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Is Jon Huntsman Obama's biggest 2012 rival?
Huntsman, a moderate Utah Republican, is on Obama's team as his ambassador to China — but Beltway gossip says that's about to change
 
Jon Huntsman resigned the Utah governorship in 2009 to become Obama's U.S. ambassador to China. Could the presidency be next?
Jon Huntsman resigned the Utah governorship in 2009 to become Obama's U.S. ambassador to China. Could the presidency be next?
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One of the most formidable threats to President Obama's 2012 re-election bid could come from within his own administration, says McKay Coppins in Newsweek. In 2008, former Utah governor Jon Huntsman was considered a rising star in the Republican Party and a likely presidential candidate. Then Obama appointed him as his ambassador to China in what some political strategists saw as a crafty way to sideline a potential rival. But now Huntsman is reportedly discussing a possible presidential run with advisers, and coyly refusing to rule out a 2012 campaign. Could Huntsman be the GOP's best bet to unseat Obama? (Watch Obama's appointment of Huntsman)

Nonsense. Huntsman would be toast in the primaries: This kind of speculation is fun, says James Fallows in The Atlantic, but it doesn't pass the "are you kidding?" test. The challenging party always accuses an incumbent president of ruining the country. After serving the president loyally, with no open disagreements, for so long, Hunstman won't be able to "out-anti-Obama" anyone. Sorry, but "Huntsman 2012" defies the "basic laws of politics and common sense."
"Oh calm down ('Huntsman 2012' Dept.)"

Conservatives should at least consider him: "Republicans know Barack Obama is vulnerable in '12," says Taylor Marsh in her blog, "but they've got no one in their roster right now who can come close to doing the job." Sure, Huntsman "won't be a favorite among the feverish primary crowd," and he might be a better candidate for 2016. But it will take a "heavyweight" to defeat Obama, and, if Sarah Palin doesn't run, Huntsman fits the bill better than "the gang of Tea Party politicians" who will be trying to fill the void.
"Tina Brown's Newsweek tease: Huntsman in '12?"

Huntsman could be just what the GOP needs: "Huntsman might be exactly the 'Stop Sarah Palin' candidate Republican leaders are seeking," say the editors of The Australian. If the angry base wins the nomination for someone like Palin, polls suggest Obama will cruise to a landslide win. Huntsman is a moderate who can appeal to swing voters, yet he is a "fiscal conservative" and proven deficit hawk Tea Partiers should respect. No wonder Obama campaign manager David Plouffe once said Huntsman was the only Republican who made him a "wee bit queasy" about 2012.
"Republican envoy in line for tilt at Obama"

 

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