Jon Huntsman, the former governor of Utah and, most recently, ambassador to China for the Obama administration, formally launched his campaign for the White House.
Under cloud cover that turned the Hudson River behind him a steely gray, Mr. Huntsman vowed to provide “leadership that knows we need more than hope” and “leadership that doesn’t promise Washington has all the solutions to our problems.”
Speaking to a sparse crowd in a steady voice but with little emotion, Mr. Huntsman gave hints of a platform that would include “broad changes to the tax code,” a tackling of spending on entitlements and a shift in foreign policy — for now — away from overseas conflict. He said it was “not that we wish to disengage from the world,” but rather “that we believe the best long-term national security strategy is rebuilding our core here at home.”
Promising a cordial campaign, Mr. Huntsman said, “It concerns me that civility, humanity and respect are sometimes lost in our interactions as Americans” and added, “I don’t think you need to run down somebody’s reputation in order to run for the office of president.”
Mr. Huntsman has in the past supported civil unions for same-sex couples, believes that climate change is real, and has said he won’t sign the no-new-taxes pledge. In other words, he sounds like a moderate Republican. In a time when folks like Orrin Hatch are being primaried for being too liberal, he has about as much chance of connecting with the GOP base as Lady Gaga does with the Taliban.