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NEW JERSEY — Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, who served as an Ambassador for the Obama administration, announced his candidacy for president of the United States today in Liberty State Park, N.J., the same location Ronald Reagan announced his candidacy in 1980.

“For the first time in our history, we are passing down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive and less confident than the one we got,”  Huntsman said. “This, ladies and gentlemen, is totally unacceptable and totally un-American.”

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Despite working in the Obama administration, Huntsman says he and the president have “a difference of opinion on how to help the country [they] both love.”

President Obama’s chief campaign strategist David Axelrod said that he was “surprised” by Huntsman’s bid for president, but added he certainly takes his candidacy seriously.

The Huffington Post Reports:

In large part, Huntsman has attempted to distance himself from the president amid recent speculation about his plans for 2012. Obama, however, has made light of the prospect that his former ambassador could run against him in the next election cycle.

“I’m sure the fact that him having worked so well with me will be a great asset in any Republican primary,” the president joked earlier this year.

In an email to his supporters Huntsman addressed his presidential aspiration.

“I’ve recently had the honor of serving as U.S. Ambassador to China. That view of America from 10,000 miles away is a picture of liberty, opportunity and justice; people secure in their rights and in love with their freedom, who’ve done more good for more people than any other nation in history,” he said.

“Perhaps our strength at home has waned, but that perspective from afar has helped me see a path back to greatness.”


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