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Jon Huntsman’s “Dear John” letter to ex-New Hampshire governor John Sununu

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This might be a first. A presidential candidate writes a letter to someone who has endorsed his rival. Is it sour grapes? Is it an effort to get them to reconsider? Who knows.

But straggling 2012 Republican presidential contender Jon M. Huntsman Jr, whose campaign strategy seems to be hit-Mitt-over-and-over-again, sent a letter to John Sununu, ex-New Hampshire governor, who endorsed Mitt Romney on Monday, to plead his case.

Jim Cole

AP

Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman speaks at a campaign event at the Town Hall Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011, in Hopkinton, N.H.

In the letter, which makes the argument that Romney is not a real conservative, Huntsman mentions his service in the Reagan and George Bush administrations as proof of his conservatism. Guess which job he didn’t mention in his Dear John letter? (Umm, that would be his appointment as President Obama’s ambassador to China.)

Huntsman closes by saying: “Mitt Romney and I have two very different records and visions for America’s future, which I look forward to sharing with voters in New Hampshire and across the nation. I even look forward to sitting down with you at some point if you ever care to learn the truth.”

Hard to tell if that’s a lunch invite or an insult.

Full letter below.

An Open Letter from Jon Huntsman to John Sununu:

Governor Sununu,

Over the course of this campaign you have made it abundantly clear that you would endorse a conservative governor – a laudable criterion.

However, I am surprised that you believe Mitt Romney meets that threshold. Consider some of the fundamental issues:

While Mitt Romney opposed the Bush tax cuts and raised taxes and fees by $750 million in Massachusetts, I signed the largest tax cut in Utah history which helped our state lead the nation in job growth.

While Mitt Romney implemented government healthcare in Massachusetts – which included an individual mandate and became the blueprint for Obamacare – I signed free-market healthcare reform described as “the other end of the spectrum” from the Obama-Romney approach.

While Mitt Romney once declared that he does not “line up with the NRA” and pledged to not “chip away” at Massachusetts’ onerous gun control laws, I signed landmark legislation to defend the Second Amendment.

While Mitt Romney was once ardently pro-choice – stating in 1994 that “abortions should be safe and legal” – I am proud to be a lifelong defender of the sanctity of life.

While Mitt Romney proudly declared himself an independent during the Reagan-Bush years – even saying during his Senate campaign that he was “not trying to return to Reagan-Bush” – I am proud to have served in President Reagan’s administration which ushered in a golden era of prosperity in America.

When you look at his past statements, positions and voting record, the idea that Mitt Romney is a principled conservative is an impossible conclusion. It is more than his one term dealing with a liberal legislature; it’s a lifetime and record of inconsistent and liberal positions.

One last thing I almost forgot to mention: while we both served President George H.W. Bush – you as Chief of Staff and me as ambassador to Singapore – Mitt Romney supported and voted for Democratic presidential candidate and potential Bush opponent Paul Tsongas.

Mitt Romney and I have two very different records and visions for America’s future, which I look forward to sharing with voters in New Hampshire and across the nation. I even look forward to sitting down with you at some point if you ever care to learn the truth.

Sincerely,

Jon Huntsman

And here is Huntsman on Fox News discussing the endorsement:

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