Jon Huntsman drops out, warns of ‘toxic’ GOP discourse

Republican presidential candidate, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, gets a hug from his wife Mary Kaye Huntsman, as they stand with their family, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. on Monday, after he announced he is ending his campaign. AP/Charles Dharapak

Republican presidential candidate, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, gets a hug from his wife Mary Kaye Huntsman, as they stand with their family, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. on Monday, after he announced he is ending his campaign. AP/Charles Dharapak

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman formally dropped out of the 2012 presidential campaign on Monday, but not before calling on the remaining candidates to cease attacks that have rendered Republican discourse “toxic.”

Xiaci jian, Huntsman. See you next time.

Huntsman endorsed current GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney as a candidate able to unify Republican voters – “despite our differences, and the space between us on some of the issues.”

Huntsman’s withdrawal reduces the field of GOP contenders in tonight’s Fox News/Wall Street Journal debate to five: Romney, the frontrunner; former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

More candidates could exit after Saturday’s primary – the first 2012 presidential contest in the South.

Huntsman had shunned the Iowa caucuses in favor of a full-court press in New Hampshire, where he finished in a disappointing third-place. He’d kept a public posture of competitiveness, declaring – in a clip now being shown nonstop on cable news – that third-place was “a ticket to ride.”

“We go South from here,” he said during a CNN interview in New Hampshire. And that’s exactly what happened.

Preceded to the stage by four daughters and his wife, and with his father in the audience, the former U.S. ambassador to China acknowledged that his effort had been “the longest of long shots” and said he would suspend his campaign.

Huntsman, who had campaigned on more civil discourse in politics, first directed his exit message at the candidates he was leaving behind:

”This race has degenerated into an onslaught of negative and personal attacks not worthy of the American people and not worthy of this critical time in our nation’s history….

“Only bold ideas will get us to where we need to be. And this campaign needs to be driven by those ideas. At its core the Republican party is a party of ideas. But the current toxic form of our political discourse does not help our cause. And it’s just one of the many reasons why the American people have lost trust in their American leaders.

“Today I call on each campaign to cease attacking each other, and instead talk directly to the American people about how our conservative ideas will create jobs, reduce our nation’s debt, stabilize energy prices, and provide a brighter future for our children….”

Huntsman blistered President Barack Obama for intentionally inciting “class warfare for political gain.”

Huntsman took no questions from reporters, and how his support for Romney might manifest itself.

The former Utah governor also promised to stay engaged on issues such as a “flatter tax code,” and congressional term limits. He promised to “continue fighting to bring back our men and women from Afghanistan” and to “stop nation-building overseas.”

Which argues that Huntsman might consider trying again, in 2016 or later.

Newt Gingrich insists Huntsman withdrawal will help him. “With Governor Huntsman dropping out, we are one step closer to a bold Reagan conservative winning the GOP nomination,” a Gingrich spokesman declared this morning.

Rick Santorum declared that Huntsman’s endorsement of Romney was irrelevant. “Moderates are endorsing moderates,” he said in Columbia, S.C., today.

Late last night, after news broke of Huntsman’s withdrawal and endorsement of Mitt Romney, a lot of house-cleaning was in order. From the New York Times:

Mr. Huntsman’s campaign, which struggled to raise money for expensive television ads, put many of his harshest attacks against Mr. Romney into clever and biting online videos that he posted to his campaign’s Web site and a corresponding YouTube channel.

Those videos (and a few television commercials) are now mostly gone, quickly yanked from public view as Mr. Huntsman prepares for an 11 a.m. endorsement of Mr. Romney.

Some background from the Associated Press:

Huntsman’s resume had suggested he could be a major contender for the Republican presidential nomination: businessman, diplomat, governor, veteran of four presidential administrations, an expert on China and foreign trade. But the former ambassador to China in the Obama administration found a poor reception for his brand of moderate civility that he had hoped would draw support from independents, as well as party moderates.

