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Huckabee, Savoring Win and Looking Ahead

By Perry Bacon Jr.
MANCHESTER, N.H.--Flying on a 737 airplane the campaign could not have afforded two months ago, the Huckabees couldn't stop talking, even as they all professed how tired they were on a post-midnight trip from Des Moines to Manchester.

Mike Huckabee speaks to supporters during his caucus night event at the Embassy Suites January 3, 2008 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Getty Images)

Janet Huckabee chatted on and on about how excited she was about her husband's win in Iowa and after a while, curious about the people who were hanging on her every word, she asked each reporter to go and introduce themselves, taking pictures of the assembled pack standing in the aisles. The candidate's daughter Sarah, who had helped lead the Iowa effort, and his son David talked about how they had studied political science and communications in college and spent much of their lives working in their father's campaigns.

And the candidate himself, always eager to tell jokes, was particularly jocular and relaxed. He openly suggested that John McCain would win next Tuesday's primary, though he did have a radical idea about how he could do well in New Hampshire, a state with a much smaller population of evangelicals Christians than Iowa.

"We've got to convert a lot more people in New Hampshire in the next five days," he joked. "We're going to have a big tent revival out on the grounds of the Concord State Capitol, get them all converted to evangelical faith, then we'll win."

After his press secretary had announced last question, Huckabee didn't budge. When a reporter asked how he had prepared for his victory speech, the ex-governor noted he wanted to make sure he didn't scream. Then, he started doing an imitation of Howard Dean's famous 2004 post-Iowa speech, until his campaign manager, Chip Saltsman, told him the press conference was now definitely over.

When he arrived at a Homewood Suites in Manchester, where he will spend the next few days, it was after 4 a.m. But the governor saw something he wanted in the hotel's snack bar area.

"I want all four of these newspapers," he eagerly told the desk clerk. The New York Times, the Boston Globe and two local newspapers had his face on their front pages.

By Washington Post editors  |  January 4, 2008; 7:17 AM ET
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