|Photo courtesy of Real Clear Politics.|
Just hours ago, in my two previous posts, I was lamenting our media’s ignorance in essentially excluding Jon Huntsman in its coverage of the Republican primary. I found it necessary to point out that Huntsman was obviously the best qualified of the Republican candidates to assume the presidency.
As the polls opened in NH this morning, however, the media’s tune had changed, and a potential Huntsman surge is adding excitement in a race hitherto assumed to be all Romney, all the way.
Richard Benedetto at Real Clear Politics is measured in his expectations of where Huntsman will finish in NH, but he summarizes well Huntsman’s newly energized campaign:
KEENE, N.H. -- If today's New Hampshire Republican presidential primary produces a surprise, it could be Jon Huntsman.
The photogenic former two-term governor of Utah and ambassador to China in the Obama administration has a long-shot chance at finishing third behind Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.
That would be a shock. Huntsman has been campaigning in obscurity for the past six months, choosing to make a do-or-die stand in New Hampshire, but gaining little steam.
However, as the pre-voting days in this no-snow winter capital dwindle to the end, the low-key Huntsman seems to be hitting his stride. Although he continues to bill himself as an “underdog,” his crowds are bigger, his smile is wider, his voice is stronger and his step has an extra spring.
“New Hampshire loves an underdog!” he shouted to a cheering crowd of about 500 Sunday night at Keene State College.
Buoyed by the cheers, he still resisted the siren song of the grandiose prediction. That would be uncharacteristic of a man who has built his reputation on modesty. “We’re going to do well here” was as far as he would go.
His wife, Mary Kaye, who has been campaigning at her husband’s side and making speeches for him for months, was a little more optimistic, though not too much. “Every day the energy gets stronger and stronger. We’re going up, not down,” she declared in the tradition of Huntsman restraint.