Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
June 22, 2011

Huntsman, Asha and Gracie Mei


Among “all things Hunstman,” the candidate’s presidential launch also introduced his two youngest and adopted daughters (out of seven kids total) not just to the American people, but also to the lens of the campaign.

Here’s a snip from a several-week-old Hunstman quote the WSJ used yesterday accompanying this photo. It’s from a New Hampshire appearance in which Hunstman introduced three of his daughters, including Gracie Mei who was born in China:

“You want to cut through the politics and get to the bottom line of life, the greatest thing we have ever done is bring two kids into our lives who had no future,” he told a gathering of 40 or so people at a house party in Nashua. “And I don’t say that gratuitously, I say that with joy and enormous satisfaction.”

The girls “who had no future?”

I can certainly understand the comment and qualification about gratuitousness. But then, please tell me Huntsman, the presidential product, wasn’t simultaneously using these two children as a brand endorsement for open-mindedness, globalism and his international portfolio, at the same time inoculating himself against old fashioned Merikan racism by framing Asha in the foreground, adopted from India, and Gracie Mei with Lady Liberty, and count ‘em, one, two, three, four American flags (including the one visible on Asha’s dress).

(photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters caption: Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman kisses his daughter Asha (C) as his other daughter Gracie Mei (L) looks on after announcing his candidacy for the Republican U.S. presidential 2012 campaign at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey June 21, 2011)

  • Gasho

    When I thought these were two random kids with flags, I thought – OVER THE TOP.  But once I read the comment and understood they were his adopted kids, I have a totally different take on it: Good for Him!  With all the effort it takes to be a parent, and with the obvious improvement in these kid’s lives the image flips on it’s head: he’s not using them – he’s helped them immeasurably.  Isn’t this what we want to see, so long as it’s genuine?

    I don’t know about this dude’s politics. Maybe he sucks in every way – but if these are his kids, then give him a break.  The flags might still be slightly over the top, but it ain’t the first time we’ve seen a flag on a political campaign.

  • Marie

    That’s a fierce grasp his has on his younger child. 

    He’s treading close to some shaky ground here. Among International Adoption parents, there tend to be two attitudes: those who tend to be self-congratulatory about “saving” their children from “a life of squalor and misery,” and those who find the whole “saving” meme gauche if not insulting. Maybe he did save his children from a “no future” but I certainly don’t admire him from asserting so. And we are supposed to applaud him for that attitude?  He’s in danger of infuriating thousands of adoptive parents. Children are not accessories or props. Nor are they stand-ins for international savvy. Adopting a child from another culture, race, or country does not automatically make one more attuned, understanding, or respectful of cultural differences, just as having a couple of minority friends does not give one a pass to make rude or racist remarks. So far: not impressed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=810889128 Molly Whipple Douthett

    I dunno. Candidates have families, sure. But I think it should be against the law to include any footage of said families who are minors. It just seems so damn mercenary and I think the same thing about all of them. Let those kids have a life!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=810889128 Molly Whipple Douthett

    I dunno. Candidates have families, sure. But I think it should be against the law to include any footage of said families who are minors. It just seems so damn mercenary and I think the same thing about all of them. Let those kids have a life!

  • http://www.facebook.com/reece.chenault Reece Chenault

    That’s atrocious.  It says “brown people are doomed without the white man’s gracious assistance and undying love.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/reece.chenault Reece Chenault

    That’s atrocious.  It says “brown people are doomed without the white man’s gracious assistance and undying love.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rj-Lee/100000434630052 Rj Lee

    The guy’s running for President of the United States.  What is wrong with having American flags everywhere.  Plus, have you even been to China where females are often left for dead because of the one child policy?  Give the guy a break.  He’s enjoying a moment with his children and announcing his run for president.  Can’t he enjoy the moment.  How can you questions and give analysis to a guys motives by reviewing one picture.  My God, do some more research before speaking.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ij8slSMMh0c

  • doreeN
Refresh Archives

Random Notes