Apparently it is not too early to start speculating on the 2012 election. Ambassador (and returned missionary) to China, Jon Huntsman organized a visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday. Even the Wall Street Journal is curious about Huntsman’s presidential aspirations. Asked about Huntsman’s presidential aspirations,
“I’m sure that him having worked so well with me will be a great asset in any Republican primary,” said President Barack Obama, flashing a broad smile, as laughter broke out in the room. (Deseret News)
While Mitt definitely has more name recognition, there is speculation that Obama picked Huntsman as Chinese ambassador not only because he speaks fluent Chinese from having served as a missionary, but also to dampen Huntsman’s chances for a presidential bid. Mitt is known as a flip-flopper, but Huntsman has no such baggage and could be a more formidable opponent. On January 1, Huntsman hinted at a presidential run. Romney seems to be gearing up for a presidential run too.
Huntsman served as governor of Utah from 2005-2009. Both men are wildly popular in Utah. Romney won the Utah republican presidential primary in 2008 with 90% of the vote. Huntsman had an 80% approval rating while serving as governor, despite the fact (or because of–depending on your point of view) that he loosened up Utah’s restrictive liquor laws. A recent poll shows that Huntsman would easily beat Senator Orrin Hatch if he chose to run for Senate. So if Huntsman runs for president, will he split the Mormon vote with Romney? Who do you like?