PETERSBOROUGH, N.H. — Jon Huntsman has a message for the winner of the Iowa caucuses.
“Welcome to New Hampshire,” he said in response to The Daily Caller’s question. “Nobody cares.”
While the rest of the Republican field scrambled for last minute votes in the Iowa, Huntsman was holding his 150th event here in the Granite State. Dressed down in cowboy boots and pacing across a large black H, he delivered a well-tuned stump speech that heavily emphasizes his foreign policy, while still taking the time to express his love of all things New Hampshire.
Huntsman has bet the future of his presidential campaign on a strong showing in next week’s “first in the nation” primary. Lately he’s begun inching up in the polls, and supporters say he has the energy and momentum to finally break out of the pack.
Bobbi Coffin brought her son’s family to see Huntsman. “I think he’s the only electable candidate,” she said. “And I want Obama gone.”
John Poltrack, a Democrat who voted for Obama in 2008, said he digs Huntsman’s moderate appeal and that he’s the only Republican he could vote for.
“Most of them are jokes,” he said. “Particularly Mitt Romney … It’s hard to say what the state will do, though. The state’s crazy.”
Dan Horning, a College Republican from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., decided to spend his winter break from school manning phone banks for Huntsman in New Hampshire. He said he’s impressed with Huntsman’s knowledge of the global economy and America’s debt crisis.
“I like how he understand that affects everybody,” he said.
Following opening remarks from former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, Huntsman introduced his wife Mary Kaye, who spoke briefly, and gave a quick shout-outshout out to his three daughters in the audience.
“Huntsman’s coming back,” one shouted back from the rafters.
But the truth is Huntsman never really left. Like former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in Iowa, Huntsman has poured nearly all of his time and money into winning this one key state. When asked if her dad was about to get last minute, Santroum-like surge in the polls, however, Abby Huntsman didn’t seem totally comfortable with the comparison.
“We’re going to have a Huntsman surge,” she said. “We’re not going to compare. We’re going to have our own surge.”