The Washington Post

Jon Huntsman’s “Worst” week

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, after a less-than-expected third place finish in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, won our “Worst Week in Washington” award for the week.

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman celebrates his third place finish at his election night party January 10, 2012 in Manchester, New Hampshire. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT

Here’s our writeup on why Huntsman “won”:

It’s pretty tough to make a Beatles song sound uncool.

But former Utah governor Jon Huntsman did just that when he channeled the Fab Four following his disappointing third-place finish in the New Hampshire presidential primary on Tuesday.

“I’d say third place is a ticket to ride, ladies and gentlemen,” Huntsman said to his supporters. “Hello, South Carolina!” Um, awkward.

Huntsman, who served as the Obama administration’s ambassador to China before returning home last year to run for the GOP nomination, had staked his campaign on a surprisingly strong showing in the Granite State.

He visited New Hampshire more than 150 times — nearly double the number of pilgrimages any of his rivals made — and skipped the Iowa caucuses entirely. “They pick corn in Iowa,” Huntsman said in late December. “They actually pick presidents here in New Hampshire.” (On a related note, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, with whom Huntsman is, well, not close, won Tuesday’s vote convincingly.)

Huntsman’s assertion that his third-place showing — behind Romney and libertarian-aligned Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) — validated his campaign not only rang hollow but also evoked memories of the spin offered by Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut (then a Democrat) after his fifth-place finish in New Hampshire in 2004. “We are in a three-way split decision for third place,” Lieberman said. “The people of New Hampshire put me in the ring, and that’s where we’re going to stay.” Again, awkward.

Polling in South Carolina suggests that Huntsman rates in the single digits when it comes to support in the state’s Jan. 21 primary. Things can change. But they probably won’t.

Jon Huntsman, for thinking your hard day’s night amounted to a ticket to ride, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Making family dinnertime happen
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
New limbs for Pakistani soldiers
Play Videos
A veteran finds healing on a dog sled
Learn to make this twice-baked cookie
How to prevent 'e-barrassment'
Play Videos
Syrian refugee: 'I’m committed to the power of music'
The art of tortilla-making
Michael Bolton's cinematic serenade to Detroit
Play Videos
Circus nuns: These sisters are no act
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
Cool off with sno-balls, a New Orleans treat