For 2012 Hopeful, Envoy Job in China Was a Useful Detour

Jon Huntsman is expected to announce his official candidacy for the U.S. 2012 Presidential Election on Tuesday, and the media is focusing on his recently-completed tour as Ambassador to China when introducing him to the American public. From the New York Times: Mr. Obama’s decision to name Mr. Huntsman his ambassador to China in 2009 was hailed by members of both parties as another act of political wizardry, a chance to show that the president was trying to infuse his administration with a bipartisan spirit. The president’s aides had by then identified Mr. Huntsman, a rising star of the Republican Party, as a potentially strong opponent in 2012. And Mr. Obama’s team basked in accolades among political strategists for taking Mr. Huntsman out of the mix and packing him off some 7,000 miles away. Mr. Huntsman’s time in China has indeed created a potential roadblock for his campaign; Mr. Obama has teased him publicly about how his service in the administration will play among the Republican faithful. But in some ways it has proved to be a help. It has bolstered his position as the only candidate in a field dominated by former governors to have direct foreign policy experience. And it put him in proximity to some of the nation’s leading chief executives — and potential campaign donors and fund-raisers — as they sought assistance in doing business with China. See also: “Huntsman’s path to White House starts in China” from MSNBC. A report from Bloomberg looks at expansion in China of his family’s company, Huntsman Corp, which could be a potential roadblock to his nomination: Huntsman Corp.’s revenue in China surged 57 percent from 2009 to 2010 during his ambassadorship, almost two decades after its entrance there, data compiled by Bloomberg shows. Its expansion in the world’s second-largest ...
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