Huntsman calls for civility and optimism in New Hampshire speech
May 21st, 2011
03:48 PM ET
9 years ago

Huntsman calls for civility and optimism in New Hampshire speech

(CNN) – Halfway through a five-day tour of the early presidential battleground state of New Hampshire, former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman delivered his second commencement address in as many weeks as he continues to test the waters for what many see as an increasingly likely 2012 bid.

Huntsman used his address to the Southern New Hampshire University graduating class to reiterate a message he has been honing since returning from Beijing just three weeks ago: the U.S. is not falling behind China in the global economy.

“You hear how the Chinese economy is going to swamp us. Don’t believe it,” Huntsman said. “China has its own problems. And we have our own strengths. I mean, there is a reason that Google was started in America and not Russia or Germany or China.”

As he addressed the crowd in the “live free, or die” state, Huntsman exuded optimism, telling the graduates that America’s “values are stronger than her challenges,” and reminding them that though we may forget it, our freedom still inspires those who are repressed around the world.

“Here at home, listening to cable news 24/7, it’s easy to forget that our nation still pulses with a vital, life-enriching energy that comes from the very freedom we breathe. The dissidents around the world see this. Sometimes we are too close to appreciate its impact.”

The former Utah governor also called on Americans to “remain civil to each other.”

“This country truly does have the democratic and economic resiliency to change without breaking. And civility acts as a lubricant to make the system work,” he said.

But as he mulls a bid for the White House, Huntsman has had to contend with critics who say that he is too civil. The Republican, who stepped down as governor of Utah to serve as President Obama’s ambassador to China, has spent the last few weeks explaining why he decided to work for a Democratic president. He has tried to frame his service as an act of patriotism, often repeating, “I didn't serve President Obama, I served my president.”

He has thus far, however, been unable to shed the association to his former boss, as political observers note their amicable relationship and their apparent similarities, such as their temperate demeanors.

In fact, just four years ago, then-candidate Barack Obama delivered his own message of hope from the very same stage.

Filed under: 2012 • Jon Huntsman • New Hampshire
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. annieL

    If Huntsman had a Republican Party worthy of him, I might consider voting Republican for the first time in my life. Unfortunately for him and many voters, he doesn't. Fortunately for President Obama, Huntsman cannot get the Tea Party nomination. But I look forward to hearing more from THIS Republican.

    May 21, 2011 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  2. Conserve This Union

    We need a real republican not this RINO.

    May 21, 2011 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  3. Tick-Tock

    Why vote for Obama lite when you can have the real thing. OBAMA 2012!

    May 22, 2011 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  4. FM

    He is talking about "civility"!!! to whom??? Unless he starts may be what he should call "No Any American Left Behind" and educate everybody first. Am afraid his good talk is falling on deaf ear.

    May 22, 2011 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  5. Bill from GA

    A lot of you commenters need to realize that the Huntsman is not the typical repug. Of course, that also means that he has little to NO chance of getting the nomination. That scumbag, newt, got called to the woodshed for agreeing with most Americans (on ONE issue) rather then the party line; no way the party will back Huntsman. And without repug propaganda behind you, how will the idiot voters know to vote for you?

    May 22, 2011 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  6. Sam

    I been googleing him around. Civilty is real good when your so intelligent that the other guy don't even see it. I have won more battles useing creative civility than screaming. He seems very down to earth without being uptight.

    May 22, 2011 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  7. Belingo

    He seems like a reasonable, likeable candidate who could work with both parties. In other words: he doesn't have a chance in the GOP primaries.

    May 22, 2011 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  8. The Greedy Old Pigs are trying to con America!

    With Daniels out, this will make Huntsman the new Great White Dope for the GOBP. Unfortunately he showed just how dopey he is by endorsing Ryan's attack on Medicare. Huntsman is the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing. He claims to be moderate and tries to appear to be moderate, yet he holds the same radically destructive views as the rightwing extremist birthbaggers.

    May 22, 2011 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
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