Drama Sweeps Through Huntsman's Month-Old Campaign
Top strategist rains down the f-bombs, makes women cry, as the candidate struggles in polls
Jon Huntsman's campaign emailed Republican donors this week to assure them that counter to "media-driven labels," the candidate is a "a conservative problem solver" with a record of supporting gun rights and opposing tax hikes, CNN's Peter Hamby reports. But Huntsman's record conflicts with that assertion in two ways. As is well-known, Huntsman has a fairly moderate record, including support for civil unions, which contradicts the "conservative" part. What Politico's Jonathan Martin reveals Thursday, however, is the less well-known evidence that Huntsman is not much of a "problem solver." Martin reports that Huntsman's campaign is being dragged down by mad drama, part Big Love, part Office Space.
On June 21, the night of Huntsman's less-than-stellar campaign launch, Weaver and others had a conference call with the advance teams in South Carolina and Florida, the next destinations on the announcement tour."He just started tossing out the F-bomb, saying that the day was the most f--ed-up thing he had ever seen," said a source on the call. "It was an odd call because they sounded like they were blaming the people not even involved with the day. I was like, 'Whoa, I didn’t do anything.'"
"[Huntsman's father] said, 'Jon seems to be down a little bit, you know, he’s surrounded by people he doesn't necessarily like,'" recounted Fischer about a phone conversation in early July with the man he calls "Senior."
Later in the month, at a donor's meeting in Deer Valley, Utah, Huntsman the elder again confided that he was upset about the campaign."Very concerned," is how Fischer described the father's frame of mind at the donor's event, adding: "You know, I think…the governor describes his dad as his best friend, so I think that they talk a lot. But there’s a limit to what the father can do."...When the elder Huntsman arrived at Liberty Park [the site of Huntsman's official entry into the race], he immediately noticed that his son's name was misspelled as "John" on the credentials, recalled Fischer."Huntsman Senior and his wife saw it within five seconds, too, and they came over. It was like, 'Who did this? They need to be fired. This is embarrassing.'"
Fischer and other inside sources said Weaver was partly responsible for the departure of [campaign manager Susie] Wiles as well as Spencer Geissinger, who had been head of advance, and Alysia Barzee, the campaign scheduler."Susie Wiles hated John Weaver," said Fischer. "I mean, I was on the phone at least three times with her when she was in tears because something Weaver had done to her."