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Ridge touts Huntsman's experience and record

MANCHESTER, NH -- Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who served as George W. Bush's former Homeland Security secretary, today endorsed Jon Huntsman here in New Hampshire, calling him "only candidate with demonstrated success at the state, national, and international levels."

"Jon has a proven record in creating jobs, strengthening America's competitiveness and advancing our interests in a global economy," Ridge told reporters. "His significant experience and statesmanship already signal 10 times over that he is ready to take on the complex challenges facing the country and meet the demands of America's leadership with the rest of the world."

"He has a unique combination of leadership and statesmanship the country needs now," Ridge added. "We need leaders who inspire us to compete. He has the judgment, temperament and vision to lead America."

Huntsman returned the compliment: "What I love about Tom is that he is a problem solver, not a flame thrower."

"I am humbled to gain the support of one of our nation's most respected public servants," the former Utah governor and U.S. ambassador to China said. "Tom has been on the front lines of some of the most important issues facing our nation, and I'm proud to have the support of such an experienced voice."

Ridge's endorsement comes in the midst of significant staffing changes and financial challenges for the Huntsman campaign. Most recently, here in New Hampshire, Huntsman fired his state campaign manager and replaced him with seasoned New Hampshire campaign staffer and John McCain's New Hampshire deputy campaign manager, Sarah Crawford Stewart.

Ridge's endorsement was first reported in the New Hampshire Union Leader.