President Obama has selected Utah's Republican Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. as ambassador to China. Huntsman was national co-chair of John McCain's national 2008 Presidential campaign, and appears to be an excellent choice for this key position:
President Obama today chose Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. (R) as his choice for ambassador to China, tapping a moderate Republican governor to be his envoy to the world's largest country.
In a brief ceremony in the White House Diplomatic Room, Obama introduced Huntsman saying the importance of the posting reflects the fact that "China will have a crucial role in confronting all the major challenges" of the world,. "I believe there is much to be gained from a closer working relationship with China."
The announcement was made with Huntsman's large family, including wife Mary Kaye and parents, gathered in the room. He has seven children, including two adopted from China and India.
"What a beautiful family," Obama said as he walked in and saw Huntsman's family.
A multi-cultural family in a multi-cultural world. Hunstman speaks fluent Mandarin as a result of his days as a Mormon missionary in Taiwan.
He was elected in November to a second term as Utah's governor, drawing 70 percent of the vote. He served in the George W. Bush administration as deputy U.S. trade representative from 2001 to 2004 and, for President George H.W. Bush, was ambassador to Singapore. He is an expert on China, and he speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently.
White House officials described Huntsman as having respect for China's tradition and called him an "unstinting advocate" for America's interest in Asia. They praised his record of service and said he will be able to be frank with the Chinese when the two countries disagree.
From the White House:
Governor Huntsman's Foreign Policy Experience:
* Deputy United States Trade Ambassador (2001-2003)
* United States Ambassador to the Republic of Singapore, United States Department of State (1992-1993); Governor Huntsman was appointed as the youngest U.S. Ambassador in more than 100 years.
* Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Trade Development Bureau (1989-90)
* Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for East Asia and the Pacific
* BA in International Politics from University of Pennsylvania
* Governor Huntsman has twice been unanimously confirmed by the Senate as a U.S. Ambassador.
Personal attributes relevant to China:
* Governor Huntsman speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.
* Governor Huntsman and his wife, Mary Kaye, have seven children, including two adopted daughters from China and India.
Naturally, the Christian extremist Republicans, many of whom rejected Mitt Romney's bid for President principally as a result of his Mormon faith, will wonder out loud about Obama's selection of Huntsman - postulating that those evil Democrats have conspired to remove Huntsman from a possible 2012 bid for national office.
The fact is that, as a moderate Republican in a Democratic administration, Huntsman will demonstrate a bipartisan/non-partisan approach to politics that should boost his chances for national office in 2012. Christian extremists won't see it that way. They'll want to point to some Democratic wacko conspiracy or another -- but the plain fact of the matter is that Romney's failed bid in 2008 shows that the Christian extremists in the GOP won't support a Mormon on the national stage anyway.
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