Jon Huntsman to announce 2012 run next Tuesday

Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman, interviewed by CBN News' "The Brody File," prior to the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C. CBN

CBN

Updated 1:13 p.m. Eastern Time

CBS News has learned that former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman will announce he is running for president next Tuesday, June 21st, at Liberty State Park in New Jersey - with Lady Liberty as his backdrop.

Huntsman then plans to launch a tour to New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, Florida and Utah. An aide to Huntsman told CBS News last month that Huntsman's campaign will be based in Orlando.

The tour itinerary for Huntsman - who, like Mitt Romney, is Mormon - is telling. The former governor is seen as a moderate by many Republicans because of his centrist positions on immigration, cap-and-trade legislation and gay rights - as well as his willingness to serve as ambassador to China in the Obama administration. Those facts have prompted him to plan to skip the first-in-the-nation voting state of Iowa, where social conservatives dominate the GOP primary electorate, and focus instead on states like New Hampshire and Florida. (Oddly, Huntsman skipped Monday's presidential debate in New Hampshire.)

That's not to say Huntsman isn't trying to court skeptical social conservatives. On June 3, he spoke at the socially-conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference in Washington, where he stressed his record opposing abortion rights.

He said that if Republicans prioritize economic issues over "life" issues, "the deficit we will face is one that is much more destructive. It will be a deficit of the heart and of the soul."

"That is a trade we should not make," said Huntsman.

On the fiscal front, Hutsman said in that speech that the United State is buying "serfdom" with its borrowing and expanding debt. The distinction between freedom and serfdom, he suggested, will be "essence of the election in 2012."

"Heavy government expenditures and liberty are absolutely incompatible," he said.

One interesting note: President Ronald Reagan announced his 1980 general election presidential campaign in Liberty State Park (after an initial announcement at a New York City hotel). Huntsman worked as a staff assistant in the Reagan White House.

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