One of the many challenges former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman faces moving forward (besides, of course, surviving after New Hampshire), is defending his public service record. During the GOP debate last Saturday, for example, Huntsman was criticized by Mitt Romney for accepting the ambassadorship to China from a Democratic president. As an Obama official, he argued, Huntsman was complicit in advocating the failed policies of the current administration. What’s more, his decision to resign – presumably to form an exploratory committee to run for president – was reprehensible since he was now actively campaigning to unseat his former boss.
As it happens, Huntsman persuasively defended himself against the aforementioned charges. His essential point, I think, was that despite the “political spin” from his Republican rivals, he was a grateful citizen willing to serve his country in any capacity possible. Huntsman compared his patriotism to that of his two sons who, despite the party affiliation of the commander-in-chief, serve honorably in the United States Navy. Unlike Romney, Huntsman implied that he was an atypical presidential candidate, one ready to transcend partisanship and restore America to its former greatness.
Indeed, this is perhaps Team Huntsman’s best spot yet – but will it be enough to energize his base and keep his candidacy alive? That question, of course, is for Granite State voters to decide tonight.
Via CBS News: