When the Obama administration named Jon Huntsman ambassador to China, it was seen by most as a political coup: The administration managed to look bipartisan while achieving a very politician objective; taking a potential challenger off of the board. And perhaps it was. Huntsman’s time in the Obama administration will certainly make it harder for him to survive a Republican primary. But as Jim Rutenberg reports, it’s also given him some unexpected political advantages:

It has bolstered his position as the only candidate in a field dominated by former governors to have direct foreign policy experience. And, as relates more closely to the building of a campaign, it put him in close proximity to some of the nation’s leading chief executives — and potential campaign donors and fund-raisers — as they sought assistance in doing business with China. Diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks show meetings with the leading executives from Cisco, Pfizer and Wal-Mart; close contact with the United States Chamber of Commerce; and requests for help from the Las Vegas Sands casino, the chairman of which, Sheldon Adelson, is a major Republican fund-raiser.

Currently, Nate Silver gives Huntsman 25:1 odds of winning the nomination. InTrade gives him at a 10.6 percent chance of winning. But there’s a long way to go yet.