Huntsman to Launch Campaign With Biography and Style Up Front
Jon Huntsman plans to declare his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday. Photo by Tom Williams/Roll Call.
One truism of American presidential politics is that biography is not destiny.
But biography is a key gateway for a huge swath of voters to decide whether or not a candidate is worth giving a hearing.
With that in mind and although barely registering in most polls, Jon Huntsman, the former governor of Utah and ambassador to China for President Obama, plans to declare his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination at 10 a.m. EDT in Liberty State Park in New Jersey with the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop.
After releasing a week’s worth of eye-catching videos hinting at biographical details, Huntsman will begin to introduce his story and his style to the Republican nominating electorate and, more broadly, to the American people at large.
Fred Davis, the creative ad man behind the visuals, has put together a string of videos on the newly launched Jon2012.com to accompany Tuesday’s announcement. The most prominent of those videos is the five-minute biographical sketch that describes Huntsman’s upbringing, his wife (“the salad girl who stole his heart”) and his seven children.
But none of that is likely to ease Huntsman’s path to the nomination. He’s still going to have to find a way to get conservative Republican activists — the folks who tend to show up in primaries and caucuses — to warm to a stimulus-embracing, gay-civil-union-advocating, former-cap-and-trade-proponent who just left the Obama administration.
The Huntsman Rationale:
“For the first time in our history, we are about to pass down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive and less confident than the one we got,” Huntsman plans to say in his announcement speech, according to excerpts released by his campaign.
“This is totally unacceptable and totally un-American.
“And it NEED not, MUST not, WILL not be our permanent condition. We will not be the first American generation that lets down the next generation.”
The Huntsman Style:
“I don’t think you need to run down anyone’s reputation to run for President. Of course we’ll have our disagreements. I respect my fellow Republican candidates. And I respect the President. He and I have a difference of opinion on how to help the country we both love. But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is who will be the better President; not who’s the better American,” he plans to say.
Because of his potential fund-raising prowess, potential attraction to independent voters and impressive resume, Huntsman is getting a very serious look from the press and many in the GOP establishment.
His challenge now is to move from flavor of the month to serious contender. That work begins, in earnest, Tuesday.
Democrats won May’s money race as the party’s three campaign committees combined to raise $18.4 million, besting their Republican counterparts by $4.5 million.
The leader of the pack was the Democratic National Committee, which hauled in $10.5 million dollars last month, due in large part to the $6.5 million raised for a joint fund with President Obama’s re-election campaign, dubbed the Obama Victory Fund.
The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, raised $6.2 million in May.
The DNC ended the month with $16.5 million cash-on-hand, while the RNC held $6.1 million. On the other side of the ledger, the DNC finished the month with $13.5 million in debt, while the RNC was $18.5 million in the red, down from $24 million when Reince Priebus replaced Michael Steele as chairman earlier this year.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also won the month of May, raising $4.1 million, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee brought in $3.1 million.
The DSCC finished the month with $7.8 million in the bank compared to $1.8 million for the NRSC, which did, however, become the first of the six campaign committees to get rid of its debts from the 2010 cycle.
The Republicans were victorious on the House side in May, as the National Republican Congressional Committee out-raised the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $4.6 million to $3.8 million.
The NRCC also ended the month with twice as much cash-on-hand, $10.6 million to $5.3 million. The DCCC had slightly less debt, however, with $6.6 million versus $7 million for the NRCC.
THE TALKS GO ON
Speaking of fund-raising, Vice President Joe Biden will head to Chicago on Tuesday to lighten the pockets of Democratic supporters, but not before meeting with lawmakers to continue work on a framework to lighten the deficit burden on the country.
The session is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. EDT on Capitol Hill with additional meetings planned for Wednesday and Thursday.
The Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery takes note of the accelerated schedule and reports that some lawmakers are concerned about the progress being made in the talks.
“Over the next six weeks, negotiators must strike a bipartisan compromise to slice more than $2 trillion from the federal budget by 2021, reduce the complex plan to writing and persuade a bitterly divided Congress to support it.
“But one or both chambers is due to be on break for three of those weeks. And when Congress last reached a big debt-reduction deal, it took more than a month just to draft the legislation. That leaves little room for chance — or last-minute negotiating to marshal votes for what is likely to be a politically difficult package of unprecedented cuts to long-
sacrosanct federal programs.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told Jim Lehrer on Friday’s PBS NewsHour that the negotiators should work through any recesses, whether one or both houses of Congress are on break.
THE GARDEN STATE GUY’S GUY
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wakes up Tuesday morning to the lowest approval ratings of his term, according to Quinnipiac University’s latest survey of Garden State voters.
It appears that women voters are dragging the Republican down:
“Women disapprove of the job Gov. Christie is doing 54 – 36 percent, while men approve 53 – 39 percent, a 17-point gender gap….
“While voters dislike Christie’s policies by a narrow 49 – 45 percent, they like him as a person 49 – 33 percent. Men like him 58 – 25 percent while women split 41 – 40 percent.”
The silver lining for Christie is that he’s scoring far better grades than some of his fellow conservative governors who have recently taken the reins at the statehouse. In Quinnipiac’s most recent surveys in Florida and Ohio, Gov. Rick Scott had a 29 percent approval rating and Gov. John Kasich was at 38 percent.
Gov. Christie has made it clear that he wants to be a national player in the Republican Party, but he continues to reject entreaties to draw him into the 2012 presidential race.
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