Huntsman rocks out to 'Charlie Brown'
August 3rd, 2011
04:14 PM ET
3 years ago

Huntsman rocks out to 'Charlie Brown'

Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) - Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman highlighted his musical background on a jaunt through downtown Manchester Wednesday, greeting voters as part of a ramped-up effort by his campaign to gain ground in this must-win state.

Huntsman was persuaded to play a keyboard while visiting a music store on the city's historic thoroughfare. The politician, who dropped out of high school to join a band, couldn't resist and bent over the keys to play the Charlie Brown theme song.

"No, I'm not going to play," he protested, even as he fiddled with the keyboard's settings.

Huntsman, a former ambassador to China who entered the presidential race in late June and has struggled to make waves in the polls, seemed to expect voters not to know his name.

"I'm running for president. Huntsman's the name. Take a look," he repeated over and over, carefully enunciating his last name. "Huntsman."

He is spending a week in the state courting local officials and speaking to GOP groups. During his tour Wednesday he was careful to frequently thank Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, a Republican who has yet to support a candidate and who arranged the outing.

"The mayor's taking us around and introducing us to people on Main Street," he told a patron at a pizza shop. "You can't do better than that."

The mayor - who's offered the tour to any candidate who asks - concurred.

"It's a little easier when the mayor breaks the ice," Gatsas said. "I think [Huntsman] did well. I think he met a lot of people."

One of the few candidates to support the debt deal in Washington this week, Huntsman explained his grudging approval of the deal to several voters.

"I think that everyone's really upset," he said. "And because they're really upset they probably found the right balance."

Still, he blamed Obama for not showing enough leadership to get a deal done sooner, and said entitlements and a balanced budget amendment should be on the table in the future.

"There has been nothing in the last two and a half years that has spoken to the most important issue of our time, and that's expanding the economy and creating jobs," he said.

A teacher eating lunch asked Huntsman about his education policy and got a detailed response that included adding charter schools and an emphasis on early childhood education.

Steve Lebel, a Democrat and a third grade teacher who had not heard of Huntsman, was impressed with the response.

"I definitely would go to his website and check out more of what he has to say about education because I feel that that's kind of gone by the wayside," Lebel said.

The former governor ended the tour with a couple of corny jokes at a Ben and Jerry's ice cream store.

"Is Ben here?" he asked the two young women scooping the cones, who giggled and told him no. "What about Jerry?"

As for flavor - the man who sees himself as a rocker at heart could only make one choice: a cherry, chocolate-y flavor named after Jerry Garcia.

"I've got the Grateful Dead running through my head as I eat 'Cherry Garcia,'" Huntsman said.


Filed under: 2012 • Jon Huntsman • New Hampshire
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Hey, I can dig it. I love the piano, too. Never tried to learn that one, but I did learn "The Entertainer". Too bad for Huntsman that this sort of stuff gets you thrown off the ticket.

    August 3, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. Larry L

    I'd be more likely to follow this moderate Republican if I thought the GOP could tolerate a moderate. The Republican Party is now so far to the right I can't supported anybody affiliated with this American Taliban organization.

    August 3, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    I don't suppose anyone bothered to check to see if the keyboard was made in China? Still waiting for Huntsman to start addressing his plan for bringing American jobs back home from China. His *superior* knowledge of all things Chinese being touted as it is ought to give him a running start in addressing our Manufacturing (or lack thereof) industry here in America. A power point presentation of all the oh so happy Chinese working families making cents on the dollar would be a great starting point.

    August 3, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. rob

    Mr.Huntsman, "Your in the wrong Parties, Gop/Teaparty, otherwise, you may have had a Chance?? You can thank your colleages for that. When the President is re-elected, "Switch over" Maybe 2016,Huh??

    August 3, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    And he has as much chance of winning the nomination as Charlie Brown! But both would be better than the Bozo we hve in there now.

    August 3, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. GI Joe

    Oh, Good Grief ..........................................

    August 3, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  7. Joe B-b-b-b-bob

    Wonder what Vince Guaraldi would have thought about this. The bigger issue: where does John Huntsman stand re Cecil Taylor?

    August 3, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  8. Darko

    I'd be more likely to follow this moderate Republican if I thought the GOP could tolerate a moderate. The Republican Party is now so far to the right I can't supported anybody affiliated with this American Taliban organization.
    **********
    Trying to get a balanced budget amendment (something EVERY state except Vermont has some version of) is what the left considers an act of terrorism??? Forcing Congress to not waste our money and keep us in a perpetual debt crisis is synonymous with the Taliban???

