ABC News’ Sarah Kunin (@sarah_kunin) reports: It’s the double rainbow of campaign advertisements, paid for by former Amb. Jon Huntsman himself.
In his first official video, posted on Huntsman’s Web site and sent to the masses via email from his wife Mary Kaye, a helmeted man rides a motorcycle down a dusty canyon road as country music twangs in the background. There is no voiceover, simply two sentences written in subtitles: “In 6 days” and “Did not become famous with his band wizard.”
What does it mean? And more importantly, can a politician who rides motorcycles and namedrops his high school rock band be taken seriously as a presidential candidate?
Well, for starters, that isn’t actually Jon Huntsman riding the motorcycle, though he is an avid bike fan. Huntsman made sure to drop in for a photo-op at Laconia Motorcycle Week during his last trip to New Hampshire.
“I guess Huntsman is trying to say, ‘Look at me and who I am rubbing elbows with,’” Charlie St. Clair, executive director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association told the National Journal. “As a motorcyclist, if I see a gentleman on a motorcycle, I think, ‘Maybe I can relate to him?’”
Of course, “6 days” marks the countdown for Huntsman’s announcement that he is running for president on June 21st in Liberty Park, N.J. He confirmed the news at a Reuters event on China alongside Dr. Henry Kissinger yesterday.
“My family looks shocked and surprised and of course they are. I hadn’t told them yet,” Huntsman said, his wife and two children in the audience.
As for the Wizard reference, the former governor has embraced his keyboard-playing, skinny-jean-wearing past on the stump. It is his attempt to connect with the younger generation of voters who may ultimately be the deciding factor in his potential nomination.
Huntsman began his commencement speech at the University of Southern New Hampshire last month by thanking them “for giving an honorary doctorate to someone whose initial passion in life was simply to be a rock and roll musician.”
“I thought it was my ticket to fame,” he said with a smile. “I had a cool, grungy van — an ugly, green Ford Econoline that I gutted to hold all of our equipment along with the band… who sat in the back on folding chairs. So every time we would turn those corners, the entire band would slide across the floor, hitting the wall.”
Beyond the leather jackets and self-deprecation, Huntsman’s decision to post a video of this nature is a clearly constructed political tactic, even if his message is vague.
The man responsible for this video is reportedly the same person who produced Carly Fiorina’s Demon Sheep and Barbara Boxer’s blimp ads. Huntsman, however, is choosing not to attack his opponents, devoting all 26 seconds of his video to imagery that can only be described as pure Americana.
A spokesperson for Huntsman would not comment on the meaning of the ad, though Mary Kaye included this statement to accompany the video: “In less than a week, a new generation of conservative leadership will emerge. No loud voices or drama, instead a vision for America that reverses the course we’re on.”
For now, team Huntsman is taking the high road on the back of a motorcycle.
ABC News’ Amy Walter contributed to this report.