Departing Huntsman Scolds Rivals
Admits there's a 'gap' between him and Romney
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2012 10:41 AM CST
Republican presidential candidate former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman descends stairs during an event at Virginia's on King restaurant, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012, in Charleston, SC.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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(Newser) – Jon Huntsman ended his run for president the same way he began it: by decrying negative campaigning. In a speech announcing the suspension of his campaign today, Huntsman scolded his rivals for the tone of the race. "Our common goal is to restore bold and principled leadership to the White House," he said. But "rather than seeking to advance that common goal … this race has degenerated into an onslaught of negative and personal attacks not worthy of the American people."

He urged Republicans to change course and unite the country. "Three years ago, the president promised to unite the American people. Yet his desire to engage in class warfare for political gain has left us more divided than ever," he said. Then he issued the most tentative endorsement of Mitt Romney possible, saying Republicans must rally "around the candidate best-equipped to defeat Barack Obama. Despite our differences and the space between us on some of the issues, I believe that candidate is Gov. Mitt Romney." (Romney, who was notably absent, has issued an equally bland response.) Click for more on why Huntsman is endorsing Romney and how pundits are reacting.