News / USA

Jon Huntsman - High School Dropout, Ambassador, US Presidential Candidate

Republican 2012 presidential candidate, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman says the Pledge of Allegiance at the Laconia Rotary luncheon in Laconia, New Hampshire, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011.
Republican 2012 presidential candidate, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman says the Pledge of Allegiance at the Laconia Rotary luncheon in Laconia, New Hampshire, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +

In the crowded race for the Republican presidential nomination, Jon Huntsman is a bit unconventional.

At a recent televised ABC News debate, the former governor of Utah expressed his exasperation with Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney's position about U.S.-China relations.

"He doesn't quite understand the situation," said Huntsman.

It was unusual because Huntsman first delivered the rebuke in Mandarin Chinese.

Life Overseas

Huntsman also speaks Taiwanese. They are languages the candidate, a Mormon, learned while on a two-year religious mission to Taiwan more than three decades ago. Since then, Huntsman has returned to Asia on diplomatic missions. He's been ambassador to Singapore, as well as a U.S. trade ambassador.

Most recently, Huntsman served as ambassador to China for President Barack Obama.  

Back in 2009, when President Barack Obama announced the appointment, he called Huntsman "the kind of leader who always puts country ahead of party."

Now that Huntsman is campaigning for president, Obama's praise is being used against the candidate.

Republican Rivals

Romney criticized Huntsman during the ABC News debate in New Hampshire earlier this month.  

"I'm sorry, Governor, you were, the last two years, implementing the policies of this administration in China," said Romney. "The rest of us on this stage were doing our best to get Republicans elected across the country and stop the policies of this president from being put forward."

The audience cheered when Huntsman fired back a day later at the NBC News/Facebook debate.

"He [Romney] criticized me - while he was out raising money - for serving my country in China," Huntsman rebutted. "Yes, under a Democrat. Like my two sons are doing in the United States Navy. They're not asking what political affiliation the president is. I want to be very clear with the people here in New Hampshire and this country: I will always put my country first."

"Country first" is a rallying cry among his supporters.

Trailing, On The Trail

Huntsman is trailing his fellow Republican candidates, despite his third place finish in the New Hampshire primary.  As of January 13, he is polling in the low single digits.

Jennifer Lawless, a professor at American University in Washington, explains why few voters have rallied around the candidate.

"Jon Huntsman is a new entity and people just haven't gotten to know him that well, which makes it difficult to raise money, which makes it difficult to get out there and get people to know you," says Lawless, author of the new book "Becoming A Candidate: Political Ambition and the Decision to Run for Office."

Huntsman is a 51-year-old father of seven, including daughters he adopted from China and India. He is a twice-elected governor of the conservative state of Utah, yet he believes in civil unions for homosexual couples. He has served as a governor and a diplomat, and he has also worked for his family's multi-billion-dollar chemical corporation. He graduated from an elite university, but only after he dropped out of high school to play keyboards in a band.

American University's Lawless said even voters who are somewhat familiar with Huntsman have not quite figured him out.

"It's difficult for voters to differentiate him from Mitt Romney and that's not only because they're both good-looking former governors," she explains. "It's because they're both perceived as far more moderate than they actually are."

And, in an age of partisanship, Huntsman's work for a Democratic administration helps and hinders his campaign to run against his former boss, President Obama.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid