Obama Taps Utah Gov as China Envoy

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2009 7:39 AM CDT
Gov. Jon Huntsman signs the comprehensive liquor reform bill into law at Salt Lake City's New Yorker Club on Monday, March 30, 2009.   (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Paul Fraughton)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama will name Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., an up-and-coming Republican star, as his ambassador to China this morning, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. Huntsman will resign as governor to take the post. The popular Mormon speaks Mandarin Chinese, has an adopted Chinese daughter, along with six other children, and has led a trade mission to China. He served as an ambassador to Singapore under Bush I and a deputy trade representative under Bush II.

A widely-liked moderate, Huntsman was re-elected by a record margin, and currently boasts an 83% approval rating. He’s been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2012 or 2016, and should John McCain have won, he was rumored as a likely cabinet pick. During the election, his opponent questioned his willingness to serve a full term, to which Huntsman replied, “That's exactly what I intend to do.”