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Huntsman tries to get on the radar, but lacking N.H. strength

AP

Jon Huntsman (R) speaks in New Hampshire Aug. 13.

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Jon Huntsman has repeatedly said that "putting down shoe leather in New Hampshire" is his priority for the primary season.

But he's been off the radar here in the Granite State for more than a week. He has instead focused his energy on grabbing attention in the national press -- and via Twitter.

Huntsman's media blitz started last week with a snarky Tweet heard 'round the campaign world. Firing back at Rick Perry's skepticism of evolution, Huntsman snagged his biggest spike in followers and retweets since his campaign began, typing.

"To be clear,” he said. “I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy."

The following day, Huntsman and his family appeared in the pages of Vogue, photographed by Annie Leibovitz. Then the former Utah governor made an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” and tonight, he appears on CNN with Piers Morgan, showing off his Mandarin Chinese and piano skills.

Here in New Hampshire, Huntsman's national media strategy isn't bearing fruit yet.

At the New Hampshire Young Republican Straw Poll on Saturday, Huntsman remained relatively unknown. He garnered just 3% in the straw poll, behind even Rep. Thaddeus McCotter and landing closer to Gary Johnson and Buddy Roemer than Mitt Romney and  Perry, who remain the central subjects of his campaign attacks and are polling at the top of the GOP presidential field.

Huntsman’s campaign says he has seen an uptick in fundraising since his Thursday Tweet. And he is set to be back in New Hampshire at the end of this month.

New Hampshire has the most socially moderate voters of the primary states, and Huntsman, the most moderate of the GOP candidates, needs to do well here.

*** UPDATE *** The Huntsman campaign pushed back, saying they have spent more time in New Hampshire than any other candidate and a profile of Huntsman appeared on the front page of the Concord Monitor Saturday.