A "blistering internal feud" threatens to cripple Jon Huntsman's GOP presidential campaign, just two weeks after the Republican's campaign manager called it quits, Politico reported Thursday. A longtime Huntsman friend, David Fischer, has now left the campaign, too, and accused Huntsman's controversial chief strategist, John Weaver, of abusively sidetracking Team Huntsman. While the candidate himself, who languishes near the bottom of the polls, is standing by Weaver, both Huntsman's wife and father are reportedly worried that the turmoil is damaging his prospects. Can the mild-mannered former Utah governor regain his mojo?
This is not a fatal blow: The backbiting makes Huntsman look "weak" and unprepared for the political big leagues, says John Ellis at Business Insider. But he shouldn't despair yet. Weaver is "framing" Huntsman's "candidacy as a head-to-head contest with Mitt Romney to be the winner of the 'grown-up' Republican primary." That could resonate with independents and moderates in New Hampshire's crucial early primary. If Huntsman does well there, watch out.
"The Huntsman campaign's dirty laundry"
But Huntsman is running out of time to fix things: Huntsman's campaign was "fatally flawed" even before his staff imploded, says Marc Caputo at The Miami Herald. "Huntsman is, essentially, a moderate-sounding Republican candidate in an election season that won't reward moderation." It's not too late to regain focus, "but with 1 percent of the Republican vote in Florida's latest poll, Huntsman is running out of time."
"Jon Huntsman's campaign imploding, fatally flawed"
And he's also running out of money: The backbiting is just the beginning of Huntsman's problems, says Jan Crawford at CBS News. His campaign also appears to be in financial trouble. "From the beginning, most assumed Huntsman could handle a slow start because he would tap into his personal fortune to keep things going," but Fischer says Huntsman won't be pumping any more of his own cash into the race. That's what should really terrify anyone who wants to see Huntsman in the White House.
"Is Jon Huntsman's campaign facing disaster?"