Education: B.A. in international politics from University of Pennsylvania.
Professional: Executive the Huntsman Corporation and the Huntsman Cancer Foundation and CEO of the Huntsman Family Holdings Company.
Family: Married with seven children.
Political: White House staff assistant under President Ronald Reagan, deputy assistant Secretary of Commerce for trade development and U.S. Ambassador to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush, Deputy United States trade representative under George W. Bush, U.S. Ambassador to China under President Barack Obama. Governor of Utah 2005-2009.
State of residence: He owns a home in Washington, D.C., but remains registered to vote in Utah, where he hasn’t lived in more than two years.
Campaign website: http://www.jon2012.com/
Huntsman was extremely popular as Governor of Utah, with his approval ratings hitting 90 percent at several points in his Administration, which was noted for its tax reform agenda. Those tax reforms included $110 million in income tax cuts, and a statewide flat income tax rate. His reforms slashed sales and food taxes and provided tax credits aimed at attracting new business development. The Cato Institute ranked Utah top in the nation for tax policy after Huntsman’s reforms kicked in.
He is staunchly pro-life, and may be the most accomplished executive of the pro-life cause, according to Michael Brendan Dougherty of The American Conservative.
“He signed bills banning second-trimester abortions, reclassifying third-trimester abortions as a third-degree felony, and requiring abortion providers to explain the pain unborn children can experience during abortion. He signed a trigger law that would ban abortion outright if Roe is overturned. He opposes embryonic stem-cell research. And by establishing a state legal fund to defend these laws, he showed willingness to uphold state prerogatives,” Dougherty writes.
He also eased restrictions on gun ownership by abolishing some concealed-carry restrictions and signed a bill that would grant small-game hunting licenses to children under 12.
But some of his other stances are anything but conservative, and he seems to be attempting to cast himself as a moderate.
He supports gay civil unions and, as Governor, supported cap and trade as a way of reducing so-called “greenhouse” emissions. He also claims to believe in evolution, yet says it’s part of God’s plan. “Call me crazy,” he said. OK, consider it done.
He has praised President Richard Nixon’s creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and he supports amnesty for illegal aliens and the DREAM Act. He opposes border fences and opposed the efforts of Utah legislators to overturn State laws that allow illegal aliens to pay in-state tuition. Essentially, his stance on illegal immigration mirrors that of his former boss, Obama.
He calls himself a Republican, but then so does John McCain, and we know how that has turned out. In fact, Huntsman is trying the McCain campaign model, I guess because it worked so well the last time. He’s hired most of McCain’s former staff to conduct his campaign. He even vowed early on to take the “high road” and not be critical of his opponents, à la McCain style.
If the adage that you can tell who a man is by the company he keeps is true, then the fact that he’s surrounded himself with McCainites should tell you all you need to know about him.
He is also Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) favorite Mormon in the GOP race. That endorsement, coupled with his service as Obama’s Ambassador to China and the praise he has uttered for Obama as “a remarkable leader,” probably doomed his candidacy.
As his campaign has failed to gain traction, Huntsman has gone more on the offensive, criticizing Perry’s choice of words on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and mocking Bachmann over her promise to bring gas prices back below $2 per gallon. “But, like a light switch being flipped, his behavior over the next 24 hours suggested that being on the offensive doesn’t come entirely natural to him. On Monday, back to sounding genial and inclusive, he told CNN that he would be willing to serve as Bachmann’s running mate if she won the nomination,” according to an article in The Washington Post.
Huntsman has said he believes mankind is responsible for climate change. “I’m not a meteorologist,” Huntsman told Time magazine. “All I know is 90 percent of the scientists say climate change is occurring. If 90 percent of the oncological community said something was causing cancer we’d listen to them. I respect science and the professionals behind the science so I tend to think it’s better left to the science community – though we can debate what that means for the energy and transportation sectors.”
However, in an interview with Fox News in June, Huntsman seemed to be trying to back away from his past support of cap and trade.
So who is Jon Huntsman? It’s really tough to say.