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The former Utah Governor and former Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman officially announced his 2012 candidacy today. See video below of Huntsman’s announcement speech:

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Report from Reuters:

(Reuters) – Republican Jon Huntsman, the former U.S. ambassador to China, entered his party’s 2012 presidential race on Tuesday pledging to make “hard decisions” to prevent America sinking into a debt disaster.

Huntsman upset the White House in April by quitting his job in Beijing to take on his former boss, President Barack Obama who appointed him in 2009.

The former governor of Utah, Huntsman, 51, is lagging in polls of Republicans but has a high profile in the media and worries the Democratic Obama administration because of his possible cross-party appeal.

Speaking, with the Statue of Liberty in the background, Huntsman pledged to turn America around.

“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,” he said.

He was speaking at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, the site where former President Ronald Reagan launched his bid for the White House in 1980.

If Huntsman picks up traction in opinion polls, he could rival former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for the role of the moderate Republican candidate.

That’s a big IF Huntsman picks up traction in the polls which, frankly, I just don’t see happening. The moderate-right position is staked out heavily by Romney already and Huntsman will have to overcome a lot of obstacles to amount to anything. Name recognition off the bat will be an issue. Second, he’ll have to whittle a niche for another moderate in a cycle where GOP voters are looking for stark contrasts and conservative credibility to battle President Obama.

Best case, Huntsman is on the long list of VP picks should a strong conservative candidate win the nomination. Worst case he does not gain any traction in the polls and barely makes it to the Iowa caucus.

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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