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Washington • U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman Jr. says he will evaluate this spring whether to stay at his current job and doesn't rule out a potential presidential run.
"You know, I'm really focused on what we're doing in our current position," Huntsman tells Newsweek in a story posted Saturday morning. "But we won't do this forever, and I think we may have one final run left in our bones."
Huntsman, 50, Utah's former Republican governor who resigned in 2009 to take the post in the Obama administration, declined to say whether he was considering a bid for president in 2012, according to the story. But the comment only fuels speculation that he could mount a challenge to his current boss, President Barack Obama.
Huntsman was more circumspect in a recent sit-down with The Salt Lake Tribune, declining to talk at all about what he might do after serving abroad. In the void, however, speculation grows.
During a December trip to Washington, Huntsman met with former political advisers to discuss a potential bid, Newsweek reported, citing anonymous sources close to Huntsman.
The son of a billionaire, Huntsman carved a moderate path in GOP politics and exited the scene as so-called tea party activists began growing in power. In Beijing now for about 16 months, Huntsman has mostly steered clear of talking American politics.
But Huntsman has also kept in touch with political advisers, including John Weaver, the top strategist on Sen. John McCain's failed presidential bid. And Huntsman and his wife, Mary Kaye, purchased a home in a tony section of Washington this summer and relocated their belongings that had been in storage in Utah.
A potential Huntsman run for the White House would also pit him against probably the most well-known Mormon, Mitt Romney, who is also weighing a presidential campaign.
Huntsman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Contacted Saturday, the White House declined comment.