Jon Huntsman sure sounds like he’s not gunning for another go of it.

In a series of public comments in recent weeks, the former U.S. ambassador to China and 2012 presidential candidate has signaled he’s unlikely to mount another presidential bid, instead devoting his time to private ventures and reasserting his voice outside electoral politics.

Speaking to a Google conference in Arizona last month, Huntsman laughed off the proposition of another White House bid.

When asked by former CEO Eric Schmidt, “Are you going to run again?,” he replied, “I might look crazy, but I’m not insane.”

(See video below, clip starts around 20:50)

“We’ve given the best years of our lives to politics,” the former Utah governor continued.  ”I believe that there is a season for all things, as the saying goes, and I think our season now is probably to reconnect with private life, to recharge and see where things go.”

Last week, in front of an audience of business leaders in Michigan, Huntsman assured the group: “Don’t worry. I’m not running for anything and I don’t want anything.”

And a day later, during an appearance at an elementary school in the early primary state of South Carolina, Huntsman also doused cold water on a future campaign.

The Island Packet newspaper characterized it flatly:  ”Huntsman said the 2012 process was a good experience, but he will not run again in three years, though he intends to continue to serve the public.

A Huntsman aide declined to comment on the record about that report.

But taken altogether Huntsman’s comments reveal he appears to have lost an appetite for another campaign within the window of the last half of the year.

When I asked him in April about 2016, his reply was certainly more murky: “I don’t know.  It’s way premature,” he said.

Perhaps one of the reasons Huntsman has soured on a presidential run is his bleak survey of his party’s prospects.”You can imagine another loss in 2016,” he said at the Google conference.  ”Then presumably the Republican Party is out until, what, 2024?  How do you maintain any viability as an alternative governing party during a length of years where the lights have been completely out?”(View that clip above starting around 15:15)

Read my April interview with Jon Huntsman HERE. 

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David Catanese

David Catanese is a national political reporter based in Washington, D.C. He previously worked at POLITICO and at NBC television affiliates in Missouri and North Dakota. He's appeared on MSNBC, CBS and Current TV and holds a masters in broadcast journalism from Northwestern University. He welcomes your tips, comments and suggestions at David , .

6 Comments to Huntsman drifts away from 2016 run

  1. If he’s not running for president, then why has he visited three states with early primaries (Arizona, Michigan, and South Carolina) in the last month?

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