MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — Underdog Republican White House hopeful Jon Huntsman got a major campaign boost when he picked up the endorsement of the Boston Globe ahead of the New Hampshire primary.

The former Utah governor and ambassador to China opted to skip the Iowa caucuses, instead pinning his hopes on a strong showing in next week's first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire on January 10.

The Boston Globe, seen as influential in the northeastern US state, said while both frontrunner Mitt Romney and Huntsman stand out as "presidential," Huntsman was the better choice to take on President Barack Obama in November.

"With a strong record as governor of Utah and US ambassador to China, arguably the most important overseas diplomatic post, Huntsman's credentials match those of anyone in the field," the newspaper wrote in an editorial.

"He would be the best candidate to seize this moment in GOP history, and the best-prepared to be president."

The newspaper praised Huntsman as "bold" and said his willingness to serve as Washington's envoy to Beijing under Obama, a Democrat, "attests to his sincerity when he vows to lead in a bipartisan spirit."

As for Romney, the Globe said the former Massachusetts governor "campaigns in a way that gives little indication of the kind of president he would be" and criticized his attacks on Obama as "hyperbolic."

Romney, who eked out a razor-thin victory over former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum in the Iowa caucuses this week, has been favored to win in New Hampshire.