Huntsman Pulls a Reverse Rudy

Jeff Zeleny scoops that Jon Huntsman, The First Presidential Candidate to Base His Campaign in Orlando*, will move his forward operating base to New Hampshire.

The changes were an acknowledgment that the only plausible way forward for Mr. Huntsman was to gain a toehold in New Hampshire, where he has shown movement in recent polls. The move to New Hampshire allows him to focus entirely on the state, while Mitt Romney, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and other candidates are competing in multiple states.

Well, yes. New Hampshire has some population of independent voters who can pick Republican ballots. New Hampshire is small enough for a candidate to charm-offensive his way across it over the course of a few months. This brings us to Rudy Giuliani, who – according to campaign mythos – gave up on all the primary states save Florida back in 2008, banking his campaign on a strong finish there. That was never 100 percent true. Giuliani campaigned in New Hampshire, scored key endorsements there (including that of then-Manchester Mayor, later Congressman Frank Guinta), and… stunk up the place, losing steam as he worked over the electorate. That was only partially a function of the electorate’s conservative tilt in 2008. It had a lot to do with Giuliani’s weak, arrogant retail campaign. Huntsman doesn’t have that problem.

*direct, tongue-in-cheek quote from Huntsman staffer a week ago