Jon Huntsman's Brilliant Civility Gimmick

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 12 2011 11:16 AM

Jon Huntsman's Brilliant Civility Gimmick

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Jon Huntsman, June 21:

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

We will conduct this campaign on the high road. I don't think you need to run down someone's reputation in order to run for the Office of President.
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Jon Huntsman, July 11:

When you look at the absolute increases in job creation, Utah led the way in the United States in terms of job creation. That, compared and contrasted with certain other states like Massachusetts, which I will just pull out randomly, not first, but 47th.

You do need to run down someone's reputation in order to run for president. I'll give Huntsman credit -- he's getting sucker reporters* to write new stories about his campaign, which has remained in margin-of-error territory since he started exploring it, even though he's been breaking the civility oath since the day after he launched his campaign, by gently criticizing Mitt Romney over health care. Here's the thing -- these are the harshest attacks Romney has gotten from any Republican running for president. Look back at the last Republican debate, and you notice that Tim Pawlenty's wimp-out on "ObamneyCare" was just one example of Republicans punting on the chance to attack Romney. No one really nailed him. Huntsman, who got all of that attention for his civility pledge, now gets attention for being the first candidate to really criticize the frontrunner.

*like me!

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.