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Jon Huntsman is beefing up his campaign staff in New Hampshire and directing new criticism at the GOP frontrunner in the state, Mitt Romney, as he ramps up his long-shot bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Huntsman’s campaign for the nomination is entirely dependent upon his defeating Romney in New Hampshire. If he can’t win New Hampshire, he won’t win anywhere else.
Huntsman opened his state headquarters in Manchester this month, and has plans to open another six or so “local” New Hampshire offices by the end of September. He also recently added two employees to his New Hampshire operation, bringing his staff head-count in the state to a total of 21, triple the size of any other campaign—including Romney’s, according to the Associated Press.
Huntsman has also come out swinging against Romney in recent days, sending out an e-mail to reporters titled, “The Romney-Obama Budget Plan: Raise Taxes. He criticised Romney for closing a budget deficit in Massachusetts partly by raising $400 million through “closed loopholes,” though, as the New York Times points out, Huntsman told Politico last month that loopholes should be part of any budget negotiation.
So far, none of this seems to be working. Romney maintains a wide lead in New Hampshire and Texas Governor Rick Perry is fast emerging as Romney’s principal challenger. The good news for Huntsman is that New Hampshire primary voters are famously independent and willing to make a long bet on a long shot.
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