Huntsman caught calling Obama a 'remarkable leader'
April 15th, 2011
03:17 PM ET
11 years ago

Huntsman caught calling Obama a 'remarkable leader'

Washington (CNN) – A source associated with Jon Huntsman's potential campaign for the Republican presidential nomination is brushing off a newly revealed letter from the outgoing U.S. ambassador to China that praises President Barack Obama as a "remarkable leader."

The letter, acquired by the conservative media website The Daily Caller from an unnamed source, was handwritten by Huntsman on August 16, 2009.

"You are a remarkable leader," Huntsman writes in the note, adding an underline to the word "remarkable." "[And] it has been a great honor getting to know you."

The effuse praise of the president is likely to haunt Huntsman should he decide to mount a Republican presidential bid later this year. Huntsman, the former governor of Utah who is scheduled to leave his ambassador post at the end of this month, has already faced skepticism from some Republicans that it will be difficult to mount an effective campaign against the man he served dutifully for two years.

But the source close to Huntsman's possible campaign suggested to CNN the leak of the praiseworthy letter is a sign the White House is threatened by Huntsman more than any other Republican.

"Need further proof the White House fears Jon Huntsman the most? I don't think so," the source said.

Huntsman's praise for politicians who are usually Republican punching bags didn't stop with Obama. In other letters acquired by the Daily Caller, the outgoing Ambassador told former President Bill Clinton, "I have enormous regard for your experience, sense of history and brilliant analysis of world events."

And in the same letter to the former president, he applauds Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for "winning the hearts and minds of the State Dept. bureaucracy – no easy task."

After watching her in action, I can see why," wrote Huntsman. "She is well-read, hard working, personable and has even more charisma than her husband! It's an honor to work with her."

Huntsman has said he will decide on a presidential bid later this spring.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • Jon Huntsman • President Obama
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Brian

    This is NOT a constructive article in relation to the current political environment in the United States. This article headline should read "Huntsman says Obama is a 'remarkable leader'." It is atrocious to claim that the news peg here is that he was "caught admitting it." Is it not an absolutely fantastic thing for the president to have bipartisan praise?

    April 15, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "You are a remarkable leader," Huntsman writes in the note, adding an underline to the word "remarkable." "[And] it has been a great honor getting to know you."
    YES HE IS!!!!
    And some of you yahoos do not deserve him!
    Post if you want CNN.

    April 15, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  3. Former Republican, but never again!

    OK, so Huntsman is honest. I guess that would disqualify him as the GOP nominee.

    April 15, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. w l jones

    Give Mr. Hunt credit for his remark this is the first time in a very long time American can go anywhere in the world without being harrash, our president must have something to do with it.

    April 15, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. Mereze Lawson

    this is how messed up our political climate has become. even if there are qualities you admire in ur opponent u cant priase them in public. our country is so divided it is getting completely insane. how are the two parties expected work together when all we hear is insults, mistruths and demonising one another and cant even offer complements and praise when it is due

    April 15, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. diridi

    very true....I know GOP idiots will never accept. Look, obma's budget is 56 percent approval, Paul Ryan is 23 percent....that idiot, paul ryan was so arrogant....what happened...people went for obama's.....GOP is idiotic...o.k, total mess of this nation ever in nation's history....we could have gone energy efficiency long time ago...I was reading Geothermal units, very impressive, it saves 80 percent, lot of other benefits earthly....

    April 15, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  7. ...

    Huntsman? I'm sure the White House is terrified of him considering no one even knows who he is! LOL...

    April 15, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. gt

    yea.. he was the ambassador to china ...and....

    April 15, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. Ken

    When you leave a job, most people want to be able to get a good job reference from your former employer and I suspect there is no difference when this man leaves his post. What he did was a very professional and proper thing to do. You can spin it any way you please but doing the right thing is the right thing to do. If he decides to run for POTUS he would in turn slam, within reasonable bounds, his opponent (President Obama) which would be the logical thing for him to do to gain support and votes.

