- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 21, 2016

When former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman made his bid for the White House in the 2012 race, he looked presidential, gave a Reagan-esque speech in front of the Statue of Liberty, spoke fluent Chinese with a flourish — and then abandoned his bid six months later.

Then interesting things happened: Mr. Huntsman flatly announced in 2014 that he had no more interest in the White House. Six months ago, however, he told USA Today that he was being strongly encouraged to run as an independent from unnamed Republicans in a dither about GOP front-runner Donald Trump. He also admitted another presidential run “may be something that we’ll take a look at.”

So it appears that Mr. Huntsman, a mere 56 years old, is not done just yet. Joined by Joe Lieberman, a former senator and vice presidential candidate himself, Mr. Huntsman presents a “call to action for our presidential candidates” at an old-school, traditional political event in the nation’s capital on Thursday. The pair will appear before a select audience at a formal luncheon in a historic hotel six blocks from the White House.

Their mission is to unleash “an ambitious policy package that will speak to a critical and too-often ignored portion of the populace: 43 percent of Americans who identify as political independents and who will ultimately decide the 2016 election.”

The results: A “policy playbook for America’s next president,” the pair says, which can be previewed here.

The two have engaged Deloitte Consulting for marketing insight — which the muscular PR firm produced for nothing. “Old-fashioned political polling has helped us understand exactly what the majority of the American public wants.”

Mr. Huntsman is co-founder of No Labels, an interest group promoting bipartisan cooperation among politicians with a goal of breaking up Washington gridlock.

“The prevailing hurdle preventing our nation’s progress isn’t disagreement over particular policies. It’s an attitude — specifically, the hyper-partisan viewpoint that leads far too many of our leaders (and citizens) to completely dismiss, ignore or question the motives of people from the other party,” the organization notes in its mission statement.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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