Tales from the Trail

2012 possibility? The candidate speaks Mandarin

President Barack Obama was asked bluntly about the buzz that his Ambassador to China may turn into a Republican rival for the White House in 2012.

A Newsweek article about Ambassador Jon Huntsman has been seen by some as hinting at a potential run for the White House by the former Republican governor of  Utah.

CHINA/Obama responded with praise and humor to the question posed at a news conference with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

“I think Ambassador Huntsman has done an outstanding job as ambassador for the United States to China.  He is a Mandarin speaker.  He’s brought enormous skill, dedication and talent to the job,” Obama said.

“And, you know, the fact that he comes from a different party I think is a strength, not a weakness, because it indicates the degree to which both he and I believe that partisanship ends at the water’s edge, and that we work together to advocate on behalf of our country,” the president continued.

Pence in Detroit: A campaign prelude?

Prominent House Republican Mike Pence has been frequently mentioned as a potential 2012 presidential candidate. On Monday, he played the part.

In a speech to the Detroit Economic Club, a favorite campaign stop for many aspiring White House contenders, Pence pushed the idea of a flat tax, a rollback of regulatory standards and a constitutional amendment to limit spending to 20 percent of GDP. USA/NRA

“We must have a mechanism that forces Washington as a whole to make the hard choices necessary to reform our nation’s addiction to big spending and unsustainable entitlements,” Pence said, according to a prepared text of his speech.