Huntsman suspends campaign, endorses Romney
Former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman has suspended his presidential campaign and endorsed Gov. Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination.
“I believe it is now time for our party to unite around the candidate best equipped to defeat Barack Obama. Despite our differences and the space between us on some of the issues, I believe that candidate is Gov. Mitt Romney,” Huntsman said on Monday.
Huntsman’s decision to drop out of the race was widely expected following his third place finish in New Hampshire, where he had devoted much of his campaign resources.
Huntsman’s relatively centric stance on issues failed to gain much traction with GOP primary voters, and his polite tone meant that his message was often drowned out by the fiery rhetorics of Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich.
Speaking to supporters, Huntsman criticized the acrimonious nature of the Republican race and called for the candidates to focus on issues instead of personal attacks.
“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,” said Huntsman. “Only bold ideas will get us to where we need to be. And this campaign needs to be driven by those ideas.”
Two Republican debates are scheduled for this week. The first one will be held tonight at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST and will be carried by Fox News. The second debate is scheduled to take place on Thursday, Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST and will be carried by CNN.
The South Carolina primary will be held on Saturday, Jan. 21.
Transcript of Jon Huntsman’s announcement on Jan. 16, 2012:
“Good morning, everybody. I am delighted to be surrounded first and foremost by those I love and I appreciate most.
“I’m up here with the greatest human being I’ve ever known, my wife Mary Kaye, who has sustained us throughout this journey.
“I’m also up here with an interesting group of campaign activists called the ‘Jon 2012 girls,’ and I’m delighted to be with them – Mary Anne and Abby and Liddy. I’m also delighted to be joined by our daughter Gracie, who also dubbed as our campaign’s senior foreign policy adviser, and I want to compliment her on the excellent job that she did.
“I’m here with my father and I want to express my love and appreciation to him, son-in-law Jeff Livingston as well, along with a terrific team.
“Some supporters like the beloved Iris Campbell, former First Lady of this great state, is with us as is the Attorney General Alan Wilson and close personal friend of mine, Mike Campbell, who is here among others. And we’re honored and delighted to be in your presence – some of our great supporters.
“I’d like just to make a few comments about the current state of the presidential race and then we’ll let you go.
“Now as candidates for our party’s nomination, our common goal is to restore bold and principled leadership to the White House. Leadership that will re-ignite our economy and renew the American spirit.
“Yet rather than seeking to advance that common goal by speaking directly to voters about our ideas to rebuild America, 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.
“This is the most important election of our lifetime.
“This country desperately needs to begin a journey that will allow us to courageously tackle our two most urgent deficits. One is an economic deficit. The other is a trust deficit.
“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 elected 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 and our grandchildren.
“Let’s invest our time and resources in building trust with the American people and uniting them around a common purpose.
“Three years ago, the president promised to unite the American people. Yet his desire to engage in class warfare for political gain has left us more divided than ever. This divisiveness is corrosive and does not advance America’s interests.
“This nation was built on unity and trust. Trust in each other. Trust in a revolution that gave birth to the freest and most prosperous nation the world has ever known. Trust in our system of government.
“That sense of unity and trust has sustained us through world wars and national tragedies. Now, we need it to sustain us during this hour of need.
“Ultimately, this election is about more than the future of one campaign or one party. It is about the future of our nation.
“And for our nation to move forward together with new leadership and unity, the Republican Party must first unite.
“We entered this race just six months ago with the longest of long shots. My candidacy was staked with the simple principle of country first and driven by a refusal to pass down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less prosperous, and less competitive than the one we inherited.
“Today, I am suspending my campaign for the presidency. I believe it is now time for our party to unite around the candidate best equipped to defeat Barack Obama. Despite our differences and the space between us on some of the issues, I believe that candidate is Gov. Mitt Romney.
“As for the Huntsman family, we step down with an even greater appreciation for American democracy, which is fundamental to American values.
“After all the town halls and handshakes and meet and greets, we leave it in the hands of the people and we respect the results.
“To our many staff, supporters, and volunteers, I offer my heartfelt thanks.
“Today our campaign for the presidency ends but our campaign to build a better and more trustworthy America continues.
“We will continue to fight for a flatter, simpler tax code that helps unleash opportunity rather than stifle it.
“For an energy policy that ends the scorch of our addiction to foreign oil.
“For congressional term limits.
“For education reform that prepares our kids for the realities of the 21st century.
“For financial reform that breaks up ‘too big to fail’ banks and protects taxpayers from future bailouts.
“And we will continue fighting to bring home our brave men and women from Afghanistan and stop nation-building overseas and start rebuilding our own nation.
“For Mary Kaye and our family, these last six months have been an incredible and awe-inspiring journey.
“I have seen the very best in America.
“I’ve seen it in the spirit of our entrepreneurs, whose innovations continue to inspire and better the world.
“I’ve seen it in the courage of our veterans, who I’ve met in VFW halls in communities all across this nation.
“I saw in China – 10,000 miles away – meeting with dissidents who have been tortured and beaten but who had drew strength from our nation’s values, our openness, our freedoms, our commitment to human rights.
“Half way around the world, I could still see America’s light. That is the power America still projects.
“And I will never stop fighting for her and fighting to ensure that America’s light to shines bright for generations and generations to come.
“Because in the end we must all come together as Americans and must be reminded that the fight to preserve and enhance life, liberty, and happiness is what really sets us apart in this world and is worth our tireless efforts as citizens in this most of this most extraordinary nation.
“Thank you and may God bless America.”
- WhatTheFolly.com: Jon Huntsman hangs on with a third place finish in the New Hampshire primary
- OpenSecrets.org: Information on Jon Huntsman’s campaign finances
- Jon Huntsman’s campaign website
- C-Span.org: Video of Jon Huntsman’s announcement to suspend campaign
- TheState.com: Editorial – Huntsman can bring us together