JONATHAN CHAIT MARCH 9, 2011
Ben Smith notes the Obama administration's death hug of Jon Huntsman, who Obama thanks profusely as an "outstanding advocate for this administration and this country." As far as short-term politics, it's a clever move. On the slight chance that Huntsman's long-shot candidacy catches fire, Obama has given other Republicans a handy soundbite to discredit him.
But what happens the next time Obama wants a talented Republican like Hunstman to serve in his administration? Does he really want that Republican to contend not only with being attacked by fellow partisans in his next race, but knowing that Obama will be collaborating in the attack? if there is a calculation here, it seems like an awfully short-sighted one.