Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tells National Review Online that he will be sad to see Ambassador Jon Huntsman, a potential 2012 presidential contender, leave his post in Beijing. “He has been a very fine representative of our country in China,” Lugar tells us. “He brings a great background in politics and international relations. I regret that he’s leaving at this particular point because his service has been important and will continue to be.”
Turning to Hoosier affairs, Lugar also has kind words for Rep. Mike Pence, who is mulling a 2012 gubernatorial run after ruling out a presidential bid. “I talked to him prior to his decision the other day. He was kind enough to phone me,” Lugar says. “I encouraged him to continue his exploration, which he was planning to do, and to reach a decision as soon as possible. In the event that he is to be a candidate, I would be very delighted to have him as a running mate in my reelection campaign.”
As John J. Miller reports, Lugar is considered a top Tea Party target next year.