Huntsman cooks up support at Belmont campaign stop



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Presidential Candidate Jon Huntsman, Jr., former governor of Utah and ambassador to China and Singapore, spent a few hours on the Fourth of July in Belmont for a barbecue and the chance to meet with local voters. As he spoke to the crowd and national media, his five-year-old daughter, Asha, reached up to tuck an American flag in his lapel. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
July 06, 2011
BELMONT — Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman and his family enjoyed a busy but most patriotic Fourth of July as they made their way across New Hampshire on Monday as a part of Huntsman's newly launched campaign for the presidency in 2012.

After an appearance in a parade in Amherst, their next stop was a home barbecue in Belmont.

The family said they were enjoying the scenery, traditions and the one-on-one politicking New Hampshire affords potential candidates.

"Why Belmont? Why not Belmont? This is just beautiful, and I hope to get to all the other towns in this state before I'm through," said Huntsman as he enjoyed his grilled lunch.

After personally greeting the crowd who came out to meet him, Huntsman took time for media coverage from CNN and other local, state and national news outlets. He was introduced by hostess Linda Frawley of Belmont.

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Five-year-old Asha is a big supporter of her father, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, and his run for the presidency in 2012. Asha proudly held aloft a homemade Huntsman campaign sign when they attended a barbecue at Linda Frawley’s residence in Belmont on July 4. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
"I met Jon, and he said he wanted to have a house party, so welcome to my house," Frawley said.

Telling him the campaign months ahead would not always be as beautiful as it was on that day, she presented him with a beribboned ice scraper for the cold months ahead in his campaign.

As he stood before a backdrop of the White Mountains and Lake Winnisquam, Huntsman lauded the natural beauty of New Hampshire, and said it was a great state for him to get to know the residents, issues that matter to them and their thoughts on problems the country faces today.

"New Hampshire loves motorcycles. New Hampshire loves guns (and my name is Huntsman), and they love their veterans. So do I. And, there's another 'greatest generation' of men and women out there wearing the uniform of this country today whom we need to remember," he said.

Huntsman encouraged everyone to take another look at the Declaration of Independence, as he has done with his 12-year-old daughter, Gracie.

"Pull it out and read it again as a reminder of what makes us unique in the world. Looking back, as I have done from time in China, I can say that from 10,000 miles away, this is still a beautiful country to live in," he said.

Looking at a struggling economy, a lack of jobs, and problems facing the country for fuel and heating oil, however, he said now was not the time for derisiveness among political parties, but a time for civility.

"It's totally unacceptable to hand down to the next generation a country that is less than what we received from those before us," Huntsman said.

One point he brings to his campaign, he said, is the desire to create a pathway for growth in the nation, including tax and regulatory reform. Huntsman also said the United States needs to "get our position right in the world."

As the proud father of two sons currently serving in the U.S. Navy, he said he would work to make sure all military deployments were in keeping with the core of national security while not overextending resources.

When asked about fuel prices during a question and answer session with those attending the barbecue, Huntsman said it was a complicated issue that certainly needed to be looked at for alternative sources. As a two-term governor for Utah, he himself drove a vehicle powered by natural gas, and he felt there were still other choices that could be developed.

"It's going to take a product that people can afford to solve this matter," Huntsman said.

As a governor, he said some of his best ideas came from being out on the streets shaking hands with residents in Utah. New Hampshire, he said, is now critical to the success of his national campaign, as a state where he can get to know voters and at the same time let them know where he stands on issues of personal importance.

"It's exhilarating to run for president. I'm taking 'Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' as my mantra on this campaign trail," said Huntsman.

He said his 12-year-old daughter Gracie, however, told him she preferred the New Hampshire state motto of 'Live Free or Die.'

The former governor and ambassador to Singapore and China said his experience in the business world, state government and international trade has given him a unique and valuable resume, which he would now like to take to Washington, D.C.

"Take a look at where we've been and what we've done. Make an informed decision, and then come talk to us," he said.

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