If President Barack Obama defeats Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman says the Republican Party will be as lost as "Yugoslavia at the end of Communism."
"You gotta project vision and some principles that some people hear and can sense are real, and consistent with our time and place in history, and we're not there yet," Huntsman said during an appearance at the Brookings Institution.
Huntsman's own daughter, Abby, offered up the inquiry over Brookings' live blog, writing "Dad, what will need to happen to the GOP if Romney loses?"
"I am glad she gave me a softball and a question that will keep me out of trouble," Huntsman said sarcastically. "It may be a little bit like Yugoslavia at the end of communism. You have several entities that kind of fall out of one, and they have no real direction, governance or leadership, and it takes a while to sort that out."
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Huntsman admits that if Romney loses, the Republican Party will have some soul searching to do.
"There will be all the predictable finger-pointing and the blame game, and that will sort itself out. And then the party will wander for awhile," he says.
Huntsman told the audience that the Republicans must reconnect to the priorities of its founding leaders like Presidents Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln, while simultaneously adjusting itself to a modern constituency.
"I think we're going to have to come around and recognize that we have to stay relevant," Huntsman says. "You have to stay consistent with demographic changes if you're going to be a viable party."
Huntsman posed it as a business proposition for Romney, a former Bain Capital CEO.
"Companies go broke if they lose their customer base. They will go out of business. They will cease to exist, but we also have to have a heart and a soul," he says. "A party can't just be a holding company for fundraisers and a convention every four years."
Huntsman also offered his former foe a few words of wisdom hours before Romney took the stage for the first presidential debate.
"Let me draw from a little bit of experience," Huntsman says. "It helps to be looking at the camera and speak from the heart in a way that allows the voters to feel the sincerity and the commitment to the issues around jobs and economic growth."
Huntsman suggested Romney channels Bill Clinton.
Although, Huntsman admitted he may not be the most qualified person to dole out the campaign tips.
"I ran for president and failed miserably, so I am in no position to opine on this one," he joked.
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Lauren Fox is a political reporter for U.S. News and World Report. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow her on Twitter @foxreports.