Huntsman says he's feeling mojo in N.H.

By HIL ANDERSON, United Press International  |  Jan. 8, 2012 at 2:40 PM
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Jon Huntsman says he trusts his instincts rather than polls and pundits as he heads into the potentially do-or-die New Hampshire primary.

The former Utah lawmaker and ambassador to China has been focused on the Granite State for months and is hoping a good showing this week will get him back in the running for the Republican presidential nomination.

"We have to show big," Huntsman said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "You've got to make something happen one of the early states to prove the point that you are electable, that the math can line up in your favor, and I believe that's going to happen right here."

Huntsman said his confidence was based on some positive energy coming out of New Hampshire, where he has been stumping relentlessly and has a robust campaign organization firing on all cylinders.

"You can look at the polls but they are a snapshot of various factors at a particular moment," Huntsman said. "You get one that says 8 percent, one that says 16 percent. All I can tell you is there is something on the ground that tells me that all of the work we've done is going to pay off in the end."

Huntsman said a solid showing would also have to convince the national media that he is more than a fluke who will be able to carry on past New Hampshire through the exhausting primary schedule. He said that, like it or not, depending on how impressed the pundits are at the end of the day.

"The pundits who are following the race will determine what the bar is that we must clear on Tuesday," Huntsman said. "Wherever that political marketplace is set, everyone will know that Huntsman has to do thus and such to move on."

Huntsman will likely have to rely on his rivals slowing Mitt Romney down if he is to make the necessary splash in New Hampshire, and the field has been doing its part by hectoring and bashing the front-runner as much as they have been sticking it to President Obama.

Senior White House adviser David Axelrod said Romney had his work cut out for him in New Hampshire despite his New England roots.

"It's clear there are a majority of Republicans who are resistant to him," Axelrod said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." "He only got a quarter of the vote in Iowa."

Huntsman has had to parry some blows himself in New Hampshire. During Saturday's debate in New Hampshire, he responded to Romney's chiding him for serving as Obama's Ambassador to China rather than remaining in the Republican trenches.

"I want to be very clear with the people here in New Hampshire and this country: I will always put my country first," he said. "And I think that's important to them."

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