SALT LAKE CITY — A story published Thursday by the Associated Press named Jon Huntsman Jr. as a possible pick to replace Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State, but the former ambassador and governor has stayed tight-lipped about the possibility.
In an interview with KSL, Huntsman spoke about the need to put the "country first" with a tough presidential campaign now over. He spoke about his own plans in very general terms, sidestepping a question about what's next in his future plans.
"Being a good dad, managing a lot of projects that I find absolutely fun, interesting and satisfying," Huntsman said Wednesday.
The AP story reported a list of possible contenders for the Secretary of State, citing unnamed officials that included Huntsman.
Story authors Bradley Kapper and Matthew Lee wrote:
To reach across party lines, to problem solve, to do it in a team work approach, it would be conceivable perhaps to indeed ask a republican Jon Huntsman.
–Tim Chambless, University of Utah Political
"Huntsman is still widely respected by the administration even if he'd hoped to unseat (President Barack) Obama. Choosing Huntsman would allow the president to claim bipartisanship while putting an Asia expert in the job at a time when the U.S. is focusing more attention on the world's most populous continent."
University of Utah Political Science Professor Tim Chambless says with China looming large in U.S. foreign policy and financial affairs, appointing Huntsman to the cabinet could make sense.
"To reach across party lines, to problem solve, to do it in a team work approach, it would be conceivable perhaps to indeed ask a republican Jon Huntsman," Chambless said.
Salt Lake mayor Ralph Becker, who worked closely with Huntsman when he was governor, says the president has consulted him, but the pick wouldn't surprise him.
"(Obama) picked republicans to be part of his administration; He's picked opponents within the democratic party to be part of his administration," Becker said. "So all of those things lead me to believe he wouldn't rule out Jon Huntsman Junior."
When asked what's ahead for the GOP after Mitt Romney's election loss to the president, Huntsman speaks in mostly general terms.
"If people who are involved in reshaping the party put their country first and come up with solutions that first and foremost are right for their country and for people, then the party will do fine," Huntsman said.
The speculation caught many political observers off guard. Some told us that taking another job in the Obama administration might make it hard, if not impossible, for him to run as a Republican again for the White House.