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Meet Jon Huntsman: 'No drama' conservative and fan of street food

June 22, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli

If there's one thing the Jon Huntsman campaign wants you to come away with as his campaign begins, it's that their candidate is one like no other.

That's the theme of many of the 36 -- count 'em, 36 -- videos that were posted to his new campaign website to coincide Huntsman's formal announcement on Tuesday.

Sure, he has the titles of governor and ambassador. But really he is "a quiet, no drama conservative" who vacations in Coronado Beach and loves Henry's taco stand in Los Angeles.

Photos: Potential 2012 GOP candidates

Huntsman's children are introduced by name, and by the instrument they play in the family band (Jon III on drums, "dad on keys," and Will on guitar).

"This guy is different," one of the five biographical videos says.

There are five more videos on the economy, and another five on foreign policy. Six separate videos -- one featuring wife, Mary Kaye -- tout his "unique qualifications."

What are his favorite foods, you ask? Well, even if you didn't ask, he loves "street food."

"There was a taco stand on State Street in Salt Lake City that was a favorite of mine," he said. "I'm sure that there were many people ... who would look over and see the governor there eating a 50 cent taco, having a staff meeting wondering what on earth was happening to their state."

Many are serious, offering an introduction to his views on key issues. For instance, he calls Rep. Paul Ryan's controversial budget plan "a very helpful step," and an "excellent addition to the discussion," but he comes short of a full endorsement.

The videos are a calling card of top advisers Jon Weaver and media guru Fred Davis. Davis made his mark in the 2010 campaign for the Christine O'Donnell "I'm You" ad, and Carly Fiorina's "Demon Sheep" Web video, both of which were viral hits.

Huntsman needs any weapon he can muster to break through. While he's being treated as a top-flight candidate by the national media, he's yet to register much support in public polling.

A new Gallup poll released Tuesday shows Huntsman has the second-lowest name recognition in the GOP field, ahead of former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.

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