Huckabee's Late Show Strategy
Updated 6:31 p.m.
By Perry Bacon Jr. and Michael D. Shear
MANCHESTER, Jan. 7 -- On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee will once again head out of town, this time for an appearance on CBS's "Late Show" with David Letterman.
Huckabee did the same thing on the eve of the Iowa caucus, appearing with Jay Leno on the "Tonight Show," earning high marks for his casual, easygoing style. He played bass guitar with Leno's band between segments of the show.
The new appearance is intended to raise his profile, but also to help with another major problem for his campaign: money. Huckabee only had $2 million in cash on the eve of the Iowa vote and while his advisers say he is bringing in more cash, it still remains a concern. While John McCain and Mitt Romney are headed to fight in Michigan, Huckabee's campaign has been more cautious about going to the state.
"It's expensive," says campaign chairman Ed Rollins, noting it could cost about $1 million to air enough television ads there to have a fighting chance in state where McCain won in 2000 and Romney's father was governor.
To raise that money, Huckabee continues to send out fundraising appeals to his supporters, asking for supporters to "invest your financial support on the ground in states such as South Carolina (Jan. 19 primary) and Florida (Jan. 29 primary." Rollins said the campaign had little ground operation in Michigan, but has long been organizing in South Carolina and started opening offices in Florida last week.
The former governor has little to lose in New Hampshire. A new CNN poll released Monday afternoon showed Huckabee a distant third in the state behind John McCain and Mitt Romney. A better than expected performance could help Huckabee in South Carolina, where Republican voters go to the polls Jan. 19.
The campaign believes it will be a long battle with Romney for social conservative votes, but that he can afford to campaign if even if he continues to take losses.
"You have to defeat him out," said Bob Wickers, a top strategist.
At the same time, Huckabee, who entered a non-aggression pact of sorts with Mccain as they both took on Romney over the last months, is beginning to prepare a case against the Arizona Senator, who is will be in South Carolina on Wednesday.
"Voters are looking for a fresh face," Huckabee said on CNN's America Morning today. "They are looking for somebody who understands the struggle in the middle class, who is championing the calls of small business."
Huckabee was joined on four campaign stops and two television interviews in New Hampshire by actor Chuck Norris.
Web Politics Editor
January 7, 2008; 5:47 PM ET
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