Jon Huntsman, the administration's former ambassador to China and possible Republican presidential candidate, told graduates of Southern New Hampshire University on Saturday not to fear the rise of China's economy.
"You hear how the Chinese economy is going to swamp us. Don't believe it. China has its own problems. And we have our own strengths. I mean, there is a reason that Google was started in America and not Russia or Germany or China," Huntsman said.
(PICTURES: Political Commencement Addresses)
This is Huntsman's second commencement address since returning from his post in Beijing, and the second speech in an early primary state. He spoke earlier this month at the University of South Carolina.
As President Obama's envoy to China, Huntsman, a former two-term governor of Utah, has faced questions about how competitive he would be in the GOP primary field where candidates burnish conservative credentials.
Huntsman seemed to tip his hat to the so-called birthers—even though Obama put the issue to rest two weeks ago by releasing the long form of his birth certificate—with a wisecrack during his speech.
"Three weeks ago, I stepped off the plane from China, after living in that dynamic country for two years. Coming home after living 10,000 miles away gives you a certain perspective. I have lived overseas four times before and don't worry, I have a U.S. birth certificate," Huntsman said.