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Huntsman Announces He Won't Attend GOP Convention, Bashes Party Direction

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If there was any question of bitterness between Jon Huntsman and the Republican Party following his extremely underwhelming showing in the 2012 primary campaign, the frustration was made clear Friday, when the former Utah governor announced that he would not be attending the party convention this year, or any year after until the GOP changes direction.

"I will not be attending this year’s convention, nor any Republican convention in the future," Huntsman told the Salt Lake Tribune, "until the party focuses on a bigger, bolder, more confident future for the United States — a future based on problem solving, inclusiveness, and a willingness to address the trust deficit, which is every bit as corrosive as our fiscal and economic deficits."

Huntsman says he has been to every convention since 1984, and wants the party to return to "the party we have been in the past from Lincoln right on through Reagan, that was always willing to put our country before politics."

"Country First" was the last minute campaign theme of the former Republican presidential candidate who managed to carve a niche during the primary as a Republican loved by MSNBC, but often finding himself at odds and in petty disputes with other Republicans.

Huntsman ended his campaign in January and gave an immediate--and chilly--endorsement to long time rival Mitt Romney. The former Utah Governor's presidential campaign completely bypassed Iowa and focused nearly the entire campaign operation on New Hampshire. Despite this, Huntsman finished six points behind runner-up Ron Paul and twenty-two points back from winner Mitt Romney in the January 10 primary.

At different points during the campaign Huntsman took shots at other Republican candidates that some conservatives saw as below the belt, then after the campaign mumbled about a possible third-party candidate yet shot down reports that he was at odds with the Republican Party.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Huntsman was uninvited to a Republican National Committee event in Florida last March after he suggested that the nation needed a third-party candidate that offered an alternative to the Republican and Democratic options.

Huntsman had collected two delegates in the Republican primary-- one from New Hampshire and one from Texas. 

CNN reports that former Virginia Governor George Allen will also not attend the convention due to the heated Virginia Senate race he's engaged in. Heather Wilson and Rep. Denny Rehberg, both GOP Senate candidates in New Mexico and Montana also will not attend the convention to focus on tight races.

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