NASHUA, NH — At first glance, Goran Petterson would look like just another one of the former Utah Governor’s supporters, complete with a Huntsman 2012 sticker on his fleece. The former Swedish Army colonel and current Member of Parliament is one of the many political tourists who have descended on the Granite State this week, and says Jon Huntsman is his favorite candidate on the trail.
“I’m here to see how you run an election for the most important elected office in the world,” he told The Daily Caller on Monday. “At the same time I find Huntsman to be an excellent candidate. It’s very easy to support him because I’m a great admirer of the United States. I studied electronic warfare at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California — I’m an army officer by training. Now I have served in Parliament for the last five years.”
Petterson and his colleague Gustav Blix, who is also traveling around the state, both belong to Sweden’s center-right Moderate Party. They describe it as a big-tent party that both Huntsman and President Obama would likely be members of if they were Swedish.
“I think America is extremely important for the world,” Petterson said. “It’s extremely important for Sweden, it’s extremely important for Europe. And right now, you’re not performing to your full capacity. You need another kind of leadership, and I think Jon Huntsman is by far the best candidate among the ones you have.”
The two said Swedes have been paying attention to the Republican primaries but there’s less interest in this election than the last one.
“It’s always a big thing,” said Blix. “It was even bigger four years ago.”
When asked how well he thinks America has done handling the economic recession, the two MPs said that while the U.S. is doing better than a number of European countries, there is still plenty of room for improvement.
“You need to solve the political problem with the gridlock between the executive branch and the Congress,” Petterson said. “I think the rating agency was right to cut your rating and send a message.”
“And you basically have to do the kind of welfare and entitlement reform that a lot of other countries have already started doing, and that we’ve done,” Blix added.