John Huntsman Ambassador to China – Good Choice or Good PR?

President Obama’s recent confirmation of Utah Governor John Huntsman carries some certain intricacies not readily know or realized by the public. On the surface, the choice is great, almost a no brainier. Huntsman fits the China Ambassador mold just about as perfect as Obama could wish.

Huntsman and Obama

During his younger years, Huntsman served a mission for the LDS Church in Taiwan and became fluent in Mandarin Chinese. Then in 1999, he and his wife adopted a daughter, Gracie Mei, from China. In addition to the personal ties to China Huntsman has plenty political and business ties as well.

Under the direction of George H.W. Bush, Huntsman served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Ambassador to Singapore. In 2006, he went on a trade mission to China “because of their prominence on the world stage and the way in which they are growing so rapidly,” he told the Deseret Morning News of Salt Lake City.

Hunstman also carries very strong views about the environment and social responsibility, which China lacks. His environmental inniatives in Utah launched the state into a whole new understanding of the sustainability.

Overall, a pretty impressive China related resume. However, there could be a little more to the confirmation than Huntsman’s likeable resume. Chance are, President Obama looked at more than Huntsman’s resume, and focused on the public relations aspects of the choice.

With so much talk about bipartisanship, Obama has had his hands full trying to fulfill the promises that have been made on the campaign trail and while in office. Governor Huntsman matches the bipartisanship model and reduces a threat.

A threat? Why is Governor Huntsman a threat? According to Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, Huntsman is “the one person in that party who might be a potential presidential candidate.” Even Politico reported that with the nomination, Obama is “likely removing one of his strongest potential challengers in the 2012 presidential campaign from the running.”

Now Obama’s nomination of Huntsman takes a completely different form. Pictured to be a natural and seemingly perfect fit, Obama could simply be trying to assuring less competition in the future election.

Whether it is for the China related resume or the push for less resistance in 2012, Obama made a great PR decision. To the innocent onlooker the choice falls within Obama’s bipartisan promises and gives the U.S. a good chance with China. However, to the multi-layered information connoisseur, the nomination and confirmation is an interesting chess move. A chess move that could be attributed to egoism or altruism.

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About the Author:

As founder of PilmerPR, John Pilmer, APR serves as a PR and marketing communications advisor for both emerging and established companies. He offers customers more than 20 years of results-driven business PR and marketing experience. John and the firm have provided PR consultation and campaigns for clients such as Mozy, Novell, AdvancedMD, Certiport, NextPage, ElectraTherm, Altiris, Avamar, EmergeCore Networks, FSLogic, INVISUS, 10x Marketing, MWI, Project Insight, REIC, Seastone, US Synthetic and Funding Universe (now Lendio), among others.
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