Jon Huntsman daughters say father did not get advance view of their parody video of Cain ad

LOWELL - The daughters of Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman became an overnight YouTube sensation this fall with a video mocking a web ad put out by former candidate Herman Cain.

Jon Huntsman didn’t get an advance viewing.

Liddy and Mary Anne Huntsman, two of the three “Jon 2012 girls,” as they call themselves, said they sent the video to their parents at the same time they posted it publicly on YouTube. The two appeared with their mother, Mary Kaye Huntsman, today at a forum sponsored by the Boston Herald and UMass Lowell.


“We were on the road and knew they were doing something, but had no idea what was coming out,” Mary Kaye said. “Finally, they said here it goes, and sent it to us as it was going out.”

Get This Week in Politics in your inbox:
A weekly recap of the top political stories from The Globe, sent right to your email.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

The video was a response to a controversial spot by Cain, which featured his mustached campaign manager blowing smoke into the camera. The Huntsman girls, sporting their own false mustaches, made a similar parody ad, talking about their dad – and concluding with the three blowing bubbles instead of cigarettes.

Liddy, 23, said the girls all grew up acting, and the ad took just an hour to film, with additional time for editing. Liddy said she had the idea when she woke up one morning, and the girls ran out in their pajamas to find mustaches and bubble pipes. (They couldn’t find bubble pipes, so they settled for wands instead.)

“We had no idea it would go this viral,” said Mary Anne, 26. The video has gotten more than 345,000 hits on YouTube since Oct. 28.

Liddy clarified after the event that the girls told their father beforehand what was in the video, even if they did not show it to him. “He trusts us, he knows we have his best interests in mind,” she said.


Mary Kaye said she was in the car with her husband when the girls sent them the video. “He looked down and broke out laughing, and I knew it was OK,” she said.

Shira Schoenberg can be reached at sschoenberg@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shiraschoenberg.