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A stand in NH: Huntsman's lacks strength

December 28. 2011 9:05PM

Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor running for the Republican presidential nomination, has staked his campaign on the New Hampshire primary. He has campaigned here almost nonstop since late summer. You can get some idea of how successful his campaign has been by the fact that we felt the need to identify him in the first sentence.

Huntsman's efforts have seen him rise in New Hampshire polls from the low single digits to the low double digits. He might have risen further by now if he'd given Granite Staters stronger reasons to support him.

In our conversations with Republican voters, activists and uncommitted operatives, the reaction to Huntsman can be summarized this way: We are not sure who this guy really is or what his message is.

Huntsman says he's a conservative, and on some issues such as tax policy, he's pretty good. But he constantly signals to moderates that he's really one of them when he goes in for global warming and a show-weakness foreign policy. He often comes across as saying what the audience wants to hear. The Daily Caller, a conservative publication in Washington, D.C., recently noticed the same phenomenon.

Huntsman had the right idea: Make a stand in New Hampshire. It would be working better if he'd made stronger stands on the issues, too.


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