Journalists compare Huntsman to Reagan

Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah and former ambassador to China, announced his bid for president Tuesday in the foreground of the Statue of Liberty. The governor’s choice of location drew many journalists to compare his speech with Ronald Reagan’s campaign launch in 1980 that was also made in Liberty State Park.

“Let’s get one thing straight right now: Jon Huntsman hasn’t merely invited a comparison to Ronald Reagan, he has demanded it,” wrote Craig Shirley and Bill Pascoe of the Daily Caller.

However, despite similar backgrounds and an evident attempt to channel Reagan, Huntsman’s speech had a key difference — its treatment of the incumbent president.  

“We will conduct this campaign on the high road,” said Huntsman during his address. “I don't think you need to run down someone's reputation in order to run for the Office of President. Of course we'll have our disagreements. That's what campaigns are all about. But I want you to know that I respect my fellow Republican candidates. And I respect the President of the United States.”

Jon Huntsman Presidential Announcement from Jon 2012 on Vimeo.

While Huntsman seemed to prefer attacking the president’s policies rather than the president himself, Reagan’s address spared little time before tearing into the presidency of Jimmy Carter.

“His answer to all of this misery?” Reagan asked after describing the state of the nation under Carter. “He tries to tell us that we are 'only' in a recession, not a depression, as if definitions—words–relieve our suffering. Let it show on the record that when the American people cried out for economic help, Jimmy Carter took refuge behind a dictionary.  Well if it’s a definition he wants, I’ll give him one.  A recession is when your neighbor loses his job.  A depression is when you lose yours.  Recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.”

Later in his speech, Huntsman referenced the parallel between himself and Reagan.

“President Reagan launched the 1980 general election campaign from this very spot. It was a time of trouble, worry and difficulty. He assured us we could “make America great again,” and through his leadership, he did. Today, I stand in his shadow as well as the shadow of this magnificent monument to our liberty … Each generation in their turn has worked very hard to keep her lit. Now it's our turn.”

Ranked-choice voting: A better way to reform the recall

A more accurate reflection of voters’ preferences

By Guest Commentary
Niners, Bengals stagger into Sunday bloodied and bruised

Injuries mounting as season heads for the home stretch

The incredible story of William Leidesdorff, San Francisco’s Black founding father

One of The City’s most important pioneers remains little-recognized today

By Benjamin Schneider