This is a pretty surprising turn of events, because not only was Huntsman mentioned by many as a potential presidential contender in 2012, but this move will have the net effect of thumbing his nose at the entire Republican party. Because if anybody is Mr Bipartisanship in the Republican party, it’s Hunstman.

Mix this in with the Judd Gregg choice (even though it failed) and Arlen Specter’s move to the Democratic party, and you’ve got the appearance of Obama consistently building bridges.

From Wash Post:

Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. will be introduced today as President Obama’s choice as ambassador to China, a source familiar with the decision said last night. […]

Several Salt Lake City media outlets reported last night that Huntsman had accepted the offer to head the U.S. mission in Beijing, and that Lt. Gov. Gary R. Herbert would replace him as governor. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Huntsman was in Washington last night, but that calls to his spokeswoman and various staffers were not returned.

Huntsman was elected in November to a second term as Utah’s governor, drawing 70 percent of the vote. He served in the George W. Bush administration as deputy U.S. trade representative from 2001 to 2004 and, for President George H.W. Bush, was ambassador to Singapore. He is an expert on China, and he speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently.

Could Huntsman use this as a pivot to run for President in 2012? Doubt it. I think he has his eyes on 2016, when Republicans will most likely be looking for a way out of the hole. Yes, I could be wrong and the Republican party may recover, but I just don’t see the mood of the electorate shifting their way on anything but fiscal policy.

More as it develops…

Politics Huntsman To Be Ambassador To China