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Huckabee's Late Show Strategy

Mike Huckabee arrives at an event in Mason, N.H. (Reuters).

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.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 7, 2008; 5:47 PM ET
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Huckabee has a lot of grass roots support and strong momentum heading into South Carolina.

Posted by: Phil6 | January 8, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee doesn't have the credentials, education or experience to be a President. The liberal media is thrilled about his win in Iowa, which is exactly why they pushed it so hard. There won't be an easier Republican to stomp in the general election. He is weak on immigration, taxes, crime, and clueless about foreign policy. I'm tired of the little halo he hangs over his own head. He always plays dumb, (example: "I didn't know Leno's writers hadn't reached an agreement." "I didn't know I would have to cross a picket line." "I'm a former Baptist minister and it was an HONEST question when I asked the journalist 'Don't Mormon's believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers?') and for some reason people are buying it. If you want a conservative vote for FRED!

Posted by: PiousPolly | January 8, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

How is he authentic? He lies about running a positive campaign by personally attacking Romney's honesty when all Romney did was contrast positions. Huck never could answer whether taxes where raised 500 million. He has a load of ethical violations in Arkansas including destroying govenment owned hard drives, taking money for speeches and using a government airplane to get to speeches, trying to steal furniture from the mansiona nd when that didn't work setting up a gift registry. Let's not forget ignoring the wishes aof the victim and pressuring the parole board to release a rapist who goes on to rape and murder again. His so called "fair" tax would kill the economy as people would put off purchasing cars and other item that would cost 23% more it would also kill the already slow housing market by taking away the mortgage tax deduction. He is also a religious bigot who has gone after Mormons and Catholics. This guy will get crushed in a general election when the press ends its love affair with his and looks at his record. He even lied about having a a theology degree he majored in religion which is a far cry from a theology degree.

Posted by: budparks | January 8, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse


There is NO religious test for the office of President of the United States, so a Mormon or Catholic, even a Southern Baptist, can all be elected.

P.S. Did anyone else see Huckabee on David Letterman? Over on The Colbert Report, Stephen officially endorsed Huckabee -- I'm wondering how Letterman treated Mike -- this should be a very interesting leading up to Super Duper Tuesday.

Posted by: JakeD | January 8, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Sure sounds a lot like the marketing of George Bush and his 'compassionate' conservatism. Just another regular guy, experience as a Governor, believes God is helping him become president.....yeah, that all worked out really well the last time. Not again.

Posted by: thebobbob | January 8, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

In addition to trying to stoke religious prejudice by visiting an anti-Catholic church and slandering Mormonism (he just happens to be running against a Catholic and a Mormon), he is guilty of the most irresponsible pardons of vicious criminals ever, worse than Willie Horton. This the a "nice guy"?

Posted by: gary | January 8, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Mike Huckabee "took a muckin and kept on Huckin."

I would think Huckabee could attract a following of Reagan Democrats if he were to go all-out in Michigan, but since Michigan went against the party and scheduled so early it might be most profitable to concentrate on South Carolina and Florida, along with California and Georgia.

Posted by: grassboots | January 8, 2008 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Well said "vote4mikehuckabee"

I'm only 34, but in all my life I have never been as inspired for a presidential candidate as much as I am for Mike Huckabee.

We as Americans believe in some things, and Mike understands what those things are. Mike is not only an authentic conservative, he is an authentic human being.

He isn't handed down money or corporate greed. Mike Huckabee is from the people and for the people of America.

Mike Huckabee has been running a positive campaign while focusing on issues that affect the people he has vowed to serve. Mike has solid plans and ideas that will build America stronger than ever before.

I am proud to say that because Mike has taken time to show that I am what his campaign is about, he has 100% of my vote.

Dan Campbell
Sgt., USMC

Posted by: marinepatriot | January 7, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Well, I wouldn't go so far as to claim that Huckabee is like no other candidate in the last 100 years ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee's likeability, his honesty, his optimism, his humbleness, his trustworthiness are all character traits that define him.

American voters are thrilled to have a presidential candidate who not only has experience on running a government, but also someone who has integrity and charm.

That's why Huckabee is skyrocking in the polls and now taking over # 1 position in the nation. Everybody can feel the energy when Huckabee talks, they feel at ease when he speaks with them.

Huckabee is like no other candidate in the last 100 years. His charm, his down to earth speak, his witty style makes people feel good about themselves in side. Someone they want to hang around with and chat wtih.

Huckabee is going to revolutionize America with his optimism for all not just a selected group. Huckabee appeals to all types of groups. He is going to lead this nation up to higher ground creating a new America spirit to be born.

This is a great time to be an American!

Posted by: vote4mikehuckabee | January 7, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Not only can it "not hurt", but again Huckabee will get more exposure (in New Hampshire, but also the added bonus of 49 other States) for 10-15 minutes than Romney and McCain combined. And, I am still sad that Stephen Colbert was denied a bid in South Carolina . . .

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

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