Huntsman was almost invisible in a race often dominated by Romney, a fellow Mormon. One reason was timing. For months, Romney and other declared or expected-to-declare candidates drew media attention and wooed voters in early primary states.

Huntsman, however, was half a world away, serving as ambassador to China until he resigned in late April. Nearly two more months would pass before his kickoff speech on June 22 in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. The former Utah governor had already acknowledged that expectations for him in South Carolina’s primary this week will be “very low.” Word of the Huntsman withdrawal came on the same day that The State, South Carolina’s largest newspaper, endorsed him for president.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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62 comments Add your comment

Danny O

January 16th, 2012
11:35 am

Mr. Gingrich has been predicting that every candidate’s withdrawal will help him. He might need just that to win – each and every candidate withdrawing.

Ted

January 16th, 2012
11:39 am

It is worth noting that the comic coward, Mike Lukovich, accepts no comments on his cartoons. Too bad. He would have some that would agree with him, but he would also get some critics. Apparently, his skin is thinner than those he makes fun of. I do admire columnists like Jim Galloway who are not afraid to put their positions out for commentary.

Fred

January 16th, 2012
11:40 am

LMAO, so a republican FINALLY realizes that their talk radio hate talk is “toxic.” They are like cannibalistic sharks in a feeding frenzy. They are so used to their over the top BS bile that they spew at anyone who doesn’t walk lockstep with their fanatical nut job views that they can’t “debate” each other.

Cap Pistol

January 16th, 2012
11:41 am

What happened to the happy idiot dancing a jib, crowing about his 3rd place finish, proclaiming it his “ticket to ride”? Politicians are so phony! Including the jet set dr, Ron Paul.

Fred

January 16th, 2012
11:42 am

Actually Teddy, he does a “live” blog every Wednesday at either 12 or 1 PM where you can say anything you want to him. He’s not a “coward,” it’s just that he doesn’t feel like monitoring his blog 24/7 and you republicans lack the ability to communicate in any polite manner. As you yourself showed in your blathering post.

steve

January 16th, 2012
11:42 am

Its because of RINOs like Jon Huntsman we got Barack Obama to start with. Maybe Barry will dump Joe and pick him to be his Veep this year.

Tim

January 16th, 2012
11:45 am

I thought Huntsman was pretty good. More measured than Newt and more eloquent than Perry (but who isn’t). I think he would be a valid candidate for Sec of State.

Attack Dog

January 16th, 2012
11:50 am

It’s because of the failed policies of the neo-conservatives and Dixiecrats that we got Barack Obama. RINOs and Independents got hoodwinked in 2010, and are slowing beginning to see the failed leadership of McConnell and Boehner to seriously present plausible solutions without poison pill amendments to address the issues of the day.

GaBlue

January 16th, 2012
11:54 am

steve @ 11:42,

That’s a stretch. I think the reason we got Barack Obama to start with is that the previous administration effed up our world beyond our wildest nightmares, and the voters really DID want something completely different.

Lisa

January 16th, 2012
11:55 am

Newt Romney make me ill and if the American people vote them in they will deserve what is coming. Ron Paul is the only sane choice in the insanity going on around us now. After signing NDAA, Obama can go to hell and all the minions who voted for it will hopefully be voted out of office ASAP. Our country is on life support and if more people don’t stop watching reality TV, well………so be it.

cartoon

January 16th, 2012
11:56 am

The debates so far have been pure “Love Canal”, eh?

Obama a shoe in.

Ted

January 16th, 2012
11:58 am

Fred, I am afraid you are the blatherer. Luckovich does not do any live blog every Wednesday. You might want to consider reading a little more, and writing a little less. And you think Jim monitors this blog 24/7? That it is a requirement if one accepts comments on their work? A mind is a horrible thing to waste. Finally, if suggesting that free speech is a good thing makes one a republicans, there are going to be a lot of new republicans in this country.

