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Speculation erupted Tuesday after Jon Huntsman's campaign sent out a mysterious alert that the candidate would make a "major announcement" Wednesday. Quickly reporters guessed it was an endorsement, and then wondered if it might be former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a big deal that would help reinvigorate Huntsman's struggling campaign. It was not to be. Instead, Huntsman got the thumbs up from Bush's 28-year-old son, Jeb Jr., in a post on the campaign's website. ABC's Sarah Kunin headlined the news, "Jon Huntsman's 'Major Announcement'? Not So Much."
The Miami Herald
reports that it's highly unlikely Jeb Jr.'s endorsement will make much difference. Jeb Jr. would have to disagree, though. In his endorsement, he says Huntsman has the best chance of beating President Obama, and he should know, because he has a history of picking winners: "Two years ago, I jumped on board Marco Rubio's campaign when he was polling at 3 percent, and we made history." (Rubio was elected to the Senate last fall.) Jeb Jr. says Huntsman has the best chance of beating President Obama, but he has a long way to go before he makes that kind of history: he's averaging just under 2 percent
in national polls.
Maybe that's why, as Kunin explains, Huntsman has cried wolf before:
This isn't the first time the Huntsman campaign has rolled out a relatively dry endorsement as a top-secret revelation.
In July, the campaign listed a vague "South Carolina Announcement" on Huntsman's upcountry itinerary. The much-anticipated event turned out to be an endorsement from the widow and two sons of late South Carolina Carroll Campbell. Son Mike Campbell had already announced his support for Huntsman in May, after Mike Huckabee decided not to run for president.
On the other hand, Huntsman just got the biggest Bush name so far. None of the grownup Bushes
have endorsed a candidate in the 2012 primary. Former President George W. Bush has said he won't endorse anyone.
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is the former politics editor for The Wire