The Washington Post is reporting that current U.S. Ambassador to China John Huntsman, Jr. will resign his post in order to possibly run against President Obama in 2012. Huntsman is the former Republican governor of Utah:
U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman (R) is expected to resign in possible preparation for a 2012 presidential campaign, White House officials say.
While Huntsman has been quiet about his own plans, the former Utah governor has assembled a team of political operatives and fundraisers who would help him rapidly ramp up if he decides to run. At a dinner Saturday night, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley jokingly referred to the ambassador as "the Manchurian Candidate."
While Huntsman is considered a strong general election candidate, his service in President Obama's administration could keep him from ever getting there. As President Obama himself quipped in a recent news conference: "I'm sure that him having worked so well with me will be a great asset in any Republican primary."
The Obama comment regarding a Huntsman's candidacy came during Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States two weeks ago:
As we noted previously, Huntsman hinted at a 2012 presidential run earlier this month in a Newsweek profile.
“You know, I’m really focused on what we’re doing in our current position,” he said at the time. “But we won’t do this forever, and I think we may have one final run left in our bones.”
According to reports from Politico, Huntsman has sent President Obama his his letter of resignation:
In a letter hand-delivered to the White House, the former Utah governor said that he wants to return to the United States by May. The letter thanks Obama for the opportunity to serve the country and praises the U.S. embassy staff in Beijing.
If Huntsman won the GOP nomination, he would be challenging the reelection of his former boss. White House officials are furious at what they consider an audacious betrayal, but know that any public criticism would be likely to benefit Huntsman if he enters the primaries.