Politics

01.16.12

The Jon Huntsman Fallout

Calling his campaign 'the longest of long shots,' Jon Huntsman officially quit and endorsed Romney. Michael Tomasky, Patricia Murphy, and more on what went wrong.

No Tears for Huntsman
By Michael Tomasky

First of all, he’s worth many millions of dollars, so he needs no one’s sympathy. Secondly, he made his own bed. And third, even though he lost the voting contest, he did very well indeed in the media contest and is nicely positioned to have another go in 2016. He’ll have some explaining to do to The State, South Carolina’s flagship newspaper, which just endorsed him Sunday. (Whether The State will re-endorse between now and Saturday is suddenly kind of an interesting question.) But he’ll be the media favorite from jump street.

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Huntsman’s Terminal Dullness
By Patricia Murphy

On paper, a GOP presidential hopeful doesn’t get much better than Jon Huntsman. A western governor with significant foreign policy experience, pockets deep enough to finance several campaigns, a gorgeous family out of the pages of Vogue (literally), two sons in the Navy…stop me when you’ve heard enough.

But the perfect-on-paper candidate never caught fire within the GOP.  The first, and most obvious problem with Huntsman was that he was just dull—on a debate stage, a campaign rally or nearly any other venue.  The most memorable details of his campaign kickoff in front of the Statue of Liberty were the fact that it was in front of the Statue of Liberty and that his staff spelled his name wrong on his campaign materials.  What did he say in his speech? Who knows?

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Why Huntsman Is History
By Howard Kurtz

I’ve rarely seen a politician get less traction than Jon Huntsman.

He was close to invisible in this presidential race, except for all the media fawning. Huntsman’s decision to drop out Monday wasn’t much of a surprise, except for the fact that it came six days after he loudly announced that New Hampshire had given him a “ticket to ride”—this after a weak third-place finish. Unlike the Beatles song, it didn’t last long, not even until the South Carolina voting this Saturday.

Huntsman says he wants to back the Republican with the best chance of beating Barack Obama—that would be Mitt Romney—but I suspect he also wants to spare himself further embarrassment.

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Farewell, Huntsman Hotties!
By Michelle Cottle

Huntsman is a lovely person, and there is every reason to believe he could make a fine presidential candidate one day. Just not today. Or any time this cycle, for that matter. Third in New Hampshire after all that work and money and all those one-liners? Clearly he lacks some fundamental spark necessary to get voters fired up.

His daughters on the other hand…

How much drabber, duller, and more tedious this race will be without those daffy Huntsman Girls. With their YouTube videos, song parodies, and television sitdowns, the trio of comely 20-somethings—Mary Anne, Abby, and Liddy—had the perfect sensibility for modern politics: sharp, ironic, and just a touch subversive. They knew how to call bullshit on something as cornball as Herman Cain’s smoking-man ad without being moralistic or heavy handed or scolding. Fake mustaches and bubble wands—what could be more perfect?

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huntsman-daughters-goodbye-cottle
What will we miss most about Jon Huntsman? His daughters, that’s what. They brought a level of flash and fun his campaign could never match. (Phelan Ebenehack / Reuters)