(with reporting from Justin Miller)
Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. (R) stunned his state when his spokesperson announced the governor's support for civil unions. 70 percent of Utahns oppose civil unions, but their objections won't count against Huntsman who said he won't run for a third term as governor - but they could weigh heavily on a 2012 White House run. Huntsman is presidential-quality timber. One of the most popular governors in the country, he's smart, has deep pockets that could fund a campaign and he's had a conservative record earned by cutting taxes and slimming government. He is pro-life and calls himself a social conservative. In fact, the Weekly Standard calls him as "impressive as [Bobby] Jindal, though far more moderate." After this week's development Huntsman will live up to the "far more moderate" label. Huntsman was one of the first governors to endorse John McCain in 2008 and stayed with McCain through The Troubles.
he run for president, Huntsman would take heat, just as ex-Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney The
Republican base, by and large, is suspicious of candidates who support any legal recognition of same-sex couples. A large plurality -- maybe a
majority -- of early Republican primary voters are viscerally
uncomfortable with homosexuality and view it as a threat.