Huntsman distances from Obama
May 31st, 2011
12:26 PM ET
11 years ago

Huntsman distances from Obama

(CNN) - Potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman used an interview published Tuesday to clarify how close he is with President Obama, his former boss.

"We don't have a personal relationship," Huntsman, who served as U.S. ambassador to China under Obama, told Real Clear Politics. "I was asked to do a sensitive job, but it's not like it was based on a personal relationship."

President Obama and his aides have used the relationship to publically jab Huntsman while he mulls a run for the White House and the former Utah governor has said he was simply serving his country.

But in the same interview Huntsman criticized the president's economic agenda.

"We have no pro-growth policies," Huntsman said. "When was the last time we had a free-trade agreement?"

"I think he's a good man, and he's tried his best," Huntsman added.

The press has continually pressed him about his relationship with Obama, which might explain his picks for Republicans he "admires most," Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Huntsman said he admired Ryan's ability to find solutions and Huckabee for connecting to voters in a heartfelt way.

- On Monday, June 13, CNN will host the first New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate, live from Manchester, NH at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

Filed under: 2012 • Jon Huntsman • President Obama
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Huntsman in 2009 – "[President Obama is] a REMARKABLE leader".

    I agree, Jon.

    May 31, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. janetlaw

    God forbid you should COMPLIMENT or PRAISE your former boss for things you thought he did well – you'd get drummed out of the Republican Party if you did. Most of us would respect you more if you did, but you all act like screaming babies, so no respect here!

    May 31, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. P.G

    Don't you dare admit a GOP weakness such as working together with a Democrat. Loser.

    May 31, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    Huntsman own it and move on, if you want the Republican nomination. Act like a leader instead of a member of the GOP 2012 Circus!

    May 31, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. PalmReader

    "and the former Utah governor has said he was simply serving his country."

    Sure, Jon. If your family business wasn't all over the globe, maybe, just maybe, I'd believe you. Unfortunately for you, China and job opportunities seem to go hand in hand within the Huntsman Chemical (Global) Corporation, of which your own massive fortune receives its annual funding from, yes?

    May 31, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  6. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    Based on Huntsman, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are the best candidates in the Republican Party....Huntsman even considers himself as second choice!

    May 31, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. Marcelo - Los Angeles

    Didn't this guy once call Obama a remarkable leader? Huntsman you're a funny man. Good to see that your willing to stab people in the back...reminds me of Palin.

    May 31, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. David Welliver

    A lot has happened since 2009 Mr. Anonymous......mostly bad things.

    May 31, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. jmr49

    Sad. Just sad. So what's next, you gonna dis him for hiring you...and call that a mistaken policy decision too? Do you GOP types really believe you are going move this country forward when you can do NOTHING but be disrepecful and negative?

    May 31, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. Sandra, Atl

    Another Palin but worse. At least she is consistent that everything the President does is evil, wrong, or stupid. I don't think anyone can beat her ego not even this hypocrit.

    May 31, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. Larry L

    Loyalty must be yet another character trait Republicans don't require in their candidates. This guy will be firing up the old swift boat along with all of the other GOP wackos.

    May 31, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. DA

    I can only say maybe he and Romney on a GOP ticket, and you can pick which looser you want be the top man because neither one of them will be able to beat the President. People want to blame the President for all that is going on in this country, however people need to target their Senators and Congressional Rep that have been in office too long and do nothing, but bicker, fight, and work for their own political interest and not the country.

    May 31, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Too bad the hard right is calling the shots in the Republican Party. They will tear Amb. Huntsman apart on his record. I am surprised to see him jump into this race. It seems anyone with good sense enough to know how to win a Presidential election (that means campaigning from the center) knows that the current Republican Party is much to hard right to win both the nomination and the general election. A candidate must either make himself into the rabid beast that the hard right wants, or allow himself to be politically destroyed by those wanting to become the beast. It is a no win scenario. Smart candidates are staying out of this campaign.

    May 31, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. libsrretards

    i'd distance myself from the goof ball to.

    May 31, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. America Above Party

    Party loyalty was extremely strong as long as it is for Repugs. If Ragan was a teflon (nothing bad ever stick) they have unfairly made Obama super Velcro (everything stick). Hang in there Mr. President, you continue to make Repugs small–to the point of irrelevant soon.

    May 31, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. Randy, San Francisco

    Huntsman's message will not get out because Palin is dominating the media attention. Palin is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Serious GOP/Tea Party candidates will lose precious time getting their campaign message out until Palin makes a decision.

    May 31, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    If Ryan decides to run, will Mr. Huntsman, say, oh well I was not personally endorsing Rep Ryan because we did not have a personal relationship........Oh, Mr. Huntsman.

    May 31, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. FM

    Huntsman seems he does not know where he belongs. Did he realise that there was not a "free-trade agreement" after his assignment as Ambassador in China was over? The more he talks, the more he complicates things!

    May 31, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. gt

    this guy is the dark horse .. smart.. watch him...

    May 31, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  20. Gina

    I like the man, I like his wife, and adore his father – Jon Huntsman Sr, one of the largest phalanthropists on this planet (see Huntsman Cancer Institute). The world is a global place – time for USA to enjoy this aspect of moving forward into the 21st century. As a many-generation American, I'm ready. Jon Huntsman Jr speaks fluent Mandarin – and China's our largest trading partner. Might as well ditch the Obama teleprompters and get a fluent 21st century President on the job. Voting for Huntsman!

    May 31, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  21. once upon a horse

    as Ceaser said....e tu Brute?

    May 31, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    David Welliver wrote:
    A lot has happened since 2009 Mr. Anonymous......mostly bad things.
    Actually the quote is from 2010, rougly about one year ago.

    May 31, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. Laverne

    This guy would never get my vote, not because he is a republican, but a disloyal person. There is no way he will be able to run against Obama or debate him without using this time as ambassador to China. People will have to decide about his character and his intentions.

    May 31, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. John

    President Obama Is Better than Any Republican or TEA PARTY have got all together. The only trouble he has Is the Republican, tea party don't want to work with him because of his skin color. That why the first two years of President Obama was In Office all they say was NO. And the American Tax Payer pay the Republican 174,000 or more a year for saying NO. They wasn't doing what we put them In Office to do. If the Republican want spending outs to rise the dept ceiling ,that let do away with there health care they have and have them pay for It them self. That should save a lot of money. I mean they make 174,000 a year or more, and they want to take health care away from people that make 12,000 or less away. Fair Is Fair

    May 31, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. Papasan

    The GOP's Right Wing Loonies & Tea Baggers hate Huntsman / Romney almost as much as they hate President Obama...

    May 31, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |