A New Potential GOP Candidate?

I've never heard of Howard Huntsman, but Newsweek spends four pages on the former Republican Governor of Utah who Obama made Ambassador to China. He's back in DC and apparently contemplating a run for the GOP nomination.

He's a moderate, who believes the GOP needs to attract younger voters by hitting on three issues: immigration, gay rights and the environment.

Like Mitt Romney, he's a Mormon, which ordinarily would prompt concerns about whether they would be competing for the same supporters and donors. Huntsman doesn't have to worry about that.

Huntsman wouldn’t have much trouble financing the first leg of a presidential campaign on his own: his father, whose company invented the “clamshell” container for McDonald’s to package its Big Macs, is a billionaire.


What's so special about him? According to Newsweek:

As governor of the reddest state in the Union, Huntsman championed unpopular gay-rights legislation, updated the state’s culturally entrenched liquor laws, publicly endorsed cap-and-trade—and still left office with approval ratings above 80 percent. His supporters within the GOP hope he can do the same thing at the national level.

Newsweek says he shares a few things with Obama:

[T]hey share an appreciation for wonky policy discussion, they demonstrate similar impatience with inflexible ideologues, and they have both, at times, been heralded as visionaries within their respective parties.

The puff piece was written by a young Mormon reporter named McKay Copins. He answers critics here. Two years ago he was still a journalism major at Brigham Young. And neither here nor there, but he doesn't have kind words for independent bloggers.

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