Saturday, May 16, 2009
Obama Names Anti-Equal Marriage Mormon As Ambassador
President Barack Obama named Republican Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. as his pick for ambassador to China, likely removing one of his strongest potential challengers in the 2012 presidential campaign from the running.
In an unusual Saturday announcement broadcast live on some cable networks, Obama acknowledged that Huntsman’s decision might not be easy for him to explain to the Republican Party.
And Huntsman said he, as a former national co-chairman for Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign, never expected “to be called into action by the person who beat us,” but added that "When the president of the United States asks you step up and serve in a capacity like this, that to me is the end of the conversation and the beginning of the obligation to rise to the challenge."
The move is freighted with political intrigue. Huntsman, who speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, quickly emerged after November as one of the leading moderate GOP voices. While he does not support same sex marriage, and fully supported a state amendment to ban equal marriage (That passed) he says he is alright with civil unions.