Expect the talk of Jon Huntsman For President to reach a fever pitch this week. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters at the briefing today that Huntsman, the former Republican governor of Utah, will be leaving his current job as Ambassador to China soon. That clears the way for the political moderate to mount a run for White House next year, as many in Washington expect he will.
Gibbs told reporters that Huntsman is expected to step down from his administration post in the near future. But he said he had no idea of what Huntsman will do next.
“I want to be clear on this: I’ve talked to several people in the building and I have not heard any of them say that they know what the future holds for Ambassador Huntsman,” Gibbs said, according to The Hill.Should Huntsman turn to a presidential run, he’ll likely have to act fast. Potential rivals like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty have already raised millions in PAC contributions and begun building out operations in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Huntsman reportedly has a PAC operating without his involvement, but so far he hasn’t been a big topic of discussion in early 2012 chatter.
The White House seems content to discuss a Huntsman bid anyway. Since talk of him stepping down from his ambassadorship began, Obama and White House officials have been quick to praise Huntsman and his decision to work with the White House, potentially salting the earth with tea party voters before Huntsman can plant the seed of a presidential campaign.