COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) â€” Republican Jon Huntsman, weighing a White House bid, used his first formal event after stepping down as President Barack Obamaâ€™s ambassador to China to confront the line on his resume that conservatives were most likely to declare a deal-breaker.
In a high-profile speech to the University of South Carolina, the former Utah governor said patriotism should trump partisanship and defended his two years in Beijing as the Democratic administrationâ€™s top diplomat.
â€œWork to keep America great. Serve her if asked. I was â€” by a president of a different political party,â€ Huntsman said, directly addressing the job that his rivals and critics hope to make disqualifier among the conservatives who hold great sway in the nominating process.
â€œBut in the end, while we might not all be of one party, we are all part of one nation â€” a nation that needs your generational gift, energy and confidence,â€ he told graduates, pitching himself as an above-politics figure and appealing to voters who have grown weary of political bickering.
Obama named Huntsman, a Mandarin speaker and former Mormon missionary to Taiwan, his representative in Beijing two years ago. Many believed Obama was sending a rising star in Republican politics â€” and a potential challenger in 2012 â€” to China to neutralize the threat.
If that was the goal, it didnâ€™t work.
To read more, visit: Â http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/may/7/huntsman-addresses-his-obama-role-sc-speech/
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