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Still civil, Jon Huntsman Jr. jabs Mitt Romney

Published: Tuesday, July 12 2011 7:19 a.m. MDT

Jon Huntsman Jr. implored voters Monday night in South Carolina to compare his gubernatorial record in Utah to Mitt Romney's in Massachusetts.

Huntsman, speaking to approximately 200 Republicans at Mutt's Barbeque in Greer, said, "Take a look at what we have done — simply stated take a look at what we have done. … When you look at the absolute increases in job creation, Utah led the United States in job creation. That compared and contrasted with other states — say, Massachusetts, I'll just pull that out randomly — not first, but 47th."

"Huntsman's critique was fairly gentle — he made clear he meant to refer to his main New Hampshire rival, without naming him," Maggie Haberman wrote for Politico. "It's not clear right now that Huntsman can gain the ground he needs by bringing a knife to what's quickly becoming a gun fight in advance of the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, but since he's skipping that state and has months until the New Hampshire primary, he has some time."

"While record-comparing is still the theme of Huntsman's stump speech, his delivery has taken a clear turn … (from) his usual no-names-mentioned approach to campaigning," observed ABC News reporter Sarah Kunin, who was present at Monday's event.

EMAIL: jaskar@desnews.com twitter: askargo

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