Obama Sucks

January 16th, 2012
12:06 pm

Obama Sucks

January 15th, 2012
6:58 pm
Why doesn’t the IRS pull the big Black Churches tax exemption for using their church for politics and total support for Democrats? Obama mouthpieces. If a major White Church said the same things about President Obama and the Democrats you people in the mainstreet media and the ACLU folks would be asking the IRS to pull their tax exemption. Black Corruption and Black Racism that’s why. And a spinless White Community and bunch of cowardly Liberals that’s why. http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/ebenezer-pastor-criticizes-gingrich-1303603.html
ANYBODY is BETTER than OBAMA. Even the dog catcher is.

Shine

January 16th, 2012
12:10 pm

Mitt “the liquidator” Romney has promised Huntsman the first ever ambassadorship to the planet Kolob which according to Mormonism lies close to Supermans former home planet, Krypton.

GaBlue

January 16th, 2012
12:11 pm

Wow, you can just feel the love in here, can’t you?

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. —
Martin Luther King, Jr.

rightIsWrong

January 16th, 2012
12:13 pm

ANYBODY is BETTER than OBAMA. Keep drinking the kool-aide.

Atlien

January 16th, 2012
12:15 pm

Now we’ve got Romney – the crony capitalist, Gingrich – the not so smart guy that thinks he’s einstein, Santorum – George Bush on steroids, and Paul. Maybe people should realize Ron Paul isn’t the crazy one! It’s ok, Huntsman will be back to face off with Hiliary after Obama’s second term.

DannyX

January 16th, 2012
12:24 pm

Ted, Luckovich did have a blog, it would get about 200 posts a day. Out of the 200 posts only 1 or 2 were related to his political cartoon.

Oh, and by the way, there are less Republicans now than there were a year ago according to Gallup, only 27% of Americans admit to being Republican.

Karen

January 16th, 2012
12:25 pm

Ron Paul sane? Have you lost your sanity.

ch

January 16th, 2012
12:27 pm

Wow, Fred is really an open minded liberal who values hearing all sides of the issues. NOT. Fred you sound so polite yourself.

reebok

January 16th, 2012
12:29 pm

Atlien, I agree that Humtsman is setting himself up for the future by evacuating the clown car now, but I doubt his opponent after Obama’s 2nd term will be Hillary…she’ll be closing in on 70 by then, and judging by her recent statements, I don’t think she has the heart for another grinding national campaign. Just my take…happy MLK day to all!

Cap Pistol

January 16th, 2012
12:32 pm

Kolob cannot lie anywhere Krypton, since the latter exploded many years ago. Many green chunks of it landed in the Garden of Eden a/k/a Missouri. The angel Macaroni vacuums there every other Wednesday.

Road Scholar

January 16th, 2012
12:39 pm

Huntsman is a breathe of fresh air. Substance over blaming others. Extremely capable. A builder of bridges. But he was too “liberal” for most repubs. His capabilities were ignored by the fervor of the shallow consrvatives, esp those who say anyone but President Obama.

Ross

January 16th, 2012
12:39 pm

Mr. Huntsman was the best of the group. I would have considered voting for him as an independent. He was head and shoulders above the rest of the “clown car” group. Well GOP you now have (the extreme right) worked so hard for and certainly deserve. How very sad.
Ross

Adam

January 16th, 2012
12:42 pm

LOL…..Fred, calling anyone else “toxic.” Brings to mind something about a pot and a kettle….

nelsonh

January 16th, 2012
12:46 pm

The race for the nomination for President has degenerated into backstabbing, name calling, inuendo, cheating, stealing, lying, slurring, name calling, fabricating, cursing, insinuating, eavesdropping. That all happened before the campaign started. Can you imagine what it will be like when they start campaigning. It will be downright dirty, muckracking and all to the forementioned.

