(EXETER, N.H.) — On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, Jon Huntsman took to a platform surrounded by over 300 supporters, and wearing a United States Navy leather jacket, the GOP contender rounded off 170 public events at the very site where he first kicked off his presidential efforts last June.
“Are we ready to rock and roll tomorrow?! We are ready to rock and roll!” a hyped up and excited Huntsman called out to his supporters in Exeter.
Monday night’s rally offered spectators a different side of the once Utah governor and former ambassador. Over the last two days, it’s as if the world remembered that he was running, with an ever-increasing media swarm and huge turnouts to his events. The campaign calls it “Hunts-mentum”.
Up until the New Year, Huntsman’s campaign stops took on a rather understated tone compared to that of other presidential hopefuls. Mostly town halls, Huntsman usually gives a 30-45 minute speech discussing what he calls the nation’s deficits — the economic deficit and the deficit of trust. He then entertains comments and questions from the audience, giving very in-depth and often lengthy answers to questions on everything from foreign policy to jobs to health care. Fireworks, if any, come from attendees wanting to know how the governor matches up against the other candidates.
Huntsman made it clear on a daily basis that he’s not into the theatrics of politics, often saying that he won’t contort himself into a pretzel or light his hair on fire. He was convinced that it would be his message and ideas that would propel him forward.
But one had to wonder how a mild-mannered politician could break through a political race branded by big personalities. Well, if the last two days are any indication, Huntsman’s managed to do it with tons of hand-shaking and repetition of message.
Early on, ABC News asked him if he had the personality to make his mark in New Hampshire.
“Well we did just great as governor of a state reelected with 78 percent of the vote. People saw us for who we are, as a leader.” Huntsman said. “Once people get to know you better and understand your style and your approach to getting things done, I think they’ll like it. I have no doubt about that.”
On Tuesday we’ll know whether or not his message will translate into real votes.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio