huntsman 2012? :-)

Jon Huntsman with President Obama and China’s ambassador to the U.S., Zhou Wenzhong, in China, 2009

At the joint press conference with China’s President Hu, the AP’s Ben Feller asked President Obama to comment on the possible presidential candidacy of his ambassador to China, Republican Jon Hunstman (who hinted this month in an interview with Newsweek that he might challenge the President), who was standing in front of him.

“I think Ambassador Huntsman has done an outstanding job as ambassador for the United States to China. He is a Mandarin speaker. He has brought enormous skill, dedication and talent to the job. And, you know, the fact that he comes from a different party, I think, is a strength, not a weakness, because it indicates … partisanship ends at the water’s edge.”

“I couldn’t be happier with the ambassador’s service, and I’m sure he will be very successful in whatever endeavors he chooses in the future. And I’m sure that him having worked so well with me will be a great asset in any Republican primary.”


President Obama reacts as a reporter asks him about Jon Huntsman….

21 Responses to “huntsman 2012? :-)”

  1. 1 sherijr
    January 19, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    I want to say.. how typically republican- given a job by a Democratic President- now he wants the President’s job too. Of course the President’s response is far more generous and ‘adult’ than mine 😉

    • 2 Eleroy
      January 19, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      I concur Sheri!!!

      But worse is the reporter who asks the President such a stupid and may I add disrespectful question in front of the Chinese delegation!!!

      With all the important and yet to be asked and answered questions that abound too!!!

  2. January 19, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Huntsman is a handsome man and a moderate Republican. As I recall, he spoke out in support of civil unions among gays, environmental issues, and better salaries for teachers since it seemed that Utah wasn’t very competitive with other states in attracting good teachers. Usually, people come to Utah to work or teach or do research mainly because they want to live in “Zion.” Sometimes this results in excellent people working here, but most times not

    He would be the one Republican worthy of running against President Obama, though he might realize he hasn’t a chance in 2012 and would wait until 2016. In the Republican primaries he would give any Republican now in the field a real run for his or her money.

    • January 19, 2011 at 2:34 pm

      That’s interesting Joan, I didn’t know Huntsman was that enlightened. But I’d imagine that level of enlightenment would mean he’d have no hope whatsoever in the Republican primaries??

  3. 5 Debra
    January 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    To his credit Huntsman never said he was running. It is a media made story line. But President Obama was funny and handle the question well.

    • January 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm

      He definitely didn’t confirm he was running Debra, but I think he was testing the water!

      Newsweek link: ….“You know, I’m really focused on what we’re doing in our current position,” he says. “But we won’t do this forever, and I think we may have one final run left in our bones.” Asked whether he is prepared to rule out a run in 2012 (since it would require him to campaign against his current boss), he declines to comment.

      The winking response—about as close to a hat-in-ring announcement as you’ll get from a sitting member of the incumbent’s administration—could just be a hollow cry for attention. But sources close to Huntsman (who requested anonymity to speak freely without his permission) say that during his December trip to the U.S., he met with several former political advisers in Washington and Salt Lake City to discuss a potential campaign. “I’m not saying he’s running,” says one supporter who has worked with him in the past. “But we’re a fire squad; if he says the word, we can get things going fast.” What’s more, Huntsman tells NEWSWEEK that when he accepted the ambassadorial appointment, he promised his family they would “come up for air” sometime in 2010 to decide how much longer they would stay in Beijing. “I’m not announcing anything at all,” he says. But he sure seems to be hinting.

      • 7 Eleroy
        January 19, 2011 at 8:24 pm

        I think it’s totally classless to discuss running against your boss!!! Hunstman may be “enlightened’ to some, but I find him to be as sneaky, untrustworthy and underhanded as many in the republican party and of course a few dems!!!

        • January 19, 2011 at 8:28 pm

          To “some”?? To me?? 🙂 Compared to 99% of Rethuglicans, Eleroy, he is enlightened, so we should give him credit for that – it doesn’t mean I support his candidacy for the 2012 Presidential election…. needless to say!

  4. 9 Diamond
    January 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    That was a brilliant response by the President. He just wrapped himself around Huntsman’s neck and told him good luck getting anywhere in a republican primary with me around your neck.

