Frank James has a great piece on Jon Huntsman’s return in South Carolina:
The response to Huntsman in South Carolina over the weekend was intriguing. Huntsman was the University of South Carolina’s commencement speaker, giving a speech that contained, along with the obligatory advice for graduates, an implicit argument for why he might run for president. (“Our system needs new thinking. We need a fresh generation of innovators, leaders, risk takers, entrepreneurs, scientists, and activists — that’s you,” he told the graduates. But he might’ve had someone else in mind, too.)
Hunter’s commencement address also contained what will amount to his defense for taking a job in the Obama Administration. It came in his advice to the graduates to be patriots and serve their nation.
Of all the Republicans thought of as potential 2012 presidential candidates, Huntsman is the only one with foreign policy credentials, thanks to Obama naming him to be U.S. ambassador to China.
Since it’s thought the election will turn on domestic affairs, especially the economy, that may not prove as important as it might have in other presidential election cycles.
Still, it’s one thing that helps separate him from the pack.
Meanwhile, CNN reports:
Huntsman focused his remarks on his family, his tenure in China and his accomplishments as governor of Utah and received glowing reviews from several Republicans in the room, who spoke anonymously because they did not want to be named discussing a private meeting.
“The consensus was, ‘Holy crap this guy looks like a president,'” said one person who was there. “I have never seen anybody sweep into this state so quickly so fast and get as much accomplished in 48 hours as Huntsman has done.”
Huntsman is being advised by several veteran political operatives who managed Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008, but many of those at the meeting supported opposing candidates during the last presidential race, including Romney, Huckabee and former Sen. Fred Thompson.
Huntsman, it seems, managed to make a good impression among those still looking for a candidate to support in 2012.
“From my conversations with a few others in attendance and glances around the room, his remarks were well-received,” another Republican source told CNN. “One person who had never met him before remarked, ‘I liked him better than anyone I’ve seen.'”
It seems the one man the White House doesn’t want to face is gaining steam. I couldn’t be more thrilled.