Huntsman doubles down on serving for Obama
May 20th, 2011
08:52 AM ET
11 years ago

Huntsman doubles down on serving for Obama

(CNN) – Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman’s biggest vulnerability as he gets serious about a presidential bid is likely the fact he spent the last two years working for the man he now wants to beat.

But in an interview with ABC News airing Friday, the former U.S. Ambassador to China said he’d serve the president again if he was asked.

"I worked for the president of the United States. The president asked me, the president of all the people. And during a time of war, during a time of economic difficulty for our country, if I'm asked by my president to serve, I'll stand up and do it," said Huntsman who recently returned from his post after serving there for two years.

"I'd do it again, of course," he added. The interview came as Huntsman kicks off a five day swing throughout the key primary state of New Hampshire as he gets close to making a presidential decision.

The comments are largely in line with his previous rebuttal to some Republicans who view his service under President Obama as nothing short of apostasy. Instead, Huntsman and his aides have sought to characterize his ambassadorship as serving the United States more than serving the president.

But it remains to be seen if rank-and-file voters will buy into the distinction, especially in light of recently revealed letters Huntsman authored that showered praise on both Obama and former President Clinton.

"He chose me, a Republican, and I wrote that to him by way of a thank you note," Huntsman said of his letter to the president. "I do a lot of them, too. And it was my way of expressing what I thought about his election."

Filed under: Jon Huntsman
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. ConservaFASCISTS

    As I said before, Huntsman is the most formidable opponent of the President. If he can make it out of a primary alive, he can give the President a run for his money. That being said, the President has something under his belt that none of the republican candidates have. HE KILLED OSAMA BIN LADEN.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    May 20, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    He chose you, a Republican, because he perceived you to be the biggest potential threat to him in 2012. He didn't want to run against you.

    May 20, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  3. FM

    Am puzzled whether Huntsman real get it what it means by "opposition". Will it not sound weird to hear him opposing what he has been supporting??? And if he has to oppose, why didn't he oppose then when he worked as team-member of the Administration??

    May 20, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  4. shawn

    Obviously, this dweeb could never beat Obama. The Republican field is pathetic.

    May 20, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  5. The Dude

    Finally, someone on the right that gets it! It's about the country and not about party. Unfortunately, he won't pass muster with Rush and Palin. Too bad. He could have been a contender.

    May 20, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  6. La, La, La

    This is the first republican candidate (presume) that is intelligent and may have a mind of his own.

    May 20, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  7. gt

    america independent voters want someone in the 60/40 range ...thats where most of votes are ...will see where huntsman fits in...

    May 20, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  8. dennis freeman

    Unbelievable – an adult Republican. Maybe the world is coming to and tomorrow.

    May 20, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  9. Al

    Huntsman should have waited in 2016.

    May 20, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. PalmReader

    For those who may have missed this little tidbit, google Huntsman's speech at the Republican Convention 2008. It's quite interesting, and perhaps best hits upon this willingness of his in accepting whatever it is that is asked of him, regardless of political consequence.

    May 20, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  11. jaywingfuller

    Good man, Huntsman. I may not vote for you, but I respect you. I certainly wish more republicans thougth like you and put country before party; but then again, I wish for world peace too, and that isn't working-out quite as well as I'd like either.

    May 20, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. chefdugan

    Finally a Republican that doesn't have foot-in-mouth disease! If they don't embrace this guy they are the losers I think they are. I am an independent and I would vote for him in a heartbeat. If he stays in the race he will separate the thinking Republicans from those single-issue jerks on the right.

    May 20, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Huntsman has earned my respect with this.
    He is not pulling a flip-flop, nor backpedaling.
    The President of the United States asked you to serve your country, and you did. Bravo.
    Obama 2012.

    May 20, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  14. NVa Native

    Damn ths guy sounds like he is motivated by his integrity, reason, rational thought, and even seems to respect our country and it's laws. The right-wing fringe will persecute him relentlessly. Definately sounds too close to normal for the current freaks running the GOP.

    May 20, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  15. The Clear Thinking Independent Voter

    Huntsman will announce that he is running for President in 2012 but doesn't expdect to win. He is positioning for 2016.

    Romney will falter in 2012. The rright wing zealots of the Tea party wing of the GOP will not allow anyone to agree with the President on ANYTHING in 2012. They will be gone by 2016. Romney's fatal flaw is that he was "for healthcare reform before he was against it". He lacks the courage to say it was the right thing for Mass when he did it and the right thing for America as Obama has done it. Most thinking Americans won't accept his duplicitous explaination.

    Huntsman lacks the baggage of Romney but has deep money pockets in his family. He can have staying power until 2016 by which time the GOP will realize that Americans have tired of the "Red Meat" approach that characterizes the Republican zealots of today. Huntsman will come off as calm & intelligent. He will be a Republican version of Obama.

    Huntsman is counting on President Obama being a two-term Commander-in-Chief. He then hopes to pick up the baton in 2016.

    May 20, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  16. mike

    This is a rare view of a public servent that I think of being patriotic. Thank you Mr. Huntsman.

    May 20, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |