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Democrats target Jon Huntsman before presidential campaign launch

June 20, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli
(Brian Snyder, Reuters )

Utah Democrats launched a preemptive strike against Jon Huntsman on the eve of his presidential campaign kickoff, knocking him for his shifting positions on issues important to Republican voters.

Democrats in Huntsman's home state are parodying the former governor's enigmatic preview videos that feature a man on a motorcycle speeding through scenic parts of Utah. They say Huntsman is "riding away from his record." (see videos below)

"The Jon Huntsman that is announcing his candidacy tomorrow is not the Jon Huntsman that most Utahans have known," Utah Democratic Party chairman Wayne Holland told reporters in a conference call Monday.

Photos: The 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls

Saying Huntsman now shuns his past support for cap-and-trade, the stimulus bill and healthcare reform, Holland offered for a two-for-one insult, saying he "has stolen the playbook from the Romney campaign."

"It is pandering and not consistent with who he has been in the past, and who Utah voters expected he would be as a candidate," Holland said.

Huntsman, elected to two terms as Utah's governor and just recently returned from his post as President Obama's ambassador to China, makes his candidacy official Tuesday with a speech at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, with the Statue of Liberty as the backdrop.

He'll quickly travel on to New Hampshire, the leadoff primary state, for a town hall meeting.

Huntsman's campaign fired back at the Democratic attack.

"As governor, Huntsman passed a flat tax, he balanced the budget, he passed free market health reform without a mandate, he grew jobs. I think that his economic track record in Utah is identical to what he's talking about now that is needed for the country," spokesman Tim Miller said.

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