CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman, who often speaks movingly of his adopted daughters while on the campaign trail, said Friday that Ron Paul’s supporters were out of line in using the girls to argue that Huntsman is un-American.
An online ad posted by “NHLiberty4Paul” includes video footage of Huntsman, the former ambassador to China, with daughter Gracie when she was an infant. It also shows Huntsman holding Asha shortly after she was adopted from India.
“American values? Or Chinese?” the ad asks, ending with “Vote Ron Paul.”
A message sent to the ad’s creator was not returned. Paul’s New Hampshire spokeswoman, Kate Schackai, said Friday she didn’t know who was behind the ad, but it wasn’t anyone affiliated with the campaign.
“The video was utterly distasteful and no one who actually supports Dr. Paul’s principles would have made it,” she said.
In Concord, Huntsman said it was “stupid” to allege that he has Chinese values because he lived overseas and speaks Chinese.
“If someone wants to poke fun at me, that’s OK,” said Huntsman, whose campaign has posted several online ads attacking Paul as unelectable. “What I object to is bringing forward pictures and videos of my adopted daughters and suggesting there’s something sinister there.”
Huntsman and his wife have seven children, including Gracie, 12, who was abandoned at a Chinese vegetable market at two months of age, and Asha, 6, who was left to die on a roadside in India the day she was born.
Speaking to New England College’s “College Convention,” he called the two girls “a daily reminder that there are a lot of kids in this world who don’t have the breaks that you do.”
When questioned by the audience, Huntsman also challenged Romney’s assertion that “corporations are people.”
“Of course corporations are not people. Who would say such an outlandish thing? I can’t imagine anyone running for president would say something like that.”
Huntsman, who skipped last week’s Iowa caucuses, is counting on a strong finish in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary to continue his campaign
Looking ahead to the weekend’s debates, Huntsman said he expects questions on China will arise with no easy answers. Huntsman said U.S.-China relationship presents both challenges and opportunities.
“It’s not a 30-second sound bite to say, `We have to figure out how to make the relationship work.’ That doesn’t result in cheers. It’s better to say, `We’re going to go to war!'” he said in a mock belligerent tone. “But I’ve got to be honest.”
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