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In New Hampshire, Huntsman reconnects with his rock 'n' roll roots

August 03, 2011|By Maeve Reston

Reporting from Manchester, N.H. — Jon Huntsman toured Manchester's Elm Street with Mayor Ted Gatsas -- trying some old-fashioned retail politicking in his campaign to be the Republican presidential nominee.

After seeing drums in the window of a music store, Huntsman popped in and tried his hand on the keyboard. There were only a handful of voters but nearly a dozen reporters.

He took over from a man who was trying out a keyboard toward the front of the store. "How are you? I'm Jon Huntsman. I'm running for president," Huntsman said.

"Who?" the man said as he turned from the keyboard to shake Huntsman's hand. After Huntsman repeated his name, the man said he'd heard about him that morning in a small news item.

"I do know there's competition between you and Romney," the man told Huntsman, referring to rival Mitt Romney, who is leading the polls in New Hampshire while Huntsman is stuck in single digits.

"Awww, no," Huntsman replied before changing the subject. "We're all candidates, right. We're all candidates -- what are you playing?"

"Come on, sit down and hit a few," Gatsas called out.

"Naw, I'm not going to play anything," Huntsman said before banging on a few keys. But he then obliged -- playing the "Charlie Brown" theme song.

"You open with that on the debates, you'll do well," Gatsas said.

Before he entered politics, Huntsman has said his dream was to be "a rock 'n' roll musician." He left high school before graduating to play in a band called Wizard.

"I thought it was my ticket to fame," he said at a commencement address this year.

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