Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Ashley Detrick | Tribune file photo) Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman
Huntsman jokes about his ‘secret’ run for president

First Published Dec 08 2013 01:43 pm • Last Updated Dec 08 2013 10:37 pm

Washington • Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman poked fun at himself and his failed presidential bid, and saved a few jabs for President Barack Obama and his fellow Republicans, on Saturday at the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington.

Huntsman noted that he had served in four administrations and was twice elected governor, so he thought he was qualified to make a White House bid himself. It didn’t turn out too well.

Photos
Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"It’s no secret I ran for president," Huntsman said, "at least it wasn’t supposed to be."

Huntsman, who dropped out of the presidential race after a distant third showing in New Hampshire, was the Republican speaker at the event held by the 128-year-old journalism club. His eldest daughters, Abby and Mary Anne Huntsman, joined club members to sing part of a tribute to the ex-governor to the tune of Feliz Navidad.

"Pull-eze like our Dad," the satirical lyrics went. "Pull-eze like our Dad."

Jon Huntsman laughed at the song and cheered on his kids.

"I always hoped the breakout star of the Republican primary would be a Huntsman," the ex-governor said. "I wasn’t planning on it being my daughters."

The co-chair of the post-partisan group No Labels also made a pitch to the journalists in the room for the cause, arguing Washington needs people who can actually work across the aisle and cut out the mud-slinging.

"Co-chairing No Labels has had the added benefit of removing a label that’s been attached to me: Democrat," Huntsman joked.

Gridiron Club President Clark Hoyt also quipped about Huntsman’s independent streak, noting that Hoyt’s predecessor, Hearst newspaper’s Chuck Lewis, was in charge of picking the GOP speaker.


story continues below
story continues below

"I guess President Lewis couldn’t get a Republican tonight," Hoyt said.

Huntsman said he finally understood why Obama had tapped him to be the U.S. ambassador to China.

"That’s where he sends things that can hurt him politically," Huntsman said, "like me, or trillions of dollars of debt."

A new tell-all book, "Double Down," claims the White House was irritated that Huntsman would take that assignment in China and then return to run against his former boss.

"Now I hear that the president was surprised that all that time I was thinking about running for president," Huntsman said. "As if the NSA wasn’t listening to every conversation I had. And as if the Chinese weren’t listening to them listening to me."

Huntsman said he had some similarities with the night’s Democratic speaker, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana.

"I spell my name J-O-N, like Jon Tester," Huntsman said. "Not J-O-H-N, like David Vitter."

Vitter, a Louisiana senator had been accused of visiting a prostitute and his phone number was listed on records kept by a prostitution ring in Washington. The senator denies the accusations.

Tester, too, mentioned the "Double Down" book, ripping on Huntsman’s short stint as a presidential candidate where he earned a ton of news media coverage but few votes.

There were "lots of surprises in [the book] but maybe the biggest surprise is that there were actually a few people in America who genuinely thought that Jon Huntsman was going to be elected president," Tester said to the room of journalists, "and its great to see all those folks in the room tonight."

The Gridiron’s Winter Dinner is less well-known than its big spring gala but it’s rich in history, too. It was the 2004 dinner when then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney first met Obama, who had just been elected to the Senate.

tburr@sltrib.com

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.