Huntsman benefited from Romney debate exchange

MANCHESTER, N.H.– Jon Huntsman gained considerable support since his sharp exchange of words with Mitt Romney over the Utahan’s stint as Barack Obama’s ambassador to China, according to his top spokesman.  And, Huntsman Communications Director Tim Miller told HUMAN EVENTS, “we have a plan to go across the country” once the results from the New Hampshire primary are in this evening.

Miller spoke to us at Huntsman’s headquarters here, as young volunteers jammed the office to work phones and urge supporters to turn out for the primary tonight.

Although the Huntsman camp did not go as far as Newt Gingrich and predict where their man would end up in tonight’s balloting, Miller pointed out that “we were in single digits [in polls] for days” but have moved up considerably in the last few days. This last-minute surge, he explained, has to do with public criticism of Huntsman from front-runner Romney for serving as an Obama appointee and Huntsman’s response. Huntsman shot back that he was serving his country in much the same way as his two sons do in the U.S. Navy and was doing so while Romney “was out raising money.”

As HUMAN EVENTS has pointed out, service under a Democratic President has not been a “death blow” for GOP presidential hopefuls in a Republican primary.  In 1964, Henry Cabot Lodge won the primary while on active duty as Lyndon Johnson’s U.S. ambassador to Saigon–and did so as a write-in candidate.

Miller dismissed skepticism that his candidate could go “all the way” as a candidate because he had failed to make the primary ballot in some states.  South Carolina’s primary, he explained, is next [January 21] and the Huntsman team has a number of heavyweight supporters there.  He also said that in the Florida primary January 31, “we have a strong team” and that the Huntsman campaign has a plan to “go across the country” to win the GOP nomination.