All of which causes me to wonder if Huntsman really doesn't have his eye on 2016, not 2012, even if he runs. That was the original assumption when he agreed to join the Obama administration--that he'd gain valuable foreign policy experience and avoid having to confront a Democratic superstar in Barack Obama (that was the view two years ago, anyway). So why run in 2012 if the real goal is 2016? Because it often takes more than one try to win the nomination. Look at John McCain. Or Mitt Romney. Or even the sainted Ronald Reagan. It's probably even harder for a rookie to win it today than it was in Reagan's time, given the explosion of media, the unending and overwhelming scrutiny, and the resulting pressure on candidates. Presumably, Romney will be a better candidate this time around because he's had the experience of running once before. If Huntsman runs and loses in 2012, he'll probably be a better candidate in 2016, and the political climate might also be more favorable for him then.
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