The Sunday morning talk shows were buzzing yesterday with news that Jon Huntsman Jr. may be interested in the Republican nomination for the White House in 2012. The discussion got its start from Newsweek magazine, which posted a lengthy feature, "The Manchurian Candidate," on Saturday. Huntsman is currently U.S. Ambassador to China -- hence the "Manchurian candidate" reference. President Obama picked Huntsman for the slot, a move that political insiders said may have been aimed in part as removing a strong potential rival from the 2012 race. But Huntsman isn't out of the picture. Newsweek asked if he would rule out a 2012 run, and Huntsman declined to comment. Here's what he did have to say about his presidential ambitions:
You know, I'm really focused on what we're doing in our current position. ... But we won't do this forever, and I think we may have one final run left in our bones.As Steve Toloken, Plastics News' Asia bureau chief, wrote in 2009, Huntsman is a familiar face to the U.S. plastics industry. He's a member of the family that owns part of The Woodlands, Texas-based chemical and plastics supplier Huntsman Corp. He also served as a top executive at Huntsman Corp., where his brother Peter is CEO and his father Jon Sr. -- the company founder -- is chairman. On the political side of his resume, Huntsman has been U.S. ambassador to Singapore, deputy U.S. trade representative responsible for Asia and governor of Utah. Toloken caught up with Huntsman last year at a news conference in Shenzhen -- check this link for his story, plus a link to an audio clip of Huntsman responding to a question about a U.S. manufacturer that planned to withdraw its research and development work from Shenzhen over IP concerns. Meanwhile, here's an update on a plastics executive who is, indeed, on his way to Washington. Larry Bivins, who covers Washington for the Appleton, Wis., Post-Crescent, wrote a feature on Ron Johnson, the new GOP senator from Wisconsin. Johnson will be sworn in on Wednesday. The story points out that with Johnson going to Washington, his younger brother Barry will take over management of Pacur LLC, Johnson's Oshkosh, Wis.-based sheet extrusion company.