Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) - Despite his ranking in the polls and the first primary just over two months away, bottom-tier GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman believes time is on his side.
On a three-day campaign swing through the first Southern primary state, the former ambassador and Utah governor was asked if he has enough time to make up ground. Huntsman alluded to Herman Cain's recent troubles and the inherent fluidity of a primary race.
"The way politics plays out these days, with all the modes of communication things can turn in 48 hours, and I say we've got an eternity left when you look at today through the end of the year and then beyond into January," said Huntsman Thursday in Myrtle Beach. "We have plenty of time, no question about it."
At a later stop, Huntsman was asked about the Cain allegations and he said, "He's the only one who can answer the charges against him." He added his concern that the issue is taking "a lot of bandwidth out of our discussion about this country" and looks forward to getting back to talking "about the issues that really do matter."
Huntsman is banking on a strong showing in New Hampshire, where he's spending most of his time these days, to propel him to the top of the GOP presidential field.
Speaking in the last two days to Sun City retirees in Bluffton, students in Charleston, to GOP party faithful in Myrtle Beach and another college community in the Upstate, Huntsman's stump speech includes lines about the "circus-like atmosphere" of the race and getting whiplash from watching candidates rise and fall in the polls.
Huntsman frequently says he's aiming for a "steady substantive rise based on good ideas" over the next two months. Without a spike it'll be a challenge for the presidential hopeful to get the media attention needed to raise his profile and donations to help keep his campaign afloat.
This is his sixth and longest South Carolina visit. With less than three months to go until votes are cast here, Huntsman is still introducing himself to voters. People often don't recognize him when he shows up to places unannounced, like Thursday when he stopped for barbecue at Palmetto Pig in Columbia, or last month when he shook hands with throngs of football fanatics at the Clemson and South Carolina games.
The nomination is still up for grabs. The latest CNN/TIME/ORC poll, over half of the Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters surveyed in the Palmetto State might change their mind between now and the election, and 14 percent are unsure or don't have a first choice.
Huntsman believes his stats will improve once the election gets closer and voters ask themselves, "I really have to cast a vote, therefore of the people running for president who actually can do the job? Who actually has the background, the temperament, the leadership ability to bring people together?"
"I believe when that analysis is done you don't have a whole lot of people to choose from," Huntsman said Wednesday in Bluffton. "I like our chances."
Huntsman wraps up his visit Friday morning in the Upstate with a York County GOP/Winthrop presidential lecture series town hall at Winthrop University in Rock Hill.