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Jon 2012 Girls say you haven't seen the last of Huntsman

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 8 2012 3:42 p.m. MST

Liddy Huntsman, left, Abby Livingston, middle, and Mary Anne Huntsman talk politics on Feb. 2, 2012, and how they helped their father, Jon Huntsman Jr., get his message out.

Marc Weaver, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Jon Huntsman may be taking a break from politics, but his campaign's secret weapons are still into it.

The "Jon 2012 Girls," Abby, Liddy and Mary Anne, are still tweeting and still pulling for their dad.

Earlier this month, the girls went where it all started for the father: the North Hollywood home where Jon Huntsman Jr. lived when he was voted "king" of his class in school.

"It's a perfect street," said Abby Livingston, Huntsman's daughter. The quiet, one-story house with a big pine tree in the front yard is a reminder of what was.

But Jon Huntsman Jr. isn't looking back. In fact, his daughters say he's probably aiming for the top again.

"I think we've realized that our dad, and it's very rare in this situation, his flame has just been ignited, and this is not the last you'll see of our dad," Livingston said.

But for now, it's post-campaign relaxation. And that, for the Huntsman daughters, includes a trip to a North Hollywood landmark: Henry's Taco stand.

Over tacos, they talked about Twitter and how they were amazed at how young people responded so fast.

"(We were) just amazed at how many people were following us and interested in what we had to say; and we were honest," Livingston said.

They were also funny, with tweets like the one about their dad's hair being "thicker and more authentic" than Mitt Romney's.

The girls' account, @jon2012girls, now has nearly 24,000 followers.

"People loved our commentary on the debates because we would say things that people were thinking, or we would say things that were true but entertaining," said Liddy Huntsman. "And I think people liked that coming from a candidate's family."

"It was a way to get younger people involved in politics, that normally wouldn't go anywhere near it," Livingston said.

And occasionally, a YouTube video did the trick, too. A high school student saw the girls' take-off on a Herman Cain ad, Liddy's brainchild, and decided to write a paper about it: a final project to pass the class.

"If someone had said I was going to be someone's final exam a couple years ago, I would have said, ‘No way! That's ridiculous,'" Liddy Huntsman said.

"I think that tweeting and getting out and introducing people to our dad in a different way was helpful," Livingston said.

The girls still want people to get to know their dad: a different Jon Huntsman since China and this latest campaign. Even now that he's out of the race, they're reluctant to use their online clout to back any other candidate.

"We're the Jon2012 girls; so at the end of the day, we still support our dad for president," Livingston said.

"We're all writing him in, if that's what you're asking," Liddy Huntsman added.

E-mail: rpiatt@ksl.com

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