Facebook Twitter

Huntsman paves way for presidential bid

SHARE Huntsman paves way for presidential bid
Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman Jr.

Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman Jr.

Charles Dharapak, Associated Press

It's increasingly looking like Jon Huntsman Jr., former Utah governor and current U.S. ambassador to China, will run for president in 2012.

Thursday night the Florida Times-Union reported that Susie Wiles, a political adviser who helped Rick Scott capture Florida's gubernatorial election, is now on board to head a de facto "Friends of Jon Huntsman" political action committee that's ostensibly paving the way for a potential presidential bid by Huntsman.

Wiles told the Times-Union Thursday night that she's signed on as the new executive director of a political action committee formed by supporters of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. Huntsman, the current U.S. Ambassador to China, is rumored to be considering a run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

The Times-Union article links to a Washington Post piece detailing Huntsman's inner circle , which is heavy on veterans of Sen. John McCain's failed 2008 presidential bid.

New York Magazinerecently ran a piece speculating that Huntsman could be Obama's biggest threat for reelection in 2012 (note: we highly recommend you click on this link, if for no other reason than to see the very cute/funny political cartoon of Huntsman).

A Huntsman candidacy would surely be preceded by a high-profile break with Obama. This would not have to be over China policy. Quite the contrary. The ambassador's argument would more likely be that, while the administration's approach to the Middle Kingdom (which he carried out) was solid, Huntsman saw up close how it was undermined by Obama's profligacy at home. Unquestionably, some in the GOP would never forgive Huntsman for having gone to work for the enemy. But, were his break with the White House skillfully framed, for many others it might make him a kind of hero.

All the hubbub over Huntsman's potential presidential candidacy erupted on New Year's Day when Newsweek published an article, aptly titled “The Manchurian Candidate,” wherein Huntsman hinted he has at least one political campaign left in him and refused to dismiss the possibility of running for president in 2012.

Last year the Deseret News reported Obama biographer and Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter's proclaiming, "Whether Obama wants to admit it or not, when he surveyed the Republican party for who had talent in the other party and could potentially pose the most threat for him in 2012, believe me, Obama would prefer to run against Romney or Huckabee or Palin than against Jon Huntsman."

e-mail: jaskar@desnews.com