White House lavishes praise on Huntsman's support for Obama

The White House is showing no signs of letting up on its campaign for Ambassador Jon Huntsman’s presidential prospects - if anything, it’s in pile-on mode.

Chief of Staff Bill Daley on Sunday heaped praise on Huntsman (R), Obama’s ambassador to China who is resigning his post and is said to be mulling a challenge to his boss for the presidency.

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“He’s done an excellent job on behalf of the Obama administration,” Daley said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where he was barely able to suppress a smile as he spoke.

Then Daley went into overdrive. “[Huntsman’s] support of the Obama administration, his support of the president, the things he did on behalf of the administration, and the closeness in which he worked with the president is most appreciated. And I’m sure he’ll talk about that in the Republican primary.”

Huntsman, a former governor of Utah, accepted the appointment as ambassador by Obama in 2009. He announced last month that he would leave the post at the end of April, and supporters in the U.S. have been openly pushing him to seek the GOP nomination.

The White House has engaged in a concerted effort to play up Huntsman’s ties to the administration, which many political observers believe would doom him with the conservative Republican base.

Daley noted that there has been a lot of speculation about Huntsman, but he said has not heard the ambassador make any “inappropriate” statements about his political plans while he remains a member of the administration.