WaPo: Huntsman Insists on NOT Demonizing Obama
When running against your former boss, it is somewhat difficult to completely debase him, as is the status quo for every other GOP Presidential candidate so far this season. Jon Huntsman seems to have taken a slightly different approach, as WaPo notes here:
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman says he will run a campaign that is based on who would be a better president, not who is a better American.
A critical question will be how Huntsman chooses to articulate his relationship with Obama, and their differences. With others in the GOP field competing to be the loudest critic of the president, Huntsman has limited his criticism so far mostly to the president’s approach to foreign policy and the economy.
In his announcement speech, Huntsman alluded to Obama’s 2008 campaign theme by saying the nation needed “leadership that knows we need more than hope, leadership that knows we need answers.”
Obama aides are casting Huntsman, who was appointed ambassador by Obama in May 2009, as a changed man.
“He was encouraging on health care; he was encouraging on the whole range of issues,” said Obama strategist David Axelrod, in a CNN interview. “And if he had suggestions on the economy, he had an excellent opportunity to suggest them, when we were all together in China.”
In his speech, Huntsman said he intends to keep his criticism respectful, steering clear of “corrosive” hyperpartisan debate.
“We will conduct this campaign on the high road,” Huntsman said. “I don’t think you need to run down someone’s reputation to run for president.”
As much as I look forward to hearing this kind of respect coming from someone I have no negative predisposition towards, there are really only two outcomes I can imagine that would stem from this. The first (optimistic) result would be that the overall rhetoric from all candidates would be shifted toward this style of talk and the GOP contenders could actually hash out issues and present a real debate to Obama. In this case, he could be viewed as a reasonable alternative to Romney. The second, and far more likely outcome, is that people will only his unwillingess to deride Obama as a T-Paw style weakness for not being a bombastic hot-head and reject him as a candidate.
I look forward to seeing more from Huntsman, who, by the way, is not a wizard.