Former U.S. envoy to China announces presidential bid

14:06, June 22, 2011      

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Former U.S. envoy to China,Jon Huntsman, speaks at a rally after announcing his candidacy for the Republican U.S. presidential 2012 campaign in Exeter, New Hampshire June 21, 2011. Huntsman, President Barack Obama's former ambassador to China, entered his party's 2012 presidential race on Tuesday pledging to make the "hard decisions" to deal with America's debt. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Jon Huntsman, who had worked for Barack Obama's administration until April as U.S. ambassador to China, announced Tuesday that he will run for president in 2012.

The former Utah governor made his bid official in a speech at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, the same spot where former President Ronald Reagan kicked off his successful 1980 campaign.

The speech centered on the sluggish economy and exploding national debt, and warned of an "un-American" future if things do not change.

"For the first time in our history, we are passing down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive and less confident than the one we got," he said. "This is totally unacceptable and totally un-American."

With Huntsman entering the race, the Republican field now has eight official candidates, with others including former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, House Representative Michele Bachmann, House Representative Ron Paul, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and businessman Herman Cain.

So far, Romney is considered as the early front-runner, but it's far from certain whether he can eventually win the Republican nomination.

Huntsman's experiences in the Obama administration would be a double-edge sword, analysts say. It may make him less appeal to the far-right camp who is strongly anti-Obama. His moderate views could work against him in the Republican primaries, where conservative voters dominate. On the other side, he can label himself as someone who understands foreign policy, a credit his party rivals lack.

Source: Xinhua

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