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Huntsman Separates Himself From Obama, GOP Rivals

By Erin McPike - May 31, 2011

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Hours before Daniels announced he would not run, Huntsman was touring a motorcycle shop in Manchester, N.H. (both men like to ride). Asked which one would win in a motorcycle race, Huntsman said, "Oh, you're talking to someone who does this competitively. I think you should call a race."

It was a telling response. Despite his soft speaking style and all the diplomatic language Huntsman used as he wound his way through this New England state, the word supporters most often use to describe the near-certain candidate is "competitive." Two of his favorite things to mention are that the Pew Research Center named Utah as one of the best-managed states in the country when he was governor and that other reports say it has one of the best business climates in the country.

And that, in part, is why Huntsman thinks he'll be competitive for the nomination.

There wasn't one seminal moment in his career that indicated to him he was qualified to be president, he said, looking back most specifically on his governorship. "It struck me that we had done some interesting and innovative things," he said.

But his last two years in China -- almost a death knell to his political career if you ask certain Republicans -- contributed to his thinking about running.

"I think it's the totality of the experiences we've had that suggest we could be helpful" as president, he said.

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Erin McPike is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at emcpike@realclearpolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPike.

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