Potential presidential candidate Jon Huntsman made an appearance at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., Friday, and touted his social conservative credentials in front of traditional, pro-life audience.
Then, in a response to a question from The Daily Caller, Huntsman said an official announcement on his candidacy would come in the “next week or two.” When asked where he will make his announcement, Huntsman told TheDC “We’ll roll that out at an appropriate time and place – just to hold you in a little bit of suspense.”
At one point during his speech, the former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China even quipped that though he has lived overseas four times, “Don’t worry – I have a U.S. birth certificate.”
After initially breaking out in perfect Mandarin, Huntsman spoke about the importance of life issues even in the midst of an economic downturn and American values inspiring dissidents around the world.
“I do not believe that the Republican Party should only focus on our economic life, to the neglect of our human life. That is a trade we should not make,” said Huntsman.
“If Republicans ignored life,” he continued, “the deficit we will face is one that is much more destructive. It will be a deficit of the heart and soul.”
He even told the story of adopting his 12-year-old daughter who was abandoned in a vegetable market in China. “Now, why do I mention this? Because although you would not know it in this town, there is something more essential than politics,” said Huntsman. “And that’s life.”
He then spoke to the audience about the connection between government spending and liberty, saying that what the country is buying with its borrowed money is “serfdom.”
“What so many people don’t get about this fight about the debt ceiling is it’s not just about debt,“ he said. “It is about the size of government and the role of government in our society an our lives.”
Huntsman touted his record as Governor of Utah, saying that he signed off on the largest tax cut in state history and signed every pro-life bill that was sent to his desk. He also mentioned that Utah was named the best managed state in the nation by the Pew Research Center during his tenure.
“Utah has some of the greatest people in the nation,” added Huntsman. “In Utah, people know the difference between freedom and serfdom.”
“This is the moment when we will choose whether we are to become a declining power in the world, eaten from within,” he continued, “or a nation that regains its economic health and retains its long-loved liberties.”
Huntsman’s campaign-in-waiting has been in full force in recent weeks, with an emphasis on the early-voting state of New Hampshire. He recently made a five-day trip to the state, and will be returning within the next week.
Huntsman, often viewed as a fairly moderate Republican, has also been stepping up efforts to solidify his conservative bona fides. In a recent interview for Good Morning America, Huntsman distanced himself from President Obama’s foreign policy decisions and went on to say that he would repeal Obamacare and vote in favor of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan.
Huntsman will not be participating in the New Hampshire debate on June 13th because, he said, he’s “not a candidate yet.”
Huntsman campaign, once underway, will be based in Orland, Florida.