed to knowing laughter, after a supporter regaled the audience of how she decided to endorse him after a long series of questions. "You missed that one!"
Huntsman was quick to slam his opponents on policy matters too. Criticizing the rest of the field by name, Huntsman told voters that his tax reform plan is the only "realistic" option in the field.
"We need something that at least will pass the straight face test in Congress," Huntsman said. "9-9-9? Who on earth is going to vote for a 9 percent increase in your sales tax?"
"Romney's trimming around the edges as usual and Rick Perry's got a flat tax that is optional," he said.
In the final two months ahead of the January 10 primary, several self-proclaimed undecided Republican voters attended this town hall meeting to take a closer look at Huntsman. Among the more than 120 in attendance was John Hill, a registered Republican who arrived this evening undecided overall and decidedly against supporting Mitt Romney in the primary. Hill said he came to listen after receiving a mass mailing from the campaign, with hopes that Huntsman would be an alternative in what he called a "dissatisfactory field."
"If ever we needed a dark horse, we need one now," said Hill, who supported Giuliani last cycle. "I don't know who I would vote for tomorrow if I had to choose between the 'three bigs' now."
After nearly two hours listening to Huntsman answer questions on trade, China, jobs and healthcare, Hill told NBC News he planned to sign up as a volunteer and donate $100 to the campaign.