Washington, May 16 (ANI): President Barack Obama plans to name Republican Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr. as ambassador to China, a senior administration official said.
Huntsman, who speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, is often mentioned as a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2012, although some of his advisers think the party primary voters will be more prepared to accept his moderate views on the environment and gay rights in 2016.
Huntsman was in Washington on Friday night, ahead of a planned Saturday announcement by the White House, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Several Utah news organizations said the governor would resign and accept the appointment.
Huntsman, 49, served a Mormon mission in Taiwan. The governor and his wife, Mary Kaye, adopted a daughter, Gracie Mei, from China in 1999. In 2006, he led 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.
The move has political ripple effects for both parties, giving Democrats one less potential challenger to worry about, and elevating the prospects for Romney and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. (ANI)