In anticipation of campaign stops in the Sunshine State, Florida Party Chair Rod Smith blasts Jon Huntsman

But in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Smith denied that his participation in the call indicated that he had any fears of the 51-year-old Huntsman. He said that if anything, he simply wanted to let people know more about the candidate who is being hailed by some elements of the mainstream media, but is barely known by most of the country


Smith called the campaign tour that Huntsman is taking this week (and will take him to Miami and Orlando on Thursday) his "national reinvention tour," highlighting what he said were his reversals on such issues as the stimulus bill, the health care act, and one in which Huntsman admits he has changed his position on, cap-and-trade legislation that would help reduce carbon emissions to combat global warming.


In what was no doubt considered to be a stinging rebuke, Smith compared Huntsman to that other good looking Mormon who has had success previously in Utah, Mitt Romney, whose flip-flops on certain key issues hurt him significantly with the GOP base when he was introducing himself nationally back in 2007.


Speaking in his very partisan role as head of the Florida Democratic Party, Smith blasted Huntsman for criticizing President Obama's economic record, without having his own plan available for the masses to dissect.


Then again, Huntsman had only been a candidate for a little over 24 hours when Smith held his conference call - rarely have any of the candidates given detailed proposals immediately after they've declared their running.


Most political analysts think that Huntsman will have an uphill battle for the nomination. In addition to the fact that he has a low profile in the mainstream political media world, he also happens to have worked for President Obama (and three other Republican presidents, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, it should be noted), which of course in some GOP precincts is sufficient enough information to dismiss or ignore him.


With the exception of George W. Bush in 1999-2000, however, it appears that the Republican nominee is generally one who has had to fight for the nomination previously, setting himself for a run four years later.


That goes for Reagan (who came just short of the 1976 nomination for Gerry Ford), Herbert Walker Bush (who challenged Reagan in 1980 in the primaries before falling short and becoming VP), Bob Dole in 1996, who was unsuccessful running against Bush 41 in 1988, and John McCain, who gave W a bit of a race in 2000, and then of course became the party's nominee in 2008.


By that past history, Huntsman might be making a mark to be the candidate in 2016 by running now. He was always considered by the Obama folks to be that guy - they just didn't think he'd actually try running in 2012.

Rod-Smith.jpg

Since there were the first echos that the then U.S. Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, might be considering leaving his job and running for president, the quote from Obama chief campaign strategist David Plouffe was revived: that he was one Republican that the Obama campaign feared going into the 2012 election cycle.

That's because on paper and possibly in person, the former Utah Governor makes a great impression, and unlike much of the GOP field, isn't betrothed to the Tea Party.

But whether that was a smokescreen or not, this morning the chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, Rod Smith, weighed in for the first time this political season on a Republican candidate, and it happened to be Huntsman, who officially entered the campaign yesterday and will be making appearances in the Sunshine State on Thursday.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.