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Best-seller's claims about Huntsman could hurt his political future

Published: Friday, Nov. 15 2013 7:17 p.m. MST

Joe Kildea, a spokesman for Red Rock, Huntsman's post-election political action committee based in Utah, had no comment on the book or its impact on Huntsman's political future.

Huntsman has not ruled out another run for the White House in 2016, but he told a conference in September after giving "the best years of our lives to politics," it's time "to reconnect with private life, to recharge and see where things go."

Peter Spaulding, a New Hampshire county commission chairman who helped Huntsman put together his Granite State team, didn't recognize the candidate's description in the book.

"He worked very hard," Spaulding said of Huntsman, who focused his entire campaign on the New Hampshire primary after money problems forced the closure of his national headquarters in Florida.

Even though Huntsman finished a disappointing third in the primary and dropped out of the race shortly after, Spaulding said his New Hampshire team remains loyal.

"I am absolutely positive not one of them would have had that opinion of him," he said. The same may not be true of the national campaign staff that had to relocate from Florida in the winter, Spaulding said.

"They were not happy about moving," he said. "It was a significant amount of grumbling from the people who moved up here. Some of them might have said something like that."

New Hampshire voters would give Huntsman another chance, Spaulding said.

"New Hampshire voters make up their mind on what they hear from the candidate," he said. "They're certainly not going to base their opinion on a book."

Hagle, the Iowa political science professor, said he didn't expect the book to cause lasting damage to Huntsman's standing with voters or even political insiders.

"It's not like there's any major revelations about bad behavior," he said. "It's still pretty small potatoes."

Email: lisa@deseretnews.com

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