Major SC newspaper endorses Huntsman

Jon Huntsman was endorsed by Columbia, S.C.'s The State newspaper on Sunday.

The endorsement comes less than a week before the South Carolina primary and comes as Huntsman quickly tries to gain traction in the Palmetto state. The State's endorsement is actually similar to what happened just before the New Hampshire primary: Mitt Romney's hometown paper, The Boston Globe, backed Huntsman in a long editorial in which it compared Romney with the former Utah governor. Like the Globe endorsement, The State praised both Romney and Huntsman but said Huntsman was the better candidate.

"There are actually two sensible, experienced grownups," The State editorial reads. "And while Mr. Romney is far more appealing than any of the other choices, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is more principled, has a far more impressive resume and offers a significantly more important message."

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The editorial highlighted Huntsman's time as governor of Utah and also highlighted his foreign policy credentials, reiterating Huntsman's explanation for serving as an ambassador in the Obama administration.

"He served as President George H.W. Bush’s U.S. ambassador to Singapore and President George W. Bush’s deputy U.S. trade representative and U.S. trade ambassador, and the next entry on that resume is even more impressive: He was a popular and successful governor in an extremely conservative state, well positioned to become a leading 2012 presidential contender, when Mr. Obama asked him to serve in arguably our nation’s most important diplomatic post, U.S. ambassador to China," the editorial continued. "It could be political suicide, but he didn’t hesitate. As he told our editorial board: “When the president asks you to serve, you serve."

Also similar to the Globe editorial, The State editorial concludes while Romney could be a candidate who unites, isn't trying to just score political "points" and has the necessary background, "temperament and judgement" to be president, Huntsman already has all those attributes.

"We think Mr. Romney could demonstrate those characteristics," the endorsement ends. "Mr. Huntsman already does. And we are proud to endorse him for the Republican nomination for president of the United States."

Huntsman is likely to mention the editorials often alongside two other South Carolina endorsements: that of the state's former and current attorneys general, who endorsed him well before the South Carolina primary. He's also regularly touted The Wall Street Journal editorial page's praise of his tax plan.

The most recent Public Policy Polling survey of South Carolina found Huntsman with 5 percent support of Republican voters, behind Romney (29 percent), Newt Gingrich (24 percent), Ron Paul (15 percent), Rick Santorum (14 percent) and Rick Perry (6 percent).