A new online advertisement run by a group supporting Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is drawing passionate condemnation from Jon Huntsman, whose adopted daughter is attacked in the commercial.
The online ad sponsored by “NHLiberty4Paul” contains footage of Huntsman with his daughter Gracie, who was adopted from China, and Asha, adopted from India, when they were toddlers.
“American values. Or Chinese,” the ad asks while a soundtrack of Chinese music plays in the background. The ad calls Huntsman “the Manchurian Candidate” and ends with an image of the former ambassador to China dressed as China’s former communist leader Mao Zedong and the words “Vote Ron Paul.:
In a CNN interview, Paul condemned the commercial saying he had nothing to do with it.
“I couldn’t even hear it, haven’t looked at it, but people do that, and they do it in all campaigns,” Paul said.
Huntsman, according to Reuters, called the ad “just stupid” and “political campaign nonsense.”
“If someone wants to poke fun at me, that’s OK,” said Huntsman. “What I object to is bringing forward pictures and videos of my adopted daughters and suggesting there’s something sinister there.”
Abby Huntsman Livingston, one of Huntsman’s children, also condemned the ad, Reuters said: “It is unfortunate that the political conversation has become this vile. In our family, we put ourselves on the national stage and we expect to get everything and anything. Unfortunately, I think this video goes a bit far. My two little sisters are the love of my dad’s life.”
The moving story of Huntsman’s adopted daughters has prompted some pro-life advocates to support his presidential campaign.
In 1999, the Huntsman family adopted Gracie Mei from Yangzhou, China. She was a little girl who had been abandoned in a vegetable market. The path to adoption began when Huntsman’s wife Mary Kaye volunteered in a Catholic orphanage while they were living in Tien Mu, Taiwan. After they returned to the U.S., Mary Kaye continued to research adoptions and convinced Jon to start the process.
While attending a Christmas tree benefit auction she bought a tree dedicated to adoption. When the vendor asked her what to name it, her kids suggested the name for the new sister they hoped to someday have, Gracie Mei. Mary Kaye told the vendor that name at 8:15 p.m. and, when the Huntsman family returned home, there was a message received at 8:15 p.m. from the adoption agency notifying the family they had a found a child for the family.
The Huntsmans also adopted Asha Bharati from Gujarat, India in 2006.
Huntsman signed a trio of pro-life bills in February 2009 that the Utah legislature approved — including legislation to make second-trimester abortions illegal, a measure to allow women to know about the pain their unborn children will feel during an abortion, and a bill that would create a legal defense fund to pay for litigation related to lawsuit abortions advocates file against state legislation.