The United States of China

January 16th, 2012
12:47 pm

When is Newt going to ever stop invoking the name of Ronald Reagan? I’m sure even Nancy wants to vomit.

DannyX

January 16th, 2012
12:50 pm

(AP) Myrtle Beach, SC— Marilyn announced today that she is leaving the Munsters.

“It dawned on me that my family is very scary,” Marilyn said. They are all very creepy and I really don’t want to be around them anymore. I don’t fit in with these very strange people.”

Amazing

January 16th, 2012
1:12 pm

To Obama Sucks

Let me correct you on a few facts regarding your racist rant. There are black and white preachers across the country who endorses candidates despite the IRS rule. Do you really think the preachers who recently agreed to endorse Santorum are not telling their flock to vote for him? Do you feel the same way for the group of preachers who endorsed Perry early in his campaign? Personally, I don’t make my voting decision based on the endorsement of a preacher or any of political pundits. I am fully capable of making up my own mind.

A debate on political philosophical differences is fine. A racist rant does not serve as a legitimate basis for a political discourse. It is the ignorance of your ilk that will ensure Obama is re-elected.

td

January 16th, 2012
1:13 pm

GaBlue

January 16th, 2012
11:54 am
steve @ 11:42,

That’s a stretch. I think the reason we got Barack Obama to start with is that the previous administration effed up our world beyond our wildest nightmares, and the voters really DID want something completely different.

And then they were so repulsed by what they got that Republicans were put back in charge of the US House and now hold more Governors offices and more state legislatures then anytime in the history of this nation.

The election of Obama and the Dems were so good that the US Senate will be in the hands of the Republicans after this years election, the House will remain in the Republican hands. It is to early to say if the WH will go Republican but the signs are not looking favorable for Obama keeping his job.

Obama Sucks

January 16th, 2012
1:14 pm

rightIsWrong

January 16th, 2012
12:13 pm
ANYBODY is BETTER than OBAMA. Keep drinking the kool-aide
Kool-aide drinkers are you and the liberal idiots and black racist for Obama.

GaBlue

January 16th, 2012
1:17 pm

td,

Whatever gets you through the day, man.

DannyX,

HAHAHAHAHAHA! Good one.

DannyX

January 16th, 2012
1:25 pm

“And then they were so repulsed by what they got that Republicans were put back in charge of the US House and now hold more Governors offices and more state legislatures then anytime in the history of this nation.”

Let me finish that for you td.

Since the 2010 elections the Republicans have bombed. One of those governors is about to get recalled. 2 others, Kasich in Ohio and Scott in Florida, have horrible approval ratings.

Since taking over the House Republicans have become unpopular.

Real Clear Politics shows voters now prefer the Democrats in the generic congressional poll, a huge turnaround from Nov 2010.

Gallup now shows voters prefer Obama over Congress for leading the country, again a huge reversal since 2010.

In another downward trend only 27% admit to being Republican.

No Teabagging

January 16th, 2012
1:27 pm

Poor Huntsman, he’d never last against the toxic, evil, supernasty republicans campaigning in Georgia. As long as Political Consultants claim negative attack ads work, the candidates and super pacs will line up to buy air time, robocalls, and sleazy direct mailers.

It’s time voters stood up to the candidates and let them know we no longer buy their BS!

Obama Sucks

January 16th, 2012
1:30 pm

Amazing, The Big Black and Historical Black Churches have used their influence and money for democrats and obama. But when a so-called conservative church does the same thing you and the rest of the liberal liars with the mainstreet media make noise and ask the IRS to take their tax exemption away. As for the so-called rant, you don’t know what you’re talking about. You just don’t like it when someone stands up and holds his ground. I’m tired of you and the media’s BS. Obama is a total disgrace as president. While you at it what about President Obama and Sec.of State Hillary Clinton and his administration giving the PLO, Hamas, Hezbullah, and the Muslim Brotherhood hundreds of millions of taxpayers dollars? These are the same people killing our brave men and women in uniform. They also fire missles at Israel daily. What about that? Or the missle codes and techonolgy that President Obama gave to Russia and China?

