Senate majority leader Harry Reid had some kind words yesterday for the latest contender to join the Republican presidential field, Jon Huntsman. “In that race, if I had a choice, I would favor Huntsman over Romney,” Reid said, according to CNN. “But I don’t have a choice in that race.”
Jen Rubin notes that Huntsman at least looks presidential. "Huntsman looks the part of a presidential candidate and speaks in that unaccented, urbane voice that the media perpetually confuse for intellectual sophistication," Rubin writes. So maybe that's what Harry Reid was getting at.
But it seems instead that Reid's praise is a sign of a greater problem that Huntsman's campaign will have to deal with in the Republican primary.
Consider these comments from the chairman of the Democratic party in Utah:
“The Jon Huntsman I know supported Barack Obama and President Obama’s recovery act, but said it should have been larger,” said Wayne Holland, chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, on a recent conference call with reporters.
“The Jon Huntsman I know worked with Democrats to pass the cap-and-trade program and said at the time it was the only alternative to a carbon tax. The Jon Huntsman I know signed into law a health insure exchange and proposed an individual mandate for Utah. It now appears that has all changed.”
Naturally, there are surely many things Huntsman did while he was governor of Utah that the Democratic party chairman would disagree with. But this sort of praise--coupled with the kind words from Harry Reid--will surely not help Huntsman, who is President Obama's former ambassador to China, win support from Republican voters.