TNR's Krieger described Huntsman as "one of the only Republican governors" to accept stimulus funds -- but they all did


A New Republic article wrongly described Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. as "one of the only Republican governors to accept money from Obama's stimulus package." In fact, all Republican governors have requested and received funds from the stimulus package.

In a May 20 article for The New Republic on Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., whom President Obama has selected as his nominee to be U.S. ambassador to China, deputy online editor Zvika Krieger wrongly described Huntsman as "one of the only Republican governors to accept money from Obama's stimulus package." In fact, all Republican governors have requested funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

State certifications from the governors of all 50 states indicating that they will request and use recovery funds are posted at Indeed, every state, including those with Republican governors, has received at least some recovery funds. For example, according to a quarterly progress report on progress in implementing the recovery act, submitted to the president and released May 13, "All but three states, Hawaii, North Dakota, and New Mexico, had begun drawing down FMAP [Federal Medical Assistance Percentages] funds by May 5th. North Dakota began drawing down funds on May 8th." Hawaii and New Mexico have reportedly received recovery funds as well.

Some Republican governors, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, have requested access to funding available through the recovery act, but have rejected small portions of the funding. And on May 19, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford -- the final governor to request recovery funding, sending the certification on the deadline day -- "vetoed state budget sections compelling him to spend stimulus funds, saying the budget failed to put South Carolina in a better post-stimulus financial position, and that it wasted a once-in-a-generation chance to make much-needed reforms to state government."

From the May 20 The New Republic article, headlined "Huntsman, Interrupted":

Hanging up the phone, Huntsman quickly ducks into a meeting with his council of economic and policy advisors, where he follows up on his office's efforts at health care reform and developing a statewide plan for energy efficiency. Huntsman, leaning back in a plush leather chair, fires off questions on the most technical aspects of these initiatives, seeming more like a CEO than a politician. It's a habit he picked up while a student at Wharton and at the helm of the Huntsman Corporation (Utah's largest company), not to mention as a deputy assistant secretary in the commerce department under George H. W. Bush and a deputy U.S. trade representative under President George W. Bush. To Huntsman, the economy should be a politician's "focus, laser-like," despite the fact that it doesn't "make for a very colorful and interesting sideshow."

Huntsman is certainly right: His skillful stewardship of the state's economy is not what propelled him onto the national stage. Huntsman, who was elected in 2004 as a fairly conventional Republican campaigning on a platform of economic development, first began breaking with his party over environmental issues--for instance, signing the bold Western Regional Climate Action Initiative. He then started taking relatively progressive stands on immigration, unions, and education. He is also one of the only Republican governors to accept money from Obama's stimulus package. "Limited government is important," Huntsman explains, "but I need to make sure that we have a government that actually delivers on issues that people expect us to manage competently and well."

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The New Republic
Zvika Krieger
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