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Ambassador Jon Huntsman Hints At 2012 Presidential Bid

Neon Tommy |
January 1, 2011 | 2:11 p.m. PST

Jon Huntsman, the U.S. Ambassador to China and a former Republican Governor of Utah, has hinted he might run for President, Newsweek reported on Saturday.

President Obama convinced Huntsman to resign his post as Utah Governor in 2009 to become the ambassador to China. At the time, there was some speculation that Huntsman, a moderate, could challenge Obama in the 2012 presidential race. David Plouffe, Obama's chief campaign manager in 2008, had even said Huntsman was the only candidate who made him "a wee bit queasy" in the 2012 election.

According to The Huffington Post, "when Obama selected Huntsman for the ambassadorial role, it was viewed as an effort to handicap Huntsman's ability to throw his hat in the presidential ring."

Now the big question seems to be whether Huntsman will run despite the appointment.

When asked about his presidential aspiration, he told Newsweek, “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.”

More from Newsweek:

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.

Read the entire Newsweek article on Jon Huntsman here.




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