Jon Huntsman Has Trouble Denying That He Could Run As an Independent

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 14:  Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman speaks at the Brookings Institution November 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. During a question and answer session Huntsman detailed his plan to strengthen the American economy and lower the nation's unemployment rate.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Keep in mind, Jon Huntsman's family is filthy rich. Photo: Win McNamee/2011 Getty Images

For the second time in three days, sadly overlooked GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman has resisted taking a Shermanesque position on potentially running for president as an independent. On Sunday, Huntsman told Fox News's Chris Wallace that running as a Republican is "where I fully expect to be." Today, he gave the Boston Globe a similar answer:

Asked, “Is there any situation in which you would run for president as an independent?” Huntsman told The Boston Globe, “I don’t think so.”

Told that anything but a flat denial could perpetuate speculation about the possibility, Huntsman replied: “I’m a lifelong Republican. I’m running as a Republican, and I fully anticipate that that’s where we’re going to be.”

Huntsman would obviously prefer to be the GOP nominee, but since there's a very slim chance of that happening anyway, why not keep the door to an independent run open just a smidge? Maybe polling will show that there's space for a moderate Republican like Huntsman in a race between the unpopular Democratic incumbent and, say, an egomaniacal repeat adulterer like Newt Gingrich. It probably won't, but it wouldn't be the craziest thing to happen this campaign (see: the previous sentence, in which Newt Gingrich is mentioned as a realistic GOP nominee).