At a breakfast organized by Politico, President Barack Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina said the campaign saw former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman's bid for the White House as a threat and viewed him as a "tough candidate."
The former Ambassador to China didn’t have much of a campaign. The former governor was third in the New Hampshire Republican primary and only generated single-digit support in nationwide polls.
However, the reelection campaign for President Obama saw Huntsman, who was considered a moderate GOP member, as a formidable foe in a potential one-on-one matchup leading up to the November presidential election.
“We were honest about our concerns about Huntsman,” said Messina at the breakfast, reports the Daily Caller. “I think Huntsman would have been a very tough candidate. As someone who helped manage his confirmation for Chinese ambassador, he’s a good guy.”
Earlier this year, Huntsman was endorsed by the Boston Globe for the Republican nomination. The newspaper cited Huntsman’s opportunity to “renew” the Republican Party, such as his stances on global warming and evolution.
Huntsman officially ended his campaign for the nomination and instead endorsed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. He later noted that the United States needs a third party to help the presidential election process.
“I think we’re going to have problems politically until we get some sort of third party movement or some voice out there that can put forth new ideas,” said Huntsman in an interview with MSNBC (via ABC News). “Someone’s going to step up at some point and say we’ve had enough of this. The real issues are not being addressed and it’s time that we put forward an alternative vision, a bold thinking. We might not win, but we can certainly influence the debate.”
The former governor was appointed to Chairman of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, a Utah-based cancer charity. He replaced his father, Jon M. Huntsman, who founded the institute and will now serve as Chairman Emeritus.