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Huntsman Decries Web Video Aimed at His Daughters

Huntsman Decries Web Video Aimed at His Daughters

By Scott Conroy - January 6, 2012


CONCORD, N.H. -- During his long and difficult months grinding it out on the campaign trail here, Jon Huntsman has sought to position himself as the unemotional, sober-minded Republican candidate in the race.

But asked Friday morning about a racially tinged Web video that targeted members of his family and appeared recently on YouTube, the former Utah governor veered from his typically unruffled disposition and spoke as a protective father rather than a presidential candidate.

The video, uploaded on YouTube by a user identified as “NHLiberty4Paul,” featured clips of Huntsman -- the former ambassador to China -- speaking Mandarin, with a caption that asked, “American values or Chinese?”

A Paul spokesperson disavowed the “distasteful” video and told RCP that the Texas congressman’s campaign had no idea who was behind it.

“First of all, it’s just stupid,” Huntsman said of the video. “Second of all, yeah, I’ve lived overseas four times. I believe that our world gets to be a small, interconnected place -- much more than we think. I speak Chinese, of course I do.”

The video featured shots of Huntsman’s young adopted daughters under the caption “China Jon’s Daughters Even Adopted?”

“If somebody wants to poke fun at me for speaking Chinese, that’s OK,” Huntsman said. “What I object to is bringing forward pictures and videos of my adopted daughters and suggesting there is some sinister motive there. I have a daughter from China who was abandoned at two months of age in a vegetable market, picked up by the police and sent to an orphanage. No future, no hope, nothing to look forward to. Now she’s in my family, and she’s one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever known. She’s also, at 12 years old, my senior foreign policy adviser.”

Huntsman noted that he has a second adopted daughter from India who was left for dead after her birth before being rescued by a Catholic orphanage.

“So I have two little girls who are a daily reminder that there are a lot of kids in this world who don’t have the breaks you do,” Huntsman told the crowd of young people who had come to see him at the New England College Convention.

The Web video marked a nasty turn in the Republican race as New Hampshire Primary Day nears.

Huntsman and Paul are fighting over many of the politically independent voters who could have a major impact on Tuesday’s results.

“We just find it totally distasteful, and it’s hard to believe that anybody who could put out something like that -- they clearly can’t share any of Dr. Paul’s principles,” said Kate Schackai, Ron Paul’s New Hampshire communications director, who said that someone emailed the video to the campaign on Thursday. “I can say that we had zero to do with it and find it just ridiculous.” 

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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