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Herbert, Chaffetz say Huntsman ‘formidable,' brings ‘credibility'

By KSL.com | Posted - Jun. 21, 2011 at 12:45 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Political leaders are weighing in on Jon Huntsman Jr.'s official announcement to run for the White House.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says he's excited for Huntsman. Herbert says Huntsman is "a great man" and that "he brings a lot to the table."

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"He certainly has expertise on international affairs that is probably second to none, and I think he brings a credibility to the race that will be considered, so I wish him well," Herbert said.

KSL caught up with Herbert as he boarded the inaugural Frontier flight from Provo to Denver Tuesday morning. He was traveling with several local leaders, including Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who was Huntsman's former chief of staff and 2004 campaign manager.

"He's going to be a serious candidate, and what an amazing journey he's had," Chaffetz said. "I think he's going to be a very formidable candidate."

Chaffetz says now that it's official, he's fascinated to see what sort of platform Huntsman will take in the campaign, since he is more moderate than some of the other Republican candidates in the race.

"He's very much a diplomat. I think you'll see him take a different approach," Chaffetz said. "He won't throw as many sharp elbows as many of the other candidates out there. I think he will walk out of there with his reputation intact and, who knows, he may even pull it off."

When KSL pressed Chaffetz about his No. 1 choice for the nomination, he said he believes Mitt Romney is still best positioned to "take out" Barack Obama. saying he has to go with the candidate he believes has the best chance of beating President Barack Obama.

But Chaffetz also says it's exciting for "Utahns to have a couple different score cards to watch" now that Romney and Huntsman are both officially in the race.


Story written by Shara Park and Becky Bruce.

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