The former Utah governor was in Hampton Wednesday afternoon to discuss policy and meet New Hampshire voters.
By Kyle Stucker, Editor
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman took a walking tour of downtown Hampton Wednesday afternoon as part of a New Hampshire trip he said is designed to reinforce his one main campaign strategy.
"Just be me -- just be me," said Huntsman, the former governor of Utah. "It's all I can do."
Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, and Hampton Beach Area Commission Chairman John Nyhan lead Huntsman around to a variety of businesses, including Chez Boucher Cooking School, the 401 Tavern, Galley Hatch, Me and Ollie's and several others.
Huntsman frequently stopped to speak with business owners, employees and strangers on the street to discuss his ideas, ranging from his jobs plan to our military presence in Afghanistan.
Huntsman, who ate shrimp and seafood at the 401 Tavern with Stiles, also showed some personality during his visit, which Stiles said has helped put the candidate "at the top of [her] list."
"I like him," said Stiles, who said she still hasn't endorsed a candidate despite the fact that she said Huntsman is currently her top choice. "I like a lot of the things he stands for... and I like that it's not all about him.
"All the candidates are good, but I think some of the candidates are all about 'here I am' and 'I can save the world.' That's just not me, and [Huntsman] isn't like that."
Nyhan said the visit gave him a chance to see what the former governor is all about in person, which was important because Nyhan said he wanted to see if Huntsman had the two things for which he is looking in a candidate.
“I need to see face-to-face sincerity,” said Nyhan. “I need to see that, and I need to see he has fire in the belly. I want somebody who is passionate and is not afraid to raise their voice a little bit while talking about their ideas.”
Several residents said Huntsman came across in that way as the former governor asked them about what they felt is the biggest issue for New Hampshire.
Often the response to Huntsman's main question was job- or economy-related, and Huntsman said his stop in Hampton was “wildly successful” because it gave him a chance to talk about the things that people in New Hampshire want to see accomplished.
“The work of the country isn’t getting done,” said Huntsman, who said he "will" win the presidency if he wins the Granite State. “We’ve got to fix that, and I think the election results will show that. It’s pretty fundamental: if the economy doesn’t work, the country doesn’t work.”
Huntsman was in Hampton for roughly two hours before leaving for several stops in Portsmouth.
The candidate also made stops in several other New Hampshire communities Wednesday, including Merrimack Patch.