I confess, the Plastics Blog enjoyed having a favorite son candidate in the 2012 presidential race. I know people say Mitt Romney has a plastic personality, but it's just not the same. But now Jon Huntsman Jr. is out of the race, and he's even -- sort of -- returning to the plastics industry. In the past week we've had stories on him joining Huntsman Corp.'s board of directors and, more recently, agreeing to give the keynote speech at NPE2012 in Orlando, Fla. But don't expect Jon Jr. to come knocking on your door selling polyurethane resin. One reason people run for president is for the publicity. Let's put it this way: How many people outside northeast Ohio knew Dennis Kucinich before 2003? Before announcing his candidacy in June, Jon Huntsman Jr. was a "who's he?" candidate. Now, after campaigning in the population-light states of Iowa and New Hampshire, Huntsman is a household name all across the country. His gig speaking at NPE even got a mention today in The Washington Post's "In the Loop" politics blog. The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. often gets big names to speak at NPE, but it's rare to recruit one who gets a mention in the Post. I fully expect that Huntsman's speech in Orlando will be a rehearsal for a primetime spot on the podium at August's Republican National Convention in Tampa. Conventional wisdom says Huntsman isn't a natural choice for vice president. Utah's not packed with electoral votes, and if Romney is the nominee, I don't think the Republicans will be pushing an all-Mormon ticket. But, depending on the results in November, Huntsman could be on his way to a nice head start on the GOP primary race for 2016.
Huntsman's 2012 grade: Incomplete
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