WASHINGTON -- Despite giving up his phantom campaign months ago, real estate mogul Donald Trump evidently has had an imprint on the Republican presidential primary. Three candidates -- Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- have met with Trump, as has perpetual campaign flirt Sarah Palin. A fourth candidate, business executive Herman Cain, is set to rub elbows with Trump this week.
And while Romney scurried away from the Trump Tower hoping to avoid photographers waiting outside, he and others clearly calculated that it was better to embrace the Donald than to risk his ire.
Then there is Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor who has staked his candidacy on running what constitutes a reason-based campaign. In that context, his team has figured there's more to gain from picking fights with Trump than in sucking up to him.
When Romney went to visit Trump, Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller mocked the move.
"Hoping Romney wins the Trump endorsement today. Birtherism, trade wars, & helicoptering to press conferences really resonate in NH," Miller tweeted.
And when Trump responded by saying he wouldn't waste his time meeting with a candidate who "has zero chance of getting the nomination," Miller responded in kind.
@JonHuntsman isn't wasting his time w/ Presidential Apprentice. His focus is on real solutions to fix our economy.
It stands to reason that Huntsman will not be making a pilgrimage to Trump Tower any time soon. So when Trump tweeted on Friday that he had not returned a call from Huntsman to set up a meeting, it was either a symbolic reversal or simply misinformation.
The Huntsman campaign says it's the latter. His candidate didn't call Trump on Friday, Miller told The Huffington Post.
Earlier on HuffPost: