May 16th, 2009
10:40 AM ET
5 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)
  1. tigerakabj

    What does King Rush have to say about this? A moderate Republican who speaks mandarin who doesn't put party over country? That can't be right. He must be a liberal in Republican clothing.

    We should be hearing about teleprompters, birth certificates, and "debt on our grandchildren" shortly. After all, Obama is unfit for office b/c he is all speeches, puts mustard on his hamburgers, and wants to enact his socialist/marxist/bolshevik agenda to destroy this country.

    May 16, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. Nav

    Great pick! I am waiting to see a press release from the GOP saying they are not surprised and for Rush to say it's actually good that Gov. Huntsman's resigning as a Gov. since he is "not a true republican." LOL. Oh yeah, Dick Chaney will go on Fox tomorrow and say he never thought huntsman was a republican since he came out for same sex unions and climate change. I wonder what Hannity has to say....

    May 16, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    well here again the President picked someone qualified to do a job for our country .. a republican gov. a mormon

    hmmm and he can speak the language..

    any republicans having a problem with this man .should seriously seek help.. way to go Mr President ..

    each day I get up you continue to make me beleive we can get out of this mess .. way too cool .. :)

    May 16, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. Robert

    It is OK, as long as you don't have Rush Limbaugh in there :)

    May 16, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. Francia Hurley

    annie for Palin May 16th, 2009 10:52 am ET

    So now bo has eliminated hillary and another potential for 2012 and he still hasn't come off the campaign trail! Most of us are getting a little tired of all the campaigning and all the ignorant spending! Even bo said you can't borrowing from china. That came out of one side of his mouth while the other side of his mount was saying give me more china borrowed money to spend on pork barrell projects!
    ------------------------------–

    Give it a rest....your name says it all....a palin voter eh...stop using those tired talking points that everyone is sick of.

    May 16, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. NotNowMooky

    That's our man. A Team of Rivals. Well done President Obama. Too bad Gregg didn't feel the same about serving his nation as Huntsman.

    May 16, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. Ted Tartaglia

    How's that for bipartisanship. At least Obama is trying to reach out to the Grand Obstructionist Party. They will now probably object to this appointment because it removes a Republican governor from their ranks.

    May 16, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. Pat Omaha, NE

    Congrats MR. huntsman! Your acceptance speech was an excellent
    example of a true citizen! Thank you!
    And thank you, President Obama, for making a choice on experience and not politics!!

    May 16, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. Gambi

    Bravo Obama!
    Now there is a fine example of choosing the right man for the job no matter what his choice of politcal party might be.
    Way to go Mr. President!

    May 16, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. Mark Blankenship

    I wonder what the GOP"s "JUNKYARD DOG" Dick Cheney will bite while trying to serve this country and not his or her party

    May 16, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. mjm

    Ravi May 16th, 2009 11:46 am ET

    I am so proud of our President!!! Not since Lincoln have we seen a US president try to reach out across the aisle with such persistence.

    You have got to be kidding. You MIGHT be exaggerating the significance of this one appointment.

    Imagine if he appoints two Republicans!

    May 16, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. banderson

    The Republicans will now probably treat Governor Huntsman like they treated Judd Gregg from New Hampshire until he changed his mind. Outcast, traitor, sellout.

    May 16, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  13. Ken

    Now let's see some bipartisanship from the other side. Are you listening, Rush, Glenn and Sean?

    May 16, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. bob in LA

    I knoew Obama was a smart man- his first 100+ have proven him to be a great choice. As of now, my doubts are gone.
    Congress- catch up!

    May 16, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. elliott

    It's all a game.......

    May 16, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. deb in Glenside

    Sounds like he has the right qualifications. We need someone like him serving in such a critical capacity with China.

    May 16, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  17. ck

    Hmmm,

    Appointing a member of the GOP to a vital position.

    Reinstating Bush/Cheney policies at Gitmo...

    Sounds like Obama may be wising up finally.

    Sorry sheep!! LOL LOL

    May 16, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. Lisa C

    Checkmate! Darn it, Mr. President, they didn't see that coming. They're awaiting Jesse Jackson, Sr's appointment to this position. Now they're having to really think like concerned leaders. How dare you force the hand of bipartisanship! Evil genious!

    May 16, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  19. ikke

    Dear Phoenix 86 i GUESS when its TO YOU IT WILL BE WAR AND BOMBS ALWAYS ? but i guess not you in front only behind your f... computer you a...wh......

    May 16, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. California Independent

    Last Republican out the door, leave the lights on (global warming is BS anyway, right) and send a check to King Rush with whatever is left in the coffers of the once-great party that Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Reagan built.

    May 16, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. Pel

    From a Liberal Democrat.

    This is a very good appointment. This shows again how the president is willing to cross party lines. I trust the Governor will serve with great distinction. Congratulation to the Governor.

    May 16, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. Annie

    A President who actually reaches out to the other side, no matter how many times his hands get bitten. We are truly in this together, despite our differences. He seems to understand that better than most of the other politicians we're subjected to.

    May 16, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  23. Hopeful Optimist

    I live in Texas, but I can almost see Oklahoma from my house. Would I be a good Republican or whuuutttttt ??

    May 16, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  24. Gary

    This appointment is going to cause the Republican hate machine to go into a furious overdrive of smears and lies. They will soon declare that Huntsman is a socialist, has become a Democrat, attack him and his famliy personally etc.... the usual Rove/Limbaugh/Delay propaganda campaign, and hound him out of the Republican party for daring to consider the well-being of the nation ahead of their partisan agenda.

    May 16, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  25. kevjoseph

    Limbaugh will still find something to criticize....

    May 16, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
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