    April 15, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. VA is for Lovers

    This fool just talks out of both sides of his mouth!!! Which ever way the wind blows, so does his opinions! SMH This is VERY, VERY bad for his potential Presidential Bid! VERY, VERY, bad!!!

    April 15, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    The Huntsman campaign can spin all they want. It came from a conservative source. It is no secret that Huntsman is regarded as something of a turncoat. The Grand Old Tea Party will no longer welcome him amongst their ranks. I'm surprised that they would let him walk amongst their rank and file. Do not be too surprised if Huntsman if forced to run as an independent. Let's see how the first debate goes over for him.

    April 15, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  12. Big Al

    Only Sarah Palin can save our country.

    April 15, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. Chuck

    Having called President Obama a remarkable leader only hurts his campaign if he intends to run on the idea that Obama is an atheist Muslim Kenyan terrorist intent on giving our country over to communist Russia. (I.E., the standard Republican platform)

    God forbid we get a candidate that says "Yeah, he did a great job, I just think I'd do better. Let's discuss both our merits and we'll let you judge us evenly."

    April 15, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. Mark

    Obama a total fraud.

    April 15, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. J-NW

    Like any GOP vying for the presidency.. he has to abandon any sense of truth and justice.. he now has to win the hearts and minds of the Birthers (who won't let facts deter they're bigotry), the greedy (who don't want to spend one dollar on helping those who they've trampled on their way to the top), the gun lobby (fear mongoring = big$$)... conservatives in general who would rather restart the Civil War than learn how to get along with those who are different yet have every right to fair and equal justice.

    April 15, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. Republican Robber Baron

    WOW! A Republican honest enough to admit Obama is as good as we know he is? No wonder my red-neck ultra conservative
    Congressional District voted for Obama, despite outnumbering Dem's 2 to 1.

    April 15, 2011 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Let's see. In order to be welcomed back into the fold, he will have to "return state side" and discover enlightenment. That means he must go through the compulsory remarks about the President's birth, his religion, his patriotism, his leadership (hypocrisy, I know), his choice of music, food, and drink.

    Next, he must out in front of the media and make a complete fool of himself. Reminds me of pledging a fraternity.

    April 15, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  18. Tulsa

    Mark is a total idiot.

    I have as much evidence to back up my statement as you have for yours.

    April 15, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  19. Tulsa

    gt.... and you were the ambassador to??????

    April 15, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Whether you agree with Huntsman or not, he's the U.S. Ambassador to China, our banker, and it would certainly be inappropriate, ignorant and stupid for him to say any less. Leave the stupidity up to people like Palin who travel to our ally countries and say inappropriate, ignorant and stupid things about our country and President.

    April 15, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  21. Tulsa

    Big Al, REALLY? Tell me how that works. C'mon, BIG AL, tell us all how sara would fix eveything.... show me her budget. Show me her policy on terrorism, show me ANYTHING that she has said that is workable, or heck, even truthful.
    Betcha can't.

    April 15, 2011 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  22. ja

    it will not hurt him, just leave the malfunctioning republican party, the man isn't full of bitterness as most of the gop

    April 15, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  23. the real ib

    If this guy thinks Obama is great I sure don't want to see him running for president. He's probably another spend; spend liberal that can't keep his hand out of a cookie jar that is empty.

    April 15, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  24. Laverne

    I like Huntsman, but he should wait to run in 2016 because he has blown his chances of winning in 2012 by having worked for Obama with praise for the past 2 years and then to have to criticize the president will make him look like a disloyal, untrustworthy person. Let's face it whether you are republican or democrat, no one likes a sell out or someone who is perceived to be a backstabber. He can't win in this environment, the republicans have already deemed him disloyal for working in the Obama Administration in the first place. Spare yourself the embarrassment Huntsman!

    April 15, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    OMG, a Republican who has praised President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton! It will be interesting to see just what kind of person is by how Huntsman reacts to this: Will he stick by his words or cower before the GOP?

    April 15, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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