by THOMAS BURR
Washington • President Barack Obama’s campaign manager said Tuesday that he saw former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman as the biggest potential threat to the president’s re-election.
Jim Messina said Huntsman’s appeal to moderate voters could have dug into the Democratic president’s margin with that swath of Americans, whom Obama handily took to win a second term.
"We were honest about our concerns about Huntsman," Messina said at an event sponsored by Politico. "I think Huntsman [as Republican nominee] would have been a tough general election campaign."
Senior Obama adviser David Plouffe had expressed such concern even before Utah’s former governor launched his failed presidential bid, with one journalist noting that a Huntsman candidacy made Plouffe a "wee bit queasy."
Huntsman suspended his White House bid after a disappointing third-place finish in the New Hampshire primary, where he had bet all his campaign hopes. He endorsed Mitt Romney, the eventual GOP nominee. [MORE]