The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Source: Obama Taps Utah's Huntsman for China Post

By Michael D. Shear
Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. (R) will be introduced Saturday as President Obama's choice as ambassador to China, a source familiar with the decision said tonight.

Huntsman, 48, had been mentioned this spring as a potential Republican contender for the White House in 2012, and Obama's former campaign manager recently suggested that he was a rising force in the GOP.

Several Salt Lake City media outlets reported tonight that Huntsman had accepted the offer to head the U.S. mission in Beijing, and that Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert would replace Huntsman as governor. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Huntsman was in Washington tonight, but that calls to his spokeswoman and various staffers were not returned.

Huntsman was elected in November to a second term as Utah's governor, drawing 70 percent of the vote. He served in the George W. Bush administration as deputy U.S. trade representative from 2001 to 2004 and, for President George H.W. Bush, was ambassador to Singapore from 1992 to 1994. He is an expert on China, and he speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently.

Huntsman has been getting political advice this year from national political consultants, helping to stoke rumors that Huntsman might be positioning himself for a run at Obama in 2012.

As governor, Huntsman has built an impressive record of economic recovery and growth. He has pushed for an overhaul of the state's health care system, and he has lobbied for his party to do more on the environment. He has also promoted in Utah, a state where Republicans dominate, the power of bipartisanship.

"Most Americans are fed up with the idea that partisanship has stood in the way of progress," Huntsman said in an interview late last year.

David Plouffe, who managed Obama's presidential campaign, had some complimentary things to say about the Utah governor in a U.S. News & World Report interview this month.

Plouffe told the magazine that Huntsman was "the one person in that party who might be a potential presidential candidate. ... He's really out there speaking a lot of truth about the direction of the party."

Our colleague Chris Cillizza wrote an in-depth profile of Huntsman last December for his blog The Fix.

Posted at 11:27 PM ET on May 15, 2009
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A very strategic move by the President. Whomever said he's not also good at playing chess.

While the 'noise' continues among the GOP rank and file, the Demcoratic party woos and walks aways with the cream. Whomever said politics is dull? Think again!

Posted by: Victoria5 | May 19, 2009 1:06 AM

Why isn't Huckleberry crying: "He's a MOOOORRRRMAAANNNN!"?

Oh, wait!

So is Hairy Reid!

While I could not agree more, that Huntsman is an excellent choice for this particular Job, and should be there even AFTER 2012;

he does not have the ability to produce things like:

Soooo, welcome to the Team when 2012 comes around Mr.Huntsman!

But please, let the Right Man be the Executive!

Posted by: SAINT---The | May 18, 2009 1:56 PM

@barber - My apologies. I'd scrolled down past your second comment and only responded to the first. Perhaps my reading needs a little work!


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 16, 2009 6:41 PM

@barber - Did you read the article?

- An expert on China and speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently.

- Former ambassador to Singapore from 1992 to 1994.

- Served as deputy U.S. trade representative from 2001 to 2004.

Yeah. We wouldn't want anyone as an ambassador who speaks (one of) the language(s). Or someone who was a trade representative to one of our biggest trading partners.. Let alone a former ambassador.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 16, 2009 6:31 PM

Jimmy Carter was popular on May 16, 1977 too.

Posted by: JakeD | May 16, 2009 6:08 PM

I am not sure what to make of this.

The conventional wisdom is that President Obama is taking out or co-opting a potential 2012 rival. But if Obama is popular in 2012 then Governor Huntsman would not have run. If Obama is vulnerable then Huntsman would get lost among more well known candidates.

Huntsman has impressive qualifications but they are many equally qualified Democrats that could fill this position.

I guess that this is another token effort at bipartisanship. Obama takes a job that he has little interest in and has little power and gives it to a Republican so Obama can say how bipartisan he is.

Posted by: danielhancock | May 16, 2009 2:07 PM

Marvelous. As neat a bit of political stick handling as Roosevelt's dealing with that idiot Kennedy (albeit in a different direction - Roosevelt had to get him OUT of England). Obama has, hopefully, shunted Huntsman off to China and out of the American media spotlight.

Posted by: ernestpayne | May 16, 2009 8:51 AM

And I'm sure that taking him out as a viable challenger in 2012 never crossed Obama's mind. All Hail, The One.

Posted by: JakeD | May 16, 2009 8:49 AM

Let the record show that Obama unhesitatingly selects a qualified man from the other party. How wonderful to have an adult in the White House.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 16, 2009 2:11 AM

never mind, I get it. "He is an expert on China, and he speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently."

Posted by: douglaslbarber | May 16, 2009 12:11 AM


And Huntsman's qualifications to serve as the USA's representative to China are?

Posted by: douglaslbarber | May 16, 2009 12:10 AM

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