In S.C., Huntsman tries to shed 'moderate' label

COLUMBIA -- Jon Huntsman's S.C. advisors are pushing back on the “moderate” label that has dogged the former Utah governor in his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president.

“We have a story to tell about Huntsman that hasn't been told yet,” Richard Quinn, a S.C. advisor to Huntsman, said Thursday as Huntsman shook hands and ate barbeque at a Columbia restaurant.

The Columbia stop marked the second day of a three-day swing by Huntsman through South Carolina, an important early-voting state that holds its GOP primary on Jan. 21.

S.C. politicos increasingly agree the S.C. race will come down to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who consistently has finished in the top two in S.C. polls, and a “non-Romney” candidate, likely to be someone further to the political right of Romney.

That means a new narrative is needed for Huntsman who, rightly or wrongly, has been labeled as a moderate by many S.C. voters because of his stint as U.S. ambassador to China under President Barack Obama, his support for same-sex civil unions and his belief in global warming.

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