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Huntsman misfires: Is he even aiming?

The day after New Hampshire&#';s first presidential primary debate of the 2012 race, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman announced that he&#';s going to announce his candidacy for President. If Adrian Gonzalez had Huntsman&#';s sense of timing, he&#';d lead the American League in strikeouts instead of batting average, hits and RBI.

Huntsman spent a full weekend in New Hampshire before Monday night&#';s debate. To his credit, he did a lot of retail politics and even visited Bike Week in the rain. We were not alone last week in questioning his decision to skip the first 2012 presidential debate in the first-in-the-nation primary state, especially since he was already in the state. That decision is all the more puzzling now that Huntsman has announced his intention to run for the Republican nomination.

Did he watch the debate and then decide to get into the race? Or had he already decided to run, but to skip the debate for strategic purposes? Either way, he missed a great opportunity to do three very important things: 1) introduce himself to a statewide and national audience that surely will be bigger than the audience for his solo announcement; 2) distinguish himself from the pack; 3) launch himself into the race with some serious forward momentum.

Gov. Huntsman seems to be a serious and accomplished man who could make a viable run at the nomination. It will be nice to have him in the race. It is unfortuante for him — and for the voters — that he waited until after the game began before he decided to play.


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