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Tingle Watch: MSNBC Gang Goes Gaga Over GOP Candidate Jon Huntsman

With Jon Huntsman announcing his presidential campaign on Tuesday, the former Utah governor joins a crowded Republican field. But while MSNBC has put most of the current crop of GOP hopefuls through the ringer, Huntsman has been heralded by the network as Mr. Civility in an otherwise nutty Republican field.

MRC intern Alex Fitzsimmons reviewed some of the network's flattering coverage of Huntsman and assembled a video montage of the most gushing moments. On the May 23 edition of Morning Joe, for example, MSNBC senior political analyst Mark Halperin said he was "pretty blown away" by watching Huntsman speak, while co-host Joe Scarborough wondered if Huntsman and his wife were "the most impressive team" since Barack and Michelle Obama.

Contributor Mike Barnicle relayed the enthusiastic tribute of a man he met who said Huntsman reminded him of John F. Kennedy: "The guy was so smooth, the guy was so comfortable, so handsome, so articulate, so composed."He said the guy was so smooth, the guy was so comfortable, so handsome, so articulate, so composed, he was stunned."



Perhaps aware of MSNBC's reputation among the conservative rank-and-file, Scarborough last week quipped that his network's enthusiasm had doomed Huntsman: "We have so doomed Jon Huntsman here on Morning Joe. It's over. It's over....We've been too nice to him. He's done."

Here are fuller transcripts of the quotes included in the mash-up video:


May 23, Morning Joe:

Host JOE SCARBOROUGH: Jon Huntsman and his wife together - is it safe to say the most impressive team you've seen on the campaign trail since Barack Obama emerged?
Senior Political Analyst MARK HALPERIN: As impressive as any couple I've seen. And, they're not perfect, and they - I think he'll probably grow as a candidate, but given that he's not ever done this, given that he's been in China immersed in U.S.-China relations for the last two years, I was pretty blown away.

...

Contributor MIKE BARNICLE: One person told me Huntsman and his wife reminded him - he's an elderly guy - of John F. Kennedy. He said the guy was so smooth, the guy was so comfortable, so handsome, so articulate, so composed, he was stunned."
MARK HALPERIN: There was - there were a number of trackers, Democrats and liberals with their video cameras, following him around, and one of the liberal trackers said "I really like this guy." He's got crossover appeal.


May 16, MSNBC News Live:

JONATHAN ALTER: Huntsman also benefits from Huckabee's departure because Huckabee was the most likeable candidate in the race. Likability is critical. Likable Newt Gingrich is not. Huntsman is pretty likable.

June 1, Morning Joe:

MSNBC's WILLIE GEIST: What are the current Mark Halperin-Time magazine odds on Jon Huntsman? Because I follow them every week.
MARK HALPERIN: I think he's got the second best chance to be the nominee right now, after Mitt Romney. Not very far ahead of Tim Pawlenty, but I think if he lives up to his potential, he will be a finalist in this thing for sure."

June 13, Morning Joe:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: He's in control, isn't he? I say, that in that he seems to be very sure of himself. He can speak in complete sentences. One sentence actually relates to the previous sentence. He reeled together a very effective paragraph there. And these days in American politics, that ain't nothing.
Co-host MIKA BRZEZINSKI: No, it's not, and I think there's more than meets the eye there. A lot. I mean, this is someone, I don't know, who I think is going to burst onto the national scene. I really do. I've thought that for about six months now."


May 23, Morning Joe:

MARK HALPERIN: He is a "Morning Joe" candidate. He ends all of his remarks talking about the importance of civility.


June 17, Morning Joe:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: You know, by the way, we have so doomed Jon Huntsman here on Morning Joe. It's over. It's over.
MIKE BARNICLE: We've killed him.
SCARBOROUGH: It's over. We've been too nice to him. He's done.


- Rich Noyes is Research Director at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Rich Noyes on Twitter.