President Barack Obama's former ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, has entered the Republican party's 2012 presidential race, pledging to make the "hard decisions" he says are required to deal with America's debt.
"I'm a candidate for the office of president of the United States of America," Huntsman told supporters at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, with the Statue of Liberty in the background. President Ronald Reagan launched his bid for the White House at the site in 1980.
"For the first time in our history, we are passing down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive and less confident than the one we got," Huntsman said. "This, ladies and gentlemen, is totally unacceptable and totally un-American."
Huntsman called for "broad and bold" changes to US tax laws and regulations and said America should seek energy independence and boost job creation, but gave no specifics on his plans.
"We must make hard decisions that are necessary to avert disaster," the former Utah governor said, painting a bleak picture of what it would mean for the country if it does not reduce its debt.
Democrats have said they see Huntsman, who was a popular governor known for some moderate policies, as a potentially formidable candidate against Obama, although he currently lacks national name recognition and many polls put his support at less than 2%.
Huntsman was Obama's ambassador to China from 2009 until April, when he resigned to return to the United States and lay the groundwork for his presidential bid.
Conservatives have attacked Huntsman for his work with Obama, which Huntsman has described as service to the country. Democrats have attacked Huntsman as changing his former moderate positions in order to appeal to the most conservative Republican base.
The US Congress moved closer to punishing China for allegedly manipulating its currency, as a key committee of the House of Representatives voted to advance legislation that could
What world leader do you admire?The President of the United States because he gets to make important decisions and run our Country. How would you change the world?Tougher laws on