CONCORD, NH -- GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman today strongly objected to a video made by an apparent Ron Paul supporter about his two adopted daughters and his ability to speak Mandarin Chinese.
"It's just stupid," he told a group of college students today. "If someone wants to poke fun at me for speaking Chinese, that's okay. What I object to is bringing forward pictures and videos of my adopted daughters, suggesting that there is some sinister motive there."
Huntsman went onto describe how 12-year-old Gracie, who often appears on the campaign trail at his side, was found in a vegetable market in China and taken to an orphanage, from which Huntsman and his wife Mary Kaye adopted her. At campaign stops throughout New Hampshire, Huntsman often playfully introduces Gracie his "senior foreign policy adviser."
The video, posted by a user named NHLiberty4Paul on YouTube, questions Huntsman's American values and calls him a "Manchurian candidate," before showing Huntsman with a Mao Zedong suit super imposed on his likeness. The video also features images of him with his adopted daughters Gracie Mei and Asha, who were born in China and India, respectively.
Yesterday, Huntsman's campaign spokesman Tim Miller condemned the video as "offensive" and called on Ron Paul and the people who created the video to apologize to the Huntsman family.
The Paul campaign immediately responded and called the video "utterly distasteful."
"Anyone who would post something like this is clearly not a supporter of Dr. Paul's principles," said Kate Schackai, Paul's New Hampshire media coordinator.
The user did not immediately respond with comment, and NBC News has not yet been able to confirm if NHLiberty4Paul is indeed a Paul supporter.
When asked whether Paul himself should apologize, Huntsman told reporters, "If the group is in any way affiliated with his organization of course he should. It's just political campaign nonsense. It happens from time to time."
But ever the diplomat, Huntsman steered the conversation to a larger lesson, telling his college-aged audience that Gracie and Asha are "a daily reminder that there are a lot of kids in this world who don't have the breaks that you do and who face a very, very uncertain future that lacks health care that lacks the ability to dream and plan and any sense of upward mobility."
"Now these two girls are on the presidential campaign trail," Huntsman said. "I say, how cool is that?"
Huntsman's oldest three daughters have been particularly active on Twitter, campaigning for their dad as the @Jon2012girls.