PORTSMOUTH, NH – Jon Huntsman held his third event of Thursday in Portsmouth amid question of how he will sustain his GOP presidential bid in the Granite State with the massive support thrown behind his chief rival.
Looking around the room at the business luncheon hosted by his campaign state co-chair Renee Reidel, you would be hard pressed to find those who were not committed Huntsman supporters. But there is a nagging question that pops into many supporters’ heads and that come up at many of Huntsman’s town halls: how can he close the gap and win the New Hampshire primary against Mitt Romney?
One of Huntsman’s supporters phrased his question much more creatively than the rest when he cast Romney as Goliath — having more money, more “cronies” and more media attention than Huntsman, and Huntsman as David. His question: “how does David bring down Goliath?”
Huntsman called it a fair analogy.
“You have to have a market moving event,” Huntsman told the supporter. “You know, Rick Santorum in Iowa did an interesting thing. I was actually ahead of him in one poll in Iowa. We didn’t spend any time — wasn’t even competing in Iowa. We were at six I believe, in one poll and he was at five. I think that was about a week and a half ago. And I say he put in a lot of work on the ground proving that grassroots politicking still means something.”
Huntsman is hoping that he can do in New Hampshire what Santorum was able to do in Iowa. He will be the first to tell you that no one has worked harder or put in more time in the Granite State.
“You can’t Twitter your way to prosperity. You can’t Facebook your way to prosperity,” Huntsman said. “You have to be in the state. You have to be felt, you have to be seen, you have to be heard.”
Huntsman contends that the investment he is making in New Hampshire will help him come out on top come Tuesday. He also seems aware that failure to perform could mean the end of a campaign.
“I’m guessing the retail politics we’ve done in this state will endure to our benefit in creating a market moving event,” said Huntsman. “You don’t have a market moving event, you’re done. Just like the marketplace for business. So I’m guessing the work we’ve done in this state is going to create a market moving event.”
Huntsman has been telling reporters all week that if he can beat market expectations, it will build momentum for his campaign and help him fundraise and recruit more volunteers to help take his message for economic recovery across the country,
“So we’re going to leave it to the political marketplace here, having done everything we know how to do and leave it to the wisdom of the people of this state who always have been able to prove in the past that underdogs can rise up and defeat those Goliaths from time to time. That’s the American political tradition.”