Mayor Mike Bloomberg: Jon Huntsman is a ‘Very Qualified Guy’


Mayor Mike Bloomberg, fielding questions from reporters in the Bronx this afternoon, offered some brief praise for Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, who is currently making waves in New Hampshire.

But no full endorsement.

In an off-topic question at a press conference about a new Bronx business incubator, a reporter from Capital New York said to the mayor, “You recently expressed sympathy for Jon Huntsman. Any interest in formally supporting him?”

Last week in a radio interview, Bloomberg did in fact express some sympathy for the candidate, saying, “I’ve always been surprised that Huntsman is not more of a factor. He didn’t make a couple of debates. He didn’t even get five percent of the vote. But he’s got a chance in other places,” adding, “Santorum came from no place. There’s no reason why Huntsman can’t do the same thing.”

He went a bit further today — but apparently still does not have much of an interest in offering more “formal support.”

“I think he’s a very qualified guy. President Obama chose him to be our ambassador to China and by all accounts, some of the senators I’ve talked to who had trips over there, they all gave him glowing marks as an ambassador,” the mayor said. “Whether he’s the right person to be the Republican nominee, I’ll leave up to the Republicans. If he were to get the nomination, then you’ll leave it up to the voters who they prefer.”

Bloomberg could’ve stopped there — it was supposed to be the last question of the event and his press team was pressuring him to finish up, but he added a few more words of praise.

“Jon Huntsman is a guy that’s experienced in the private sector and the public sector, executive experience and international experience, and his job is to make his case to the voters,” he said.

Just to be sure, though, he ended, “And I’m not here to support him — or anybody else for that matter.”