Obama's Ambassador Eyes 2012 Run Against Him

Jon Huntsman's DC home purchase may signal potential White House run

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 2, 2011 10:24 AM CST

(Newser) – Who's the moderate conservative, Mormon ex-governor making ripples in the 2012 presidential pool? Not Mitt Romney—meet Jon Huntsman, the former governor of Utah who President Obama appointed ambassador to China in 2009. The move, seen as an effort to neutralize the only potential rival who made Team Obama "a wee bit queasy," has done anything but: Huntsman recently bought a $3.6 million home in Washington, DC, and isn't shy about signaling he's giving 2012 a long look, reports Newsweek.

Huntsman won't confirm that he's taking on his boss, but he does say, "But we won’t do this forever, and I think we may have one final run left in our bones.” The billionaire businessman's son doesn't even register on GOP pollsters' radar, and would certainly face stiff competition from Romney in terms of support and campaign cash, but that could change quickly: "We’re a fire squad," says one former supporter, "if he says the word, we can get things going fast.”

U.S. special envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth, right, is followed by U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, left, as Bosworth prepares to read a statement to reporters before leaving a hotel in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010.
U.S. special envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth, right, is followed by U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, left, as Bosworth prepares to read a statement to reporters before leaving a hotel in...   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Jon Huntsman, U.S. ambassador to China, is considered by some Washington insiders to be the most serious challenge to President Obama in 2012.
Jon Huntsman, U.S. ambassador to China, is considered by some Washington insiders to be the most serious challenge to President Obama in 2012.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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