Jon Huntsman Flexes ‘Phase 2′ Muscles in New Hampshire

Jul 26, 2011 3:19pm

ABC News' Sarah Kunin (@Sarah_Kunin) reports: 

After a week without a public event, Jon Huntsman reemerged in New Hampshire this afternoon at Dartmouth College's "Leading Voices in Politics and Policy" lecture series, with a fresh speech and a considerably larger state staff.

Though Huntsman would not confirm the exact number of employees on payroll, he told ABC News affiliate WMUR that the campaign “is evaluating several locations” throughout the Granite State. “we are building a great ground game, we have a terrific team and we are well organized throughout the state and we are going to be spending a whole lot of time here," he said.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Huntsman has 21 New Hampshire staffers on payroll -almost triple the amount of any other presidential candidate.

In Hanover, the former Ambassador focused primarily on the United States’ relationship with China, emphasizing the importance of bridging the industrial gap and “straightening our house” to work effectively with the country. “If we don’t have a core of strength and economic might, we’re of no help to the rest of the world,” Huntsman said, according to several reporters at the event.

He added that the United States can’t blame China for the current debt, and that “we have to admit that we dug the hole here.”

As for the United States’ involvement in international conflict, Huntsman was palpably candid. “We can’t do a damn thing about Pakistan. Only Pakistan can save Pakistan,” he said. “We can’t wish for stability in a nation state more than they do.”

Today a White House official lauded Huntsman’s work in diplomacy, telling the Salt Lake Tribune that he was an “effective” team player during his time as Ambassador to China and that he "worked really well as part of a team."

Huntsman, however, was not as kind to his former boss at Dartmouth today, telling the crowd that while he believes President Obama is a good guy, he has failed the country

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