Huntsman Gives Shout-Out to Dartmouth on SNL

The 2012 Republican primary race has been entertaining, particularly for New Hampshirites who have consistently seen grassroots politics in action as the presidential candidates tour through the Granite State pitching their ideas and policy solutions to save the country from a complete economic downfall with a current president who has done little to create jobs.  The spotlight has been shifting from candidate to candidate during the race as Republicans look for a leader with clarity and consistency with their ideology.  The debate has been greatly entertaining, and students at Dartmouth had the privilege of hosting the Republican Presidential Debate with Bloomberg, The Washington Post, and WBIN-TV.  I had the privilege of organizing the Student Watch Party with staff from The Rockefeller Center and a few of my classmates.  The Student Watch Party was a huge success, not only because of the 500 plus student turnout, but because three candidates – Bachmann, Huntsman, and Gingrich – stopped by afterward to say “hello” to Dartmouth students. Governor Perry met with students at Beta fraternity.  These candidates understand that face-to-face interaction is crucial to the success of their campaigns, particularly Governor Huntsman, who hosted his 100th townhall event last week in Portsmouth. He joked that he has developed a local accent and lives on a steady diet of lobster rolls.


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I have seen Governor Huntsman a few times in the past six months in New Hampshire, including a meet-and-greet at Jesse’s steakhouse, a lecture hosted by “Leading Voices in Politics and Policy” class, and thirdly, at the Republican Presidential Debate and Student Watch Party on campus. 

The former Ambassador to China appeared on Saturday Night Live this weekend, pitching a satirical comedic performance: “I love all of America, from Dallas, Texas, to Manchester, New Hampshire. From the majestic Rocky Mountains to New Hampshire’s scenic Lake Winnapausake. From the innovation of Silicon Valley to the affordable outlet malls in North Conway, New Hampshire.” He then called Seth Meyers “kind” and “wise” like a Dartmouth professor.  Efforts like this that appeal to young people will help Huntsman get the youth vote.  Another example can be seen by Huntsman’s daughters who released a comical spoof of Cain’s advertisements.  

The media has been having a field day as they shift the spotlight to each candidate throughout this race, and then tearing them down by finding “skeletons in the closet” with each candidate.  They have not been able to peg Romney, however, other than Romneycare, a precedent for President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  The Supreme Court Justices will vote on President Obama’s healthcare overhaul next June.  

The next debate will be tomorrow night, November 22nd, co-sponsored by The Heritage Foundation and CNN. Given that the topic will focus on U.S. foreign policy, and Huntsman’s extensive background as the former Ambassador to China, I predict that Huntsman will receive more airtime and questions than before, garnering media attention.

Melanie Wilcox