Everyone agrees that Jon Huntsman is returning from China to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. What may be more difficult to determine is why. The Daily Caller reprints two letters from Ambassador Huntsman to his former boss extolling the executive’s virtues, including his status as “a remarkable leader,” his “experience,” and “brilliant analysis of world events.” With a President like the one Huntsman describes already in office, why bother challenging him?
Jon Huntsman, President Obama’s outgoing ambassador to China, is considering running against his boss in 2012 as a Republican.
But two handwritten letters from Huntsman obtained by The Daily Caller raise the question of why he’s not campaigning for Obama instead.
“You are a remarkable leader,” Huntsman wrote to Obama in an Aug. 16, 2009 note, underlining the word “remarkable,” “and it has been a great honor getting to know you.”
Click over to read the letters in their entirety to get a sense of just how obsequious Huntsman got in buttering up the boss. His efforts at blowing sunshine even got directed to Bill Clinton’s skirt in a missives addressed to the former President. Huntsman wrote that Hillary Clinton is “well-read, personable, and has even more charisma than her husband!” And yes, the exclamation point is a direct quote.
Hunstman’s team told the Daily Caller that the leaked letters show just how much the administration fears a Huntsman bid, but I suspect that Huntsman might have guessed wrong about the source. If Huntsman does run for the nomination, he’ll probably focus on attacking Obama’s foreign policy, which means attacking Hillary either directly or indirectly. This looks like an attempt to blunt the impact of Huntsman’s criticisms, as well as some payback for laying the groundwork of a presidential bid while still serving in the Obama administration. If they really feared Huntsman, they would have leaked this in December, not April.
Huntsman doesn’t have much of a chance in this cycle anyway, but the letters don’t add up to a boost in confidence that Huntsman would provide any sharp change in direction from his boss.