FLAVOR OF THE WEEK – AT 7:41 A.M. ET: Next week the flavor will be rich, creamy Huntsman, as in Jon Huntsman, zillionaire businessman and former governor of Utah.
Very few people in America would recognize Huntsman walking down a street. That will change. But what will also change is indifference to him by the press and his opponents. Who is Jon Huntsman? From The Washington Examiner:
The lineup of candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination includes no one who can claim to be a moderate, but that will change next week when Jon Huntsman jumps into the race.
Huntsman, who was elected twice as governor of Utah and most recently served as President Obama's ambassador to China, plans to announce his presidential bid on Tuesday at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, with the Statue of Liberty towering behind him.
Huntsman chose the same spot where Ronald Reagan stood when he first announced his bid for the presidency more than three decades ago. Huntsman once served as an aide in the Reagan White House, but he is hardly a disciple of the late conservative icon. Huntsman is far more of a centrist on some social and environmental issues, which will distinguish him from the rest of the GOP field but will perhaps make his quest for the Republican nomination more difficult.
Yes, and the fact that he served as Obama's ambassador to China won't help him either. You can already hear the cry "RINO" (Republican in Name Only.)
And there's other trouble brewing. The opposition research has started. As The LA. Times reports, there are some issues that Huntsman will have to confront:
Bloomberg News has an item Wednesday detailing how Huntsman Corp., the company Huntsman's father founded and where Huntsman once worked as a top executive, raked in revenue in China during Huntsman's tenure there as President Obama's ambassador. China's economic might, and the issue of outsourcing jobs to Asia, promises to be a pressing topic during next year's campaign.
At the same time, the Associated Press reported that Huntsman Corp. recently paid $33 million to settle a price-fixing case -- while not admitting to any wrongdoing. While Huntsman worked for the chemical company during the period relevant to the lawsuit, the company said he wasn't involved in the suit in any way.
One of Huntsman's arguments for the GOP nomination will be his work in private enterprise as a job-creator. But the two articles illustrate the political risk that also comes with being associated so closely with an international conglomerate at a time when many Americans are struggling economically.
And like his rival Mitt Romney, Huntsman, by virtue of his family, has no up-by-the-bootstraps narrative to tell about a humble upbringing.
COMMENT: Welcome to national politics, Jon. I hope you haven't posted any photos on the internet.
June 16, 2011