Politics

Jon Huntsman: My rivals haven’t lived overseas like me

Alex Pappas Political Reporter

GOP presidential candidate and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman bragged to students at George Washington University on Tuesday evening that he’s the only Republican running for the White House who has spent a substantial amount of time living outside the United States.

“I’ve lived overseas four times, as I mentioned earlier,” Huntsman said. “You’re not going to find any other candidate who has spent any time overseas — maybe, you know, a trip here or there — who has been a practitioner of foreign policy.” (RELATED: Facing unease from conservatives, Cain to get specific on foreign policy)

Huntsman, who speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and has served in the Obama administration as ambassador to China, made the remarks in a speech to a packed house of College Republicans.

Huntsman, a Mormon, spent two years in Taiwan as a missionary. Likewise, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, another Mormon candidate for president, spent time as a missionary in France.

Other candidates have spent time overseas, though not in a diplomatic role like Huntsman. Texas Gov. Rick Perry spent time out of the country in the Air Force, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich spent part of his childhood living in Europe, for example.

Huntsman didn’t call out any of his opponents by name while speaking about their lack of overseas experience.

The former governor of Utah also acknowledged during his speech that some Republicans haven’t gotten behind him because he was the ambassador to China during the Obama administration.

Huntsman said: “There are some Republicans who look at me and say, ‘That Huntsman guy. No way, no how, would I ever vote for him. He worked for a Democrat.’ And I say, ‘I worked for a Democrat. I was asked by my president to serve.’”

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