Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. announced his intention to run for the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday.
"This is the hour when we choose our future. I'm Jon Huntsman and I'm running for president of the United States," the silver-haired Huntsman said in a speech televised from Jersey City, N.J.
Huntsman called the America economy "totally unacceptable" and took a gentle swipe at President Obama's 2008 campaign themes of hope and change, saying the country needs "leadership that knows we need more than hope, leadership that knows we need answers."
Huntsman said he respects Obama but added that he and the president have "a difference of opinion on how to help the country we both love."
"But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is, `Who will be the better president, not who's the better American,'" he told the audience.
The 51-year-old is described as a high-school drop out, Harley-riding diplomat. Like fellow Republican contender Mitt Romney, he is a Mormon.
In 2004, Huntsman was elected governor of Utah by 57 percent of the vote. In 2008, he was reelected with a whopping 75 percent of the vote.
Less than a year into his second term, he accepted President Obama's appointment as ambassador to China.
Huntsman had been flirting with a presidential run for months. In recent interviews he criticized U.S. foreign policy, saying the country is overcommitted to world trouble spots. He has also sought to stress his background as a businessman and has said jobs would be a top priority.
Huntsman came in second in a presidential straw poll at the Republican leadership conference this past weekend.
Huntsman and his wife, Mary, have seven children, including two adopted daughters, one from China and the other from India.