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Glasman: Huntsman Enjoying Late Surge in NH

January 9, 2012

It is safe to say this was indeed a great weekend for Jon Huntsman. The former Utah Governor, emboldened by strong debate performances and a rise in his state-wide polling numbers, seems to have his message resonating with New Hampshire voters.

That message, “putting his country first”, spawned from a fateful moment during Sunday morning’s NBC/Facebook debate when Huntsman went off topic to address the criticisms made by Mitt Romney about the former accepting his Chinese Ambassadorship appointment from President Obama. “I was criticized last night by Governor Romney for putting my country first” he said. He went on to state that “This nation is divided David because of attitudes like that”. The response was welcomed with a roar of applause from those in attendance. His campaign team was quick to pick up on the public approval, rolling out a new TV commercial entitled “country first” featuring the soundbite merely several hours later.

This is the perfect issue for a candidate like Huntsman, the sole candidate committed to talking about the trust deficit facing America. While the other Republican primary contenders talk tough on the Democrats and the Obama administration, none seem to have any explanation as to how they are going to get things done in a polarized Washington. If Huntsman can prove to New Hampshire Republicans and independent primary goers that he is the man to roll up his sleeves and get things done that message could go a long way.

More importantly, it could also spell danger for Mitt Romney. The perennial front runner, still holding a sliding but comfortable lead in the polls in NH is hoping to make a statement on Tuesday. Edging out a close win like in Iowa will not bode well for the former Massachusetts Governor who has a much more arduous task ahead of him in South Carolina.

Nevertheless one can hope that Huntsman’s rise leading into Tuesday will make for a more exciting proposition than previously believed. The candidate has hosted more than 160 public events in the state. An Iowa-like finish just might be in the cards if Romney’s polling numbers continue to erode over the next 2 days. You never know, we might be in for some Tim Tebow-esque heroics from the man who claims to have “put his country first.” Then again, New Hampshire is PATS country.

Marco Glasman is a student at Glendon Campus York University.
Follow him on twitter @MarcoGlasman

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