Jon Huntsman’s withdrawal from the Republican primary raises lots of important questions, including this one: What are his daughters going to do now?
The Huntsman daughters (the popular @jon2012girls, if you didn’t know) self-branded themselves as puckish surrogates for their father’s campaign, racking up YouTube hits for a parody of a Herman Cain ad in which they wore moustaches a la Cain chief of staff Mark Block, and posing for a spread in GQ.
“We are shamelessly promoting our dad like no other candidate’s family ever has,” Mary Anne Huntsman says in the parody ad. “But then again, no one’s ever seen a trio like the Jon 2012 girls.”
Huntsman’s campaign has ended, but could his daughters just be getting started? After all, the daughters of John McCain, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are working in TV now. After Huntsman’s resignation speech today, his daughters wrote on Twitter: “flames burn out in politics, our Dad’s has just been ignited. What an incredible journey for our family. Thanks for all the support!”
Indeed, Huntsman’s daughters, who’re in their early- to mid-20s, owe a special thanks to the media that have paid such attention to them: The daughters have been interviewed by nearly every major news outlet that covers politics.
The daughters sat down for an ABC “Top Line” segment in November to talk about their presence in Huntsman’s campaign (one of them, Abigail Huntsman Livingston, had worked for “Good Morning America.”). They acknowledged “becoming so viral” and memorably advised their dad to “blow bubbles” at the presidential debates, a nod to their performance in the Cain knockoff ad that parodies Block smoking a cigarette at the end.
“There seem to be so many of these sort of insta-personalities, which are generated on offshoots of quasi-celebrities themselves,” said Stephen Duncombe, a New York University professor who studies the cross of mass media and politics. “It’s simply name recognition. There’s nothing that any of them say that couldn’t be said by someone else, probably more intelligently.”
ABC News’s Amy Walter emailed the girls to see what their plans are; Abigail responded: ”Good question! For now it’s looking like a week off to breathe and catch up on some much needed sleep. Not sure what’s in store after that. Was an incredible experience for all of us.”