WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration strategy for dealing with the enlarging political ambitions of its China Ambassador Jon Huntsman has become seemingly unmistakable: suffocate him with praise.
On Sunday morning, White House chief of staff Bill Daley became the latest official to talk up the positive role that Hunstman -- a possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate -- played for the president, noting on several occasions just how close the two men were.
"I have not heard or seen any direct quotes from Ambassador Huntsman which obviously would be inappropriate,” Daley said. “But his support of the Obama administration, his support of the president, the things he did on behalf of this administration, and the closeness in which he worked with the president is most appreciated, and I’m sure we’ll talk about that in the primaries.”
If that weren’t fawning enough, Daley reiterated what an “excellent job” Hunstman had done “on behalf of the Obama administration” something that the president himself did during his last news conference.
Rarely do compliments from the boss come with such diabolical undertones. And while Huntsman clearly doesn’t benefit from being tied so closely to Obama, his one saving grace might be that his job with the administration had little to do with domestic affairs, which seem much more likely to dominate the primary process than China policy.