President Obama's ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, is expected to resign in the coming weeks to explore a potential campaign for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, according to reports.
Huntsman's expected departure comes after a month-long public flirtation with a 2012 White House bid, which started after the former Utah governor hinted at a run in an interview with Newsweek published earlier this month.
"You know, I'm really focused on what we're doing in our current position," Huntsman said. "But we won't do this forever, and I think we may have one final run left in our bones."
News of Huntsman's expected departure as ambassador to China was first reported by Politico.
Back in the spring of 2009, it was Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, who identified Huntsman as one potential GOP contender who makes him a "wee bit queasy." The president named Huntsman ambassador to China later that same month.
Late last week, GOP operative Susie Wiles signed on as executive director of Huntsman's new political action committee. The former governor reportedly has a core of top advisers already laying the groundwork for a possible run.
Before January's state dinner at the White House, Huntsman was asked if he was considering a run in 2012. He answered, "We're loyal to our country and our president."
The question to Huntsman came after Obama joked that the former governor's role in his administration might not be the best launching pad for a presidential run.
At a White House news conference, Obama praised Huntsman's work as ambassador, adding, "And I'm sure that him having worked so well with me will be a great asset in any Republican primary."