At third place in the latest CNN NH Primary poll, Jon Huntsman is loving his role as the underdog candidate heading into Tuesday.
He embraced the comparison one Portsmouth area businessman made Thursday afternoon when he said the former Utah Governor is like David going up against Goliath.
Huntsman attended a luncheon hosted by Renee Reidel-Plummer at One New Hampshire Avenue at Pease International Tradeport on Thursday afternoon and said his rise in the polls to third place gives him great confidence that his extensive retail politicking in the Granite State will pay off.
In order for him to pull off what many pundits would consider an upset, Huntsman said he would need a "market moving event" that would result from the more than 150 events he has held in New Hampshire. He said former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum's impressive performance in the Iowa Caucuses, where he nearly beat GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, makes him believe such an event is within his grasp.
"If you don't have a market moving event, you're done," Huntsman said. "Then you have to move beyond. You have to move beyond market expectations."
Huntsman said he also needs to exceed all of the political pundits expectations on Tuesday to achieve a strong performance and based on the reception his campaign has received from New Hampshire voters, he believes it is quite possible.
"Underdogs can rise up and defeat those Goliaths from time to time," he said, "That's the American political tradition right here in New Hampshire."
Ultimately, Huntsman said he trusts voters to support the right candidate because of the way they have embraced underdogs in the past.
During a press conference that followed the business luncheon, Huntsman said voters want a candidate they can trust and that candidate is not Romney because the former Massachusetts governor has flip-flopped on a number of issues.
Restoring Americans' trust in their government, banking industry and their confidence that the U.S. will continue to be a world leader has been one of Huntsman's central campaign themes and he reaffirmed them Thursday afternoon.
In what appeared to be a jab at Romney, Huntsman said only a president "who is not in hip pocket of Wall Street" can take the steps necessary to reform the banking industry. He would not give banks any more bailouts and there would be no such thing as too big to fail.
He said he would also restore the people's trust in their government by pushing for term limits in Congress and ending "crony capitalism" where too many members of Congress are too heavily influenced by lobbyists at the expense of their constituents.
Huntsman also told the several Portsmouth area bankers, financial advisers and attorneys present the U.S. must develop the best relationship it can with China going forward given the fact that China now wants to upgrade its middle class and is poised to import more goods than it exports in the near future.
As president, Huntsman said he would use his extensive experience of working as a businessman in Taiwan and as U.S. ambassador to China to make this happen. Following his appearance in Portsmouth, Huntsman, his wife, Mary Kaye Huntsman and their daughter, Abby, were scheduled to hold a town hall meeting at Goss International in Durham.