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Huntsman: Smart choice to get out now, expert says

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The million-dollar question Monday morning: Why is Jon Huntsman backing out of the GOP presidential race now?

Some experts say Huntsman's campaign was simply out of cash and he didn't have the money to pay for things like TV ads and direct mailers -- things that could help his name recognition in South Carolina.

Huntsman had focused all of his resources on New Hampshire's Jan. 10 primary, but finished third with 17 percent of the vote.

Hinckley Institute of Politics director Kirk Jowers says Huntsman's performance in New Hampshire was nice but not good enough to spur more fundraising beyond the Granite State. And he still trailed in the polls in places like South Carolina.

"You've watched Stephen Colbert make a big deal out of finishing ahead of Huntsman," Jowers said. "You don't want to become kind of a butt of jokes on these things."

Jowers says Huntsman's campaign had trouble because he returned from his post as U.S. Ambassador to China too late in the game and didn't really get the grassroots support he needed.

Jowers calls it a smart decision for Huntsman to get out of the race now.

"He can go out with his head high after New Hampshire," he said. "He can support the almost inevitable nominee at this point. And it gives him a chance to fight another day."

Jowers says Huntsman's challenge will be figuring out how to keep his name public and stay relevant the next four to eight years, depending on who wins in November.

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Andrew Adams


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