Looks like another GOP moderate may be out of the running as a potential Presidential candidate in 2012.
President Barack Obama reached across the political divide Saturday and named Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a potential Republican presidential contender in 2012, to the sensitive diplomatic post of U.S. ambassador to China.
Fluent in Mandarin Chinese from his days as a Mormon missionary in Taiwan, the 49-year-old Huntsman is a popular two-term governor who served in both Bush administrations. He has made a name for himself advocating a moderate agenda in one of the nation's most conservative states.
Huntsman made headlines recently for encouraging the Republican Party to swing in a more moderate direction if it wanted to bounce back from the 2008 elections, angering some conservatives.
Obama's 2008 campaign manager, David Plouffe, said Huntsman is a Republican who "seems to understand the party has to adjust — not stubbornly believe that everything is OK and it is the country that has to change." Huntsman's positions have led some to consider him a potential contender for president in 2012. But Obama's decision to name him ambassador probably rules out the possibility he would run in 2012, writes NBC's First Read. As Politico notes, it's the equivalent of George W. Bush hiring John Edwards or Hillary Clinton in 2001-2002.