  5. January 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Hi everyone, I don’t think this is nothing more than speculation on the media’s part because he just brought a house in Washington, DC. If he ran it would be in 2016, because right now he is to moderate for the Teaparty. They would NEVER let him get the nomination. Everyone think that they can beat President Obama and take the house and senate. But a number of polls this week have the public souring on the Teaparty their favorbility ratings are down to 30%. So they are losing ground for 2012. If President Obama stay the course he will continue to win. I keep the faith 🙂

    • 12 majii
      January 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm

      I agree, Brezzydee. The current GOP leadership in Congress has problems with the tea partiers. I believe this is why Boehner turned down the trip aboard AF 1 to AZ with the president and the invitation to the state dinner. He’s trying to keep the tea partiers and others on the far right from tearing him apart were he to engage in any kind of cooperation with the current administration. I also think the tea party movement is losing steam because the Koch Bros, Armey, the National CoC, and the other wealthy backers are not funding any other “expeditions” at this time. They have their tax cuts and Boehner and the GOP in their hip pockets, so the rank and file members are being left screaming in the wilderness for the time being.

  6. 13 cat48
    January 19, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    POTUS was funny but I’m not surprised. It was bound to come up with Huntsman in town. Yesterday, I saw a poll for Utah Senator and Huntsman was beating Oren Hatch & the other man who might run by 20 pts. He may run for the Senate in 2012. I hope he stays a while longer b/c he’s seems to be doing a good job. I just can’t see him getting thru a repub primary right now for pres. though.

    • 14 Theo67
      January 19, 2011 at 3:43 pm

      I think you’re right. Hunstman would be better running for Senator in 2012, then run for President after that. He seems like a good candidate, but really, we need President Obama there for another six years. Then, have at it.

  7. 15 Sue in Minnesota
    January 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Question….is Mr Huntsman a mormon? It doesn’t matter to me….however the extreme right is religiously narrow minded. Also they may oppose his moderate views. Frankly, I don’t want anyone besides our current President at the helm of our ship, and whomever replaces him in 2016 must be able to build upon the foundation he lays. The Republicans have some problems they have to work out with the TeaBaggers….it’s going to be hard to put that “genie” back in it’s bottle. The Republicans have shamelessly used them, it will be interesting to see how they now curtail them.

    • January 19, 2011 at 5:15 pm

      Just checked Sue, he sure has an interesting background!

      “Born in Palo Alto, California, Huntsman is the son of billionaire businessman and philanthropist Jon Huntsman of Huntsman Corporation. Huntsman dropped out of high school to be in a rock ‘n’ roll band. He attended the University of Utah … he spent time in Taiwan as a Mormon missionary and speaks Standard Mandarin Chinese fluently. He is also fluent in Taiwanese Hokkien (Minnan).”

      Dropped out of high school to be in a rock ‘n’ roll band? 8)

      • 17 Sue in Minnesota
        January 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm

        Thanks Chipsticks…lazy me. I am going to look into Huntsman Corporation…..not to disparage the rich, but I like the idea of less “financially endowed” leadership. I value people above dollars, always have, and always will. I’m a commoner.

        • 18 majii
          January 19, 2011 at 6:14 pm

          So am I Sue, so am I. I always think that many (not all) who have lived lives of privilege oftentimes have a hard time identifying with those who aren’t the same as themselves. I’ve also found that many who come from modest backgrounds often forget them when they reach the big time (I’m talking to you, Boehner.)

  8. January 19, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    James Fallows mentioned the other day that the Senate seat in Utah is what Huntsman is interested in right now. Makes much more sense.

  9. 20 Sue in Minnesota
    January 19, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Huntsman Corporation is a chemical company, which links it indirectly to the petroleum industry. 40 years old, which through acquisitions and internal expansion and developement has grown into an $8,000,000,000.00 business.
    Chemical manufacturing is closely related to the petroleum industry so I am in search of connections between the Koch Brother and Huntsman Corporation…..I didn’t have to travel far –
    Huntsman School of Business at USU (Utah State University) hand selects 15 business students who form a consortium, whose focus is political economics, stipends for food and books are paid for by Charles Koch.
    I am not a very good researcher, and frankly reading anything about the Koch brothers disturbs me, but I do respect my gut instincts, and Jon Huntsman’s riches and corporate connections leaves me feeling uncomfortable. I don’t intend to disparage the rich, corporations or Jon Huntsman, but I want to be aligned with people who are interested in leveling the field of opportunity in this country, and IMO the corporations wield a disproportionate amount of power, and not in the interest of “the greater good”.

  10. January 19, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Did anyone see his face when the reporter was asked the question? Funny!

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