Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, asked today about an offensive video apparently posted online by a supporter of his Republican rival Ron Paul, bristled at the video’s attack on his family.
The video refers to Huntsman, a former ambassador to China under President Obama, as a “Manchurian candidate.” It shows him speaking Chinese and suggests that he has Chinese, not American, values. Over footage of Huntsman with his daughters – Huntsman adopted two girls from China and India - it questions “China Jon’s daughters: even adopted?” It concludes with the statement “Vote Ron Paul.”
Paul’s campaign says it has no connection to the video and does not know who created it. “We had nothing to do with it and we think it’s completely distasteful,” said Paul spokeswoman Kate Schackai. “Nobody who actually supports Dr. Paul’s principles would put together something like that.”
Asked about the video by an attendee at The Center for Civic Engagement at New England College’s College Convention, Huntsman said, “First of all, it’s just stupid.” But Huntsman said he does not mind if someone wants to poke fun at his ability to speak Chinese.
“What I object to is bringing forward pictures and videos of my adopted daughters, and suggesting there is some sinister motive there,” Huntsman said. Huntsman said one of his daughters, Gracie, was abandoned in China when she was two months old and left in a vegetable market. “She was picked up by the police and sent to an orphanage. No future, nothing to look forward to. Now she’s in my family,” Huntsman said.
Huntsman said his daughter, Asha, was left for dead in a rural village in southern India the day she was born. “Luckily, she was picked up before the animals got her, and sent to a Catholic orphanage,” Huntsman said.
Huntsman told the college students that his two girls “are a daily reminder that there are a lot of kids in this world who don’t have the breaks that you do, who face a very uncertain future that lacks health care, that lacks the ability to dream and plan, any sense of upward mobility.”
Shira Schoenberg can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @shiraschoenberg.