In an address aimed as shoring up his bona fides with conservative Christians -- and distancing himself from his most recent boss, President Obama -- Jon Huntsman talked passionately about his pro-life values before the Faith and Freedom conference, a gathering of religious conservative activists.
Not once did he mention his Mormon faith.
Huntsman began his speech by talking of his daughter Gracie Mei Huntsman, whom he and his wife adopted after she was abandoned as an infant in a Chinese market. "Gracie Mei likes to tell that story and when asked who found her in the vegetable market, she simply replies Jesus," said Huntsman to "awws" and applause.
He continued, "There is something more essential than politics and that is life, specifically a child's life," and touted numerous pieces of legislation restricting abortion that he had advocated for and signed into law.
Huntsman, until a month ago President Obama's ambassador to China, also talked about the "serfdom" he believes the administration and other Democrats will cause with their economic policies. After talking about his year overseas, he joked "Don't worry - I have a U.S. birth certificate," an apparent reference to the controversy over Obama's birth certificate, which the president recently felt compelled to validate with extra documentation from Hawaii, where he was born.
Huntsman, a former Utah governor with a reputation as a political centrist, is a favorite of Beltway insiders, although his earlier support of cap and trade legislation and his faith, which some evangelicals don't consider true Christianity, could complicate his chances with the conservative activists who dominate the Republican primaries and caucuses.