Political Notebook

Huntsman campaign focuses on N.H.

July 27, 2011

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HANOVER, N.H. - Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman yesterday called for America to scale back its involvement in Libya and Afghanistan and focus on “America helping America.’’

“If we don’t have a core of strength and economic might, we’re of no help to the rest of the world,’’ Huntsman said.

Huntsman spoke at Dartmouth College in an event that let him show off his foreign policy expertise. Huntsman was ambassador to China under President Obama from 2009 until last April, ambassador to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush and a deputy US trade representative under President George W. Bush.

Huntsman, in his speech, called for a “more skeptical’’ view of America’s foreign entanglements.

“I look at Libya. There’s no defined goal, no defined national security interest, no exit strategy. I say why do we want to be involved?’’ Huntsman said.

On Afghanistan, Huntsman said, “It’s time for us to come home,’’ citing several achievements there including free elections.

Turning to Pakistan, Huntsman said, “We can’t do a damn thing about Pakistan. Only Pakistan can save Pakistan. . . . We can’t wish for stability in a nation state more than they do.’’

The appearance came as Huntsman is building his presence in New Hampshire, with more than 20 paid staff and several offices opening this summer. Huntsman plans to return the first week in August. He will need to build up his name recognition. Recent polling put him in the low single digits in New Hampshire, and voters tend to know little about him.

Behind the scenes, Huntsman has been attacking former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who is ahead in polls here. A recent e-mail from Huntsman’s campaign was headlined, “The Romney-Obama Budget Plan: Raise Taxes.’’

— Shira Schoenberg

Ore. Democrat resigns amid fallout over sex encounter WASHINGTON - Democratic Representative David Wu of Oregon announced yesterday he will resign amid the political fallout from an 18-year-old woman’s allegations of an unwanted sexual encounter with him.

Wu had already said that he would not seek reelection, but he had come under increasing pressure to step down. Shortly after the allegations broke, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi requested a House Ethics Committee investigation of his conduct.

“The well-being of my children must come before anything else,’’ Wu said in a statement.

— Associated Press

Judge Liu is nominated for Calif. Supreme Court SAN FRANCISCO - Governor Jerry Brown nominated Goodwin Liu for the California Supreme Court yesterday, a little more than two months after Liu’s nomination for the federal bench was blocked by Republicans in Congress.

Liu, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is expected to face a much easier confirmation process than he did in the US Senate, where a filibuster in May ended his hopes of joining the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

In making the nomination, Brown praised Liu’s background, legal mind, and temperament and said his recent travails in Washington made him a better candidate - and an easier one for the governor to make.

“He’s been well vetted,’’ said Brown, who said he had contacted Liu when he “noticed he was having trouble getting confirmed’’ by the Senate.

Brown said he interviewed Liu several times but had not asked many specific questions on issues like the death penalty.

Liu, 40, is Taiwanese-American. He has degrees from Stanford (a bachelor’s), Oxford (a master’s), and Yale (a doctorate).

— New York Times