Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor and ambassador to China who is edging toward a presidential run, said Saturday it is unfortunate that Mike Huckabee will not be in the field for 2012.

"It is unfortunate that we will not have his voice -- or his bass guitar -- in the presidential debate, as our party would have benefited from his involvement," Huntsman said in a statement. 

Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, said on his Fox News show that he will not run for president.

Huntsman's statement had nothing but kind words for Huckabee.

"I'm confident that he will continue to be a positive force in the national conversation no matter his future endeavors and I look forward to his continued friendship," he said.

Huckabee, and the devoted conservatives who make up his base of support, will likely continue to play a big role in the Republican primary race.