With political pundits scurrying to decipher even the minutest tea leaves emerging from the Ames Straw Poll, Jon Huntsman Jr. spent the weekend steadily staking his foothold in New Hampshire.
From Friday through Sunday, Huntsman participated in at least eight official campaign events in the Granite State. Friday at lunchtime, for example, he spoke to several dozen people at the Barley House restaurant in downtown Concord.
"Barley House owner Brian Shea said Huntsman's event drew the largest crowd the restaurant has seen so far in the campaign," the Concord Monitor reported. "But he said it's hard to compare because some candidates' events haven't been publicized in advance, as Huntsman's was. Still, Shea said, 'It shows he's building some buzz.' "
The Boston Globe also covered the Barley House event.
"Mostly, Huntsman focused on his economic prescription of cutting government spending — including entitlement programs and the Department of Defense — less regulation, lowering the tax rate while getting rid of loopholes, and using natural gas to move toward energy independence."
Between campaign appearances on Saturday, Huntsman sat down with CNN reporter Mark Preston and jabbed at consensus GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney.
"Huntsman told CNN that New Hampshire is a critical key for him in winning the nomination, and vowed to run an aggressive campaign in the months leading up to next year's primary. The former Utah governor also took the opportunity to take a not so veiled shot at rival Mitt Romney. … Polling shows that Romney is leading in the state, but Huntsman contended that people are still shopping around for a candidate. 'A front-runner should have had this place buttoned down,' Huntsman said."
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