May 16th, 2009
10:40 AM ET
9 years ago

Utah governor named China envoy

President Obama announces Saturday his pick for U.S. envoy to China, Jon Huntsman, who talks to reporters.

President Obama announces Saturday his pick for U.S. envoy to China, Jon Huntsman, who talks to reporters.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama announced Saturday that his choice for U.S. ambassador to China is moderate Republican Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who expressed some surprise at the appointment.

A national co-chairman of Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, Huntsman said he didn't expected "to be called into action by the person who beat us.

"But I grew up understanding that the most basic responsibility one has is service to country," the 49-year-old governor said at the White House, just after Obama's announcement.

"When the president of the United States asks you to step up and serve in a capacity like this, that to me is the end of the conversation and the beginning of the obligation to rise to the challenge."

The Senate must confirm his appointment.

Huntsman, who is in his final term as Utah's governor, is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and is a former trade representative and ambassador to Singapore.

His family has an adopted daughter from China. The Salt Lake Tribune newspaper has reported that Huntsman has performed Mormon missionary work in Taiwan.

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Filed under: China
soundoff (96 Responses)

    Well Lets see the Republicans Bash this Hannity, Limbaugh, Heads must Be exploding hahahah lol

    May 16, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. mk

    IS IT 2012 YET??
    I seriously doubt that you would recognize credibility if it slapped your narrow minded face.
    It was locked away with all of the other secrets and lies that this country was subjected to during the the last 8 years of destructive control by the Republicans. But it is back now, that is why you actually know how to spell it.

    May 16, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. J S Ragman

    How many times did our recent Clown Prez reach across the aisle like our current real President? I don't remember one time yet President Obama continues to attempt to do the right thing. What are all the repugs going to say about this move?

    May 16, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  4. CHANGE we need

    Well taken care of...just like Hillary. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer! Hill cannot campaign as SoS and this guy can be hidden behind the great china wall...

    Another brilliant move, Mr President.

    May 16, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  5. Ex-republican

    America is so much divided right now just because of idiots like you. What President's birth certificate has to do with this appointment?
    Just go ahead, in 4 years there will be 2% people like you, not 20% like now.

    May 16, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. white woman in Hawaii

    Why does this "Paula" chick keep putting on all of the discussion boards that Obama is hiding his birth certificate? I live in Hawaii, and know people that know Obama, they went to school with him, they grew up together. He has also shown his birth certificate and it has been ruled authentic by experts. Get over it ! You need a geography lesson, Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959, and Obama was born HERE in 1961. If that is the best argument you can come up with, you are pretty lame. You must be a racist, which is really sad in 2009. Let's move on to more important subjects.

    May 16, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  7. Chenna Benna

    This is exactly why I love our President. The media may have proclaimed Huntsman as a contender for 2012, but do you honestly think the GOP and their base would back a moderate? They are already eating their own people alive, pushing out Specter and Powell. If they don't want their moderates, us Dems will welcome them. The GOP is too obsessed with Ronald Regan to even fully understand what is going on right now. Most economist were saying we need to temporarily increase spending because we are in a deep recession where no one wants to spend their money to help boost the economy. The Republicans' answer was tax cuts and a spending freeze. That is like bring a knife to a gun fight.

    The GOP. Failing to do anything since January 20th 2009.

    May 16, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  8. Eric

    Huntsman knows that he has no long term future as a leader within the national Rethugican party, as it has no tolerance for leaders who happen to be morman, nor moderates. He could tack hard right, but Romney already tried that and his support plateaued.

    This is not a bid to close down a future rival, but an attempt to show the Mormans that Obama's big tent has room for them.

    May 16, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  9. Marge

    Wonder if the republicans will automatically block this appointment like they threaten to do on others. Nah...won't happen.

    May 16, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Debby, NJ...foot soldier 'til 2016

    Great move Mr. President, now let's see how long the GOP will hold up his nomination.

    May 16, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. DaBird

    Do you see all the negative comments about the GOP? Come on people, Obama hasn't done very good with picking candidates so far. I don't care if he is Republican or Democrat. I do care if he has ethics and if he pays taxes. Get over hating the other party so much.

    May 16, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. Francisco Cardenas

    Obama is being more successful at pleasing his opponents than he is at responding to those who supported him.

    May 16, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. I used to like CNN but not anymore!

    Don't worry, some Republican sheep will step up to cry about this!You could almost set your watch by it!

    May 16, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. case

    Bad make an appointment of a man clearly qualified and prepared for a role about nothing by 2012 politics. How about a headline "Obama reaches out to knowledgeable Gov." Also, Huntsman will be in better position in 2016 anyway.... the GOP will finally be open to a moderate.

    May 16, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  15. FactCheck

    Obama is paying lawyers to hide his birth certificate.

    Maybe you should think about paying someone to hide you dolt certificate.

    May 16, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. VON BISMARK,Vienna.

    Was Rove waterboarded yesterday?

    May 16, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. Peter E

    Well, it makes sense, considering how much the republicans would whine otherwise how it's somehow democrats kissing up to to a communist government. If they're so smart, let them figure it out. Oh, and China called! Apparently they want their interest payment on the trillions of dollars Bush borrowed during his presidency.

    May 16, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. Salas

    Excellent choice,i hope the Gopers will learn from this black man how not to be self-centered.And what is wrong with CNN?Instead of telling a story as it is,you want to add a little comic of huntsman been a challenger after you've given us jindal,palin,newt,mitt etc,grow CNN.

    May 16, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  19. Dan, TX

    Problem here is Obama cannot find any capable, clean and intelligent people in his own party. Somebody is saying Obama is reaching across the aisle. I do not believe it. Obama is a radical president and he has to fill in the vacancies and he cannot find any body in his party. They are all tax-cheats and socialists.

    May 16, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  20. barry

    Imagine if Huntsman rejected this duty, all the liberals will say he is not American, not patriotic, partisan, bla bla bla.

    Bottom line, according to all the liberals, their "Messiah" is always right, the Repubs are always wrong, no matter what.

    As simple as that.

    May 16, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  21. robertb

    huntsman for prez? maybe vp but only if utahs 3 votes are critical, hah. that said, one of obamas best moves.

    May 16, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. Mr. Roboto

    Actually, that's a great idea! Send this GOP guy to China, that GOP guy to Zimbabwe, the other GOP guy to Antarctica... Only trouble is that, to get Rush Limbaugh out of the country, you will need a XXL transport grate (like in the 70's "King Kong" movie) and pay an awful lot of extra for the airline ticket...

    OK, seriously now: i think it's more than a gesture, that President Obama is really trying to reach out to the GOP. We live in dire times and cooperation is urgently needed. Any Republican with half a brain and any patriotism left would know that and chip in. By the way: "Decisions are made by those who show up", right?...

    May 16, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. Freeman

    A true President. Reaching out like that (at least trying to) to the hostile Republican Party. I hope Gov. Huntsman doesn't decide to turn the job down after "thinking about it".

    May 16, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. Cali Mike

    Wow. The President reaches across the aisle and gets slammed for "shipping a potential rival overseas"

    Is this serious? Is this really still America? When Obama terms out, I'm moving. Ex-Pat America here I come

    May 16, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  25. KirksNoseHair

    LOL @ all the the right-wing hand-wringing and never ending pathetic whining about this president. The last 8 years under Bush/Cheney have been an unmitigated disaster, where was all of the outrage while those incompetent trolls were running this country's economy and reputation into the dirt? Your massive overwhelming hypocrisy just makes me laugh. Obama is the president, I suggest you wrap your feeble minds around it and deal with it.

    May 16, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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