    Better for a fool to remain quiet than to open his mouth and remove all doubt!

    August 3, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. Joe B-b-b-b-bob

    Mr. Huntsman says he's got the Grateful Dead in his head when he eats Cherry Garcia - BUT DID HE EVER DRINK THE PUNCH?

    August 3, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Watch Hunts Man carefully; he could be the most dangerous of the bunch. It's quite possible smarter minds in the GOBP cult have already figured out their only hope is to trot out an alleged "moderate" to make the necessary apologies and repentences for the last 30 years of Republican sins.

    All of that is irrelevant if the billionaire backers continue with their current agenda of destroying the middle class and the environment. He differs little from GWB (remember when he first claimed to be a "compassionate conservative"?) with his spoiled rich kid billionaire ties to the chemical industry. As GWB already taught us, he'd be the wrong guy to be in charge. Foxes and henhouses and all that.

    August 3, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  11. moderatejoe_boston

    Huntsman is the only candidate who understands the needs of this country; has foreign policy experience , can negotiate with our primary debt holder in fluent mandarin, and has both public and private CEO experience.

    August 3, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  12. Marie MD

    Thanks cnn I can always count on a story about one in the hundreds of the list of potential republikan candidates to make me smile!!
    Is he bringing those jobs he took out of the country back? No, then no, he will neve be president. Just like the stupid bimbo from MN taking money from the government through her husband and farm subsidies and complaining about it.

    August 3, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  13. alleygator

    Huntsman, Huckabee, Randall Terry, David Koresh - all failed wannabe rock & rollers, stealing licks off of records.

    August 3, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  14. NoTeaParty

    Oh. At first I thought it was the song by the Coasters. "He's a clown, that Charlie Brown. He's gonna get caught just you want and see / Why's everybody always picking on me." lol.

    August 3, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "said entitlements and a balanced budget amendment should be on the table in the future."

    Don't worry. They will be. Eric Cantor basically promise today that young people in this country are going to have to find some other way to insure themselves and obtain health care other than Medicare for later in life. He indicated that the House GOP/Teatrolls intend to make sure of that via the Joint Committee on the debt ceiling and the absolute, complete and utter refusal to ever, in any way, shape or form, no matter what the situation or facts show, raise the revenue available to the federal gov't. Go head. Look it up. I'm not fabricating.

    August 3, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  16. Shirley In California

    Eve Harrington speaks again.

    August 3, 2011 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  17. Andrew

    The more I hear about this guy the better I like him. Good head on his shoulder and a sense of humor. Plays music maybe, I'd like him more if he was a Democrat but at least he's a moderate and seems to care about the people in this country.

    August 3, 2011 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    Notice ONLY the wealthy are in favor of getting rid of the programs that help the poor?

    August 3, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  19. bb

    He has no chance of winning, but he looks like a decent enough guy. The GOP only runs idiots and/or corporate snakes though. Huntsman's out.

    August 3, 2011 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  20. vet in texas

    He's their best chance, but like Mitt, mormans will never be elected president, all it takes is one commercial with the young girls in the long sleeve dresses or Warren Jeffs commercials and their nail will be driven into their coffins.

    He's the smartest one in the bunch outside of Paul, but based on the last 3 republican presidents.......that ain't saying much!

    August 3, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Darko

    I'd be more likely to follow this moderate Republican if I thought the GOP could tolerate a moderate. The Republican Party is now so far to the right I can't supported anybody affiliated with this American Taliban organization.
    **********
    Trying to get a balanced budget amendment (something EVERY state except Vermont has some version of) is what the left considers an act of terrorism??? Forcing Congress to not waste our money and keep us in a perpetual debt crisis is synonymous with the Taliban???

    Better for a fool to remain quiet than to open his mouth and remove all doubt!
    -------------
    Obviously, you have not seen the quote from Sen. McConnell in today's Washington Post.

    “I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting,” he said. “Most of us didn’t think that. What we did learn is this — it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming. And it focuses the Congress on something that must be done.”

    August 3, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  22. Errm

    This guy is trying WAY too hard. First the motorcycle, now this?

    August 3, 2011 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    Huntsman not a moderate; he's an opportunist who turned on President Obama in a heartbeat. Wouldn't trust this guy as far as I can throw him. And whoopdee-ding-dong-day, he can play the theme from Charlie Brown. So can I; does that mean I should be president?

    August 3, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |