Sunday, June 12, 2011

Harley Davidson

This weekend, Jon Huntsman came as close as he could to announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination without actually announcing it. He said that he had thought a lot about the decision to run, but still needed to firm things up at home. “One more sit-down with the family this week, and I think we will check that box,” he said. Certainly, Huntsman, official or not, is engaging in the activities of an otherwise fully fledged candidate. He spent the morning on Saturday chatting with voters at a Harley-Davidson dealership in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he wore a black leather jacket with GOVERNOR stitched onto the front. (He is a former governor of Utah, and more recently had been the ambassador to China.) Huntsman, an avid motorcyclist, said that if he ever occupied the White House he would bring his Harley with him to Washington. (A few weeks ago, after Sarah Palin rode a borrowed motorcycle around the monuments in the nation’s capital, she wrote on her blog, “There’s no better way to see D.C. than on the back of a Harley!”)
Rain prevented Huntsman from arriving at the northernmost stop on his trip, the Laconia Motorcycle Week rally. He had originally planned to ride his bike there from Concord, but it had always been difficult to imagine the silver-haired Ambassador poking through the leather-goods tents or enjoying the cover band working its way through “Black Water.” Tanya Furbish, who is thirty-five, was working in a pop-up whiskey station, and was officially undecided about the G.O.P. field. She wore bluejeans, a bathing-suit top, and a plastic poncho. “I don’t like his record on health care in Massachusetts,” she said. Was she referring to Huntsman or to Mitt Romney, a rival? “I think you know what I mean,” she said.
Other rallygoers felt that it was too early to think about another election. One young man, who was getting a tattoo in front of an R.V.-turned-parlor, said he hadn’t thought about the race yet at all. “That’s something I’ll start looking at four, maybe five, months from now,” he said. It’s a good thing for Huntsman that autumn is fine for motorcycling, too.

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