The new Huntsman campaign will go from here to New Hampshire on a kick-off tour, trying to build some publicity and momentum. Huntsman begins the campaign pretty far down in the polls, without much name recognition and the stigma that he worked as ambassador to China for the Obama Administration. Huntsman has built up some credibility amongst the "GOP beltway crowd," which can also be seen as either a good or a bad thing.
Time will tell if Huntsman is able to capture substantial support and energy. In New Hampshire, he's going into Mitt Romney's backyard to try to build some buzz.
His announcement speech today focuses on federal debt and deficit issues, and he takes care to say that he respects President Obama. Here are some key excerpts from his prepared remarks:
For the first time in our history, we are about to pass down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive and less confident than the one we got.
This is totally unacceptable and totally un-American.
[W]e must make hard decisions that are necessary to avert disaster. If we don’t, in less than a decade, every dollar of federal revenue will go to covering the costs of Medicare, Social Security and interest payments on our debt. Meanwhile, we'll sink deeper in debt to pay for everything else – from national security to disaster relief.Our country will fall behind the productivity of other countries. Our influence in the world will wane. Our security will be more precarious. The 21st Century then will be known as the end of the American Century. We can’t accept this, and we won’t.
I don’t think you need to run down anyone’s reputation to run for President. Of course we'll have our disagreements. I respect my fellow Republican candidates. And I respect the President. He and I have a difference of opinion on how to help the country we both love. But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is who will be the better President; not who’s the better American.