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Kissinger praises ‘very intelligent’ Huntsman
“I think he’s intelligent, well-poised,” said Mr. Kissinger, who met Mr. Huntsman on Tuesday at a lunch in New York and spoke with reporters and bloggers in Washington on Wednesday. “Did a good job in China. Certainly makes a good candidate.”
Mr. Huntsman, 51, was appointed to his Beijing post by President Obama in 2009 after being re-elected as governor of Utah. A fluent Mandarin speaker, he resigned his ambassadorial post in April to pursue a presidential run, which he will make official next week.
The German-born Mr. Kissinger, who served as secretary of state from 1973 to 1977, has been out promoting his new 530-page book, “On China,” a collection of his reflections on his diplomatic experience with China and his prescriptions for U.S. policy going forward.
“I normally don’t endorse candidates, and part of the reason is that when I endorse a candidate, he loses,” he said, citing his support for Nelson Rockefeller in three Republican primary campaigns.
Mr. Kissinger, who is credited with President Richard M. Nixon’s opening a new chapter in U.S.-China relations, said his preference is not to pick sides but to “be available for foreign-policy advice” to all candidates, including Mr. Obama.
“I was 88 on my last birthday,” he said. “I have no ambition, so I think my best contribution now is to help what I consider a reasonable foreign policy.”
“It’s no secret that Obama was my second choice in the last election, but I think they’ve handled [China] reasonably,” he said, adding that without a breakthrough in the stormy bilateral relations, “you can’t give them an A-plus.”
“I’ve had no contact with him other than his being ambassador. He says when he was 7 years old, his father visited the White House and he carried my briefcase,” the former diplomat said. “I don’t remember it.”
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About the Author
Ben Birnbaum is a reporter covering foreign affairs for The Washington Times. Prior to joining The Times, Birnbaum worked as a reporter-researcher at the New Republic. A Boston-area native, he graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University with a degree in government and psychology. He won multiple collegiate journalism awards for his articles and columns in the Cornell Daily Sun.
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