tony

January 16th, 2012
1:30 pm

The main question is “WHERE ARE THE JOBS?” that were promised in 2010 by guess who – the Repubs. Some people, like me, don’t have short memories and will be voting.

tony

January 16th, 2012
1:34 pm

@ Obama Sucks. Just like Reagan and the Iran-Contra deal. Just like the U.S. propped up Saddam Hussein decades earlier only to take him out; guess that Obama’s fault too.

tony

January 16th, 2012
1:41 pm

@Obama Sucks…what about the WMDs and the Bush administration rebuilding Iraq only for the Iraqis sending the U.S. a bill for destroying some of their prized buildings in Baghdad. The disgrace is when you have people throwing shoes at your leader and guess what, it wasn’t Obama.

Butch Cassidy

January 16th, 2012
1:48 pm

Obama Sucks – “ANYBODY is BETTER than OBAMA.”

Interesting. Could you please elaborate on why you would support President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad if he ran against Obama? Or perhaps you could explain why it is you feel Kim Jong Un would be good for America? Afterall, they are ANYBODY but OBAMA.

Obama Sucks

January 16th, 2012
1:48 pm

tony, Please remote your lips from Obama’s backside. Answer the question? As for what Bush did I didn’t agree with that either. So answer the Obama questions. Obama has comitted treason against America by giving the missle codes to Russia and China.

Obama Sucks

January 16th, 2012
1:49 pm

Butch, You are making a fool of yourself. We are talking about American Candidates not Obama’s comrades.

Obama Sucks

January 16th, 2012
1:51 pm

tony, Obama promised jobs, won’t take lobbyists/wallstreet money, and a transparent government in 2008. WHERE?

Butch Cassidy

January 16th, 2012
1:52 pm

Obama Sucks – “We are talking about American Candidates not Obama’s comrades.”

Really, perhaps I missed that in your little ANYBODY is BETTER than OBAMA post. Pleass show me where you inserted any American candidate. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. Explain in detail how you would support Charles Manson for President. After all, he’s American.

Obama Sucks

January 16th, 2012
1:53 pm

No Teabagging, Start with President Obama’ BS.

td

January 16th, 2012
1:53 pm

GaBlue

January 16th, 2012
1:17 pm
td,

Whatever gets you through the day, man.

And what did I say that was factually inaccurate?

Butch Cassidy

January 16th, 2012
1:53 pm

Obama Sucks – “Obama has comitted treason against America by giving the missle codes to Russia and China.”

I’m sure you have a link to support this right?

Obama Sucks

January 16th, 2012
1:55 pm

Butch, Just for you. I will make it clear for you since you are having trouble. Only talking about the current candidates for president of the U.S.

td

January 16th, 2012
1:57 pm

Butch Cassidy

January 16th, 2012
1:48 pm
Obama Sucks – “ANYBODY is BETTER than OBAMA.”

Interesting. Could you please elaborate on why you would support President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad if he ran against Obama? Or perhaps you could explain why it is you feel Kim Jong Un would be good for America? Afterall, they are ANYBODY but OBAMA.

This is impossible because neither is eligible to be the US President. Let us talk in the real world for a minute. I would support Ron Paul over Obama and I think he is crazy but he would do less harm then Obama has done.

Butch Cassidy

January 16th, 2012
1:58 pm

Obama Sucks – “Only talking about the current candidates for president of the U.S.”
Great, now how bout the link form a legitimate news source verifying Obamas transfer of our nuclear codes to Russia and China. And please, don’t bore us with the UK Trident missles, since that would only prove your accusation to be at best misleading and at worst an outright lie.

Butch Cassidy

January 16th, 2012
1:59 pm

td – ““ANYBODY is BETTER than OBAMA.”

Not my quote, talk to Obama Sucks.