Jon Huntsman gets Jeb Bush Jr.'s endorsement for 2012

With cellar-dwelling poll numbers and a campaign shake-up to boot, Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman plans a "major announcement" on Wednesday morning in South Florida: The endorsement of Jeb Bush Jr.

His campaign said Bush Jr. will serve as national co-chair of GenH, with the mission to reach out to young people. Also joining the campaign is Republican political strategist Ana Navarro, of Miami. Her title: National Hispanic Chairperson.

Said Bush Jr. in a statement: “Jon Huntsman is the best-prepared candidate to defeat President Obama in Florida and across the country. I am confident that his vision will appeal to young voters, who are alarmed at the trillions of dollars in debt being passed to our generation and who desperately seek jobs and economic opportunity. Washington needs a conservative problem-solver with Jon Huntsman’s record of results."

Said Navarro in a statement: “Jon Huntsman’s broad appeal to young voters and Hispanic voters clearly separates him from the rest of the Republican primary field. He is uniquely qualified to win the primary election in Florida and also put Florida back into play for Republicans in the 2012 general election. I am extremely proud to endorse his candidacy and look forward to working tirelessly on his behalf in the great state of Florida."

Huntsman will formally announce the endorsements at a press conference scheduled for 11:15 a.m. in Coconut Grove.

Chances are the endorsements won’t do much – in part because endorsements seldom make much of a difference.

But that’s especially true in the case of Huntsman, who has weathered a staff shakeup that leaves the campaign with more negative press clips than momentum.

"Jon Huntsman has a LONG way to go to win in FL nevertheless nationwide,” Tony Fabrizio, a Republican pollster who worked on Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign and Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign as well, said in an email.

“His campaign apparatus appears ready to implode and his strategy is eerily reminiscent of Giuliani’s from 2008 -- and we all know how well that worked out for Rudy. The polling data shows Huntsman stuck in the national and state-specific polling. That means endorsements aren’t likely to change Huntsman’s trajectory, only a radical campaign makeover will."

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