Campaign road trip–Huntsman's 2012 race begins
June 21st, 2011
02:46 PM ET
10 years ago

Campaign road trip–Huntsman's 2012 race begins

Exeter, New Hampshire (CNN) – And he's off.

Moments after announcing his presidential bid on Tuesday, Jon Huntsman boarded a specially-chartered jet – along with a coterie of family, staffers and the traveling press corps – and headed to New Hampshire on his inaugural trip as a newly-minted candidate.

The Republican candidate is set to campaign in Exeter, his only post-announcement campaign stop for the day. Later Tuesday night, Huntsman will attend a fundraiser in New York City, campaign aides say. On Wednesday, he heads to South Carolina.

The 737 jet, emblazoned with Continental's name and logo, seemed an apt political metaphor for the well-traveled former U.S. ambassador to China and former Utah governor. On the plane, he sat in the first seat of the first row in what would typically be first class.

Clearly this was no typical flight.

Before takeoff, wife Mary Kaye Huntsman navigated her way past the crush of reporters crowding the narrow aisle.

"Everyone okay?" she asked members of the press either seated, munching sandwiches and chips or still trying to locate their assigned seats. "Thanks for coming," she added.

Other family members on board also sat near the front of the aircraft. An aide sent an email to reporters that all seven Huntsman children were with the family except one, "Jon III who had obligations at the Naval Academy."

Also spotted near the front, seat signs with "Mrs. Romney" and "John Romney" printed on them. Might either be related to fellow presidential candidate -and fellow Mormon- Mitt Romney?

No, Huntsman spokesman Jake Suski told CNN "They're donors," before later clarifying that they're "family friends."

In flight, Huntsman was interviewed by an ABC News crew, apparently the only outlet allowed a few moments with him on the 43-minute trip.

When asked how Huntsman was feeling on his first trip as a new candidate, Suski told CNN, "Energized and excited to get on the ground in the first-in-the-nation primary state."

- Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

Filed under: 2012 • Jon Huntsman
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. vet in texas

    Poor Hunstman, he's already being attacked by Limbaugh, and the gold buyers will follow his every word. Unfortunately, listening to Limbaugh will only guarantee his success, not the success of the conservative listeners. Comparing his speech today with Reagan's in 1980 attacking Carter. With this election, you can't blame Obama strictly on the 14 Trillion debt, without first blaming W for the 11 trillion Obama inherited. The difference between all the current candidates and Reagan is that they aren't as good actors reading lines as Reagan was. They will fail miserably because Obama inhereted from someone they rubber stamped every policy.

    June 21, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  2. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Don't know much about this unknown. But it strikes me that we can already predict that he will not be president. IF he is reasonable, analyses facts and not rightwing fairytales, is not totally driven by [R] dogma - he will be a RINO to the base and will never make it through the [R] primaries. On the other hand, IF he swerves to the right to placate the rightwing base, McCain style, he will swerve right off the presidential road. Must be tough on Huntsman to know that the make-up of your party dooms you to FAIL right off the bat.

    June 21, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Be careful Mr. Huntsman, Republicans prefer bimbos over Mormons.

    June 21, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    WOW Dominican Mama and Obama supporter! What have you to say about all of the ambassadorships that Obama filled with his large campaign donors???? I eagerly await your response....
    I normally do not like to engange those that take creative license with reality, but, exactly how much did Huntsman donate to Obama's campaign?
    And... ambassadorships need to be filled by EVERY administration. Are you suggesting that Obama should be held to yet ANOTHER different standard than previous Presidents?

    June 21, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |