Former Gov. Jon Huntsman Announces His Candidacy  ...1 of 5 >
June 21, 2011--Announcing his candidacy at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, with the Statue of Liberty in the background, former Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-UT) invoked the "promise of America" and vowed to conduct his campaign "on the high road."

"For the first time in history, we are passing down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive and less confident than the one we got," Huntsman said.  "We must reignite the powerful job-creating engine of our economy —the industry, innovation, reliability, and trailblazing genius of Americans and their enterprises—and restore confidence in our people," he declared.  [transcript]

In his speech, which lasted a bit less than 14 minutes, Huntsman recalled that, "President Reagan launched his 1980 general election campaign from this very spot."  Then too, Huntsman said, "It was a time of trouble, worry and difficulty."

After Huntsman finished his speech, his wife Mary Kaye and their seven children joined him on the platform.  He then did an interview with Sean Hannity before proceeding to Newark airport and a flight to his next stop, at Exeter Town Hall in New Hampshire.

Huntsman, 51, joins a field which already includes seven major candidates: Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN), former Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Gov. Gary Johnson (NM), Rep. Ron Paul (TX), former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (MN), perceived frontrunner former Gov. Mitt Romney (MA), and former Sen. Rick Santorum (PA).  Huntsman presents himself as new and fresh, and unlike some of the other candidates he has not been campaigning for the last two years.  Indeed he only finished his service as Ambassador to China at the end of April.  His ambassadorship, tenure as governor, and business experience place him in the top tier of the Republican field.  Huntsman's service as ambassador is both a plus and a minus; it gives him a perspective that none of the other candidates can offer, yet it also means he has served in the Obama administration, which will not recommend him to some Republicans.  Like Romney, Huntsman is a Mormon, which remains a problem for a small part of the electorate. 

In some respects Huntsman's campaign recalls Sen. John McCain's 2000 run for the White House; his campaign team includes veterans of McCain's 2000 and 2008 efforts, notably senior advisor John Weaver.  Huntsman was the first governor to endorse McCain's 2008 bid, in July 2006.  Huntsman is planning to bypass the Iowa caucuses and place a major emphasis on New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary.  New Hampshire is seen as almost a must-win state for Romney, so things could get hot in the Granite State.