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Huckabee's Sprint to the Finish

Huckabee, looking forward from Iowa. (Getty).

By Perry Bacon Jr.
BURLINGTON, Iowa--For Mike Huckabee, his first event on the day of the Iowa caucuses revealed the challenges to a win here: a lack of strong organization and money.

A day after his aides seemed not to have told him that he would have to cross a picket line to go on Jay Leno's show, his campaign set up an event for him to speak at a Best Western here that includes a casino, even though the former Baptist minister is opposed to casino gambling. When the person introducing him asked how many people in the room had decided to vote for Huckabee, only about half of the crowd of around 200 raised their hands. Huckabee was not yet in the room though, and his speech encouraged many people who had not yet decided to back him to "get your friends and neighbors" to come too.

Candidates like Barack Obama allow undecided voters to ask questions, but Huckabee didn't take time to hear from the audience. The former Arkansas governor has not taken questions at events over the last few days, even though voters here are getting phone calls and mailers from the Mitt Romney campaign with negative information about Huckabee, who does not have the same funding here to spread his message.

"He talks about negative ads, but one of the issues we are concerned about is the letting go of the criminals," said Rich Burlingame, a man who attended the speech but is undecided between Huckabee and John McCain. Romney has attacked Huckabee for the large number of pardons issued during Huckabee's tenure as governor, which included reduced sentences for 11 murderers.

Aides said they are holding short events because they are trying to do as many as possible.

Burlingame said "I know it's hard to do it," but wished Huckabee had left time for questions.

The candidate himself, despite flying across the country and back yesterday, said "I was trying to sleep last night and not doing a great job of it."

"I'm jazzed up and ready to go," he told the crowd to loud applause.

He added, "I know the past few days there's been a lot of negative stuff thrown at us...if you're not catching flak, you're not a real target."

And after spending the last few days lowering expectations here as Romney has narrowed the gap between them, Huckabee sounded confident.

"Iowa's going to be a battleground state...I will be the nominee and I will be back," he declared.

By Washington Post editors  |  January 3, 2008; 12:17 PM ET
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I think we could have the Republican version of Jimmy Carter on our hands if Huckabee were to get elected. In my opinion, he would be a bad choice for America. He's not the conservative he is portraying himself to be. He's a fiscal liberal who I believe would expand social programs and tax us to death to pay for them. He's a BIG SPENDER pretending to be a conservative . . . not unlike GWB. I don't like his immigration stance either. Other than being somewhat of a social conservative, he doesn't have much to offer in my opinion.

Huckabee = Jimmy Carter with an R

Posted by: kirtfalcon | January 3, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

One hopes that, absent a Huckabee campaign effort, the media will counter Romney attacks by pointing out how, at Bain Capital, Mr. Romney used offshore corporations (and continues to) in order to avoid U.S. taxation, and he fee-milked acquired businesses before firing workers and taking them into bankruptcy, to amass his great $250,000,000 wealth.

So, when you compare how Mr. Huckabee's visionary FairTax advocacy compares to Romney's interest in the current tax system, it's pretty easy to see who will lead us out of tax slavery - the $265 billion annual tax code compliance costs representing 5 billion wasted hours, annually.

Posted by: ih2005 | January 3, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Mike didn't slap anyone in the face. He was welcomed and cheered as he entered Jay Leno.

We were honored to have Mike Huckabee here!

Mike Huckabee is the obvious choice for America!!

Posted by: marinepatriot | January 3, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee crossed a picket line recently and by doing so slapped the American worker across the face. With good paying American jobs going overseas at an alarming rate, do we really want a leader who'll disregard American workers and cross a picket line? When a worker is struggling for fair wages and benefits it is reprehensible for anyone to cross a picket line. Send Huckabee a message by casting your vote for another candidate from the field.

Posted by: jgnelson69 | January 3, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

If Governor Huckabee is tough enough to cross the picket lines of one of the meanest unions in America to go on Jay Leno, he is tough enough to be President.

And now that he is a scab, country club republicans can support him too.

Posted by: mthompson | January 3, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

There are two excellent democrats running in the Republican Primaries. They are Huckabee and McCain whose records (pardon my confusing anyone with the facts - I know we are supposed to be dumb Americans and follow the "Rock Stars")are clearly liberal in every aspect. On the otherhand, there is ONE person running who has had to attempt to pull off a miracle of running conservative views in the most liberal state in America (MASS). We don't really need McCain/Fiengold or Huckabee/SideKick Norris. They are all good people. Even Mr. Norris. But they are not Conservative leaders. But I admit, they are homey and warm and fuzzy.

Posted by: SkitheRockies | January 3, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

See message from WakeUpCall posted above. This person has first hand experience to back up what is said, not just more hot air from the ill-informed Huckabee haters.

Posted by: Andersod7 | January 3, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Mike Huckabee is an honest, solid leader! Mike Huckabee stands up for the people of America. Mike Huckabee is willing to stand up for what is right.

Romney never pardoned a single person, nor did he even take time to hear most of their cases. One he did graciously hear was about a young boy who shot another young kid in arm with bb gun. Later the kid worked his way through college, then became a decorated hero in the U.S. Army. After Iraq he wanted to serve the public by being a peace officer. He was a proven hero. He needed a pardon, but Mitt Romney said NO! Boo to Mitt Romney Booooo!

I can tell you right now, that soldier deserved that pardon, and Mike Huckabee would have granted it. A leader can not always make the right decision, but it is their duty to at least try to.

Mitt Romney never tried. Mitt Romney has carefully planned every step to gain power of this country. He was a coward when it came to standing up for the people. Even when it meant not doing his job so as to make sure he made no mistakes. Well that was his mistake.

Elect Mike Huckabee for President. A real, true, authentic American leader.

I support Mike Huckabee 100%

Dan Campbell
Sgt., USMC

Posted by: marinepatriot | January 3, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Mike Huckabee, being a fiscal conservative, has not raised as much money but has a whole lot left in the bank. The other campaigns are in danger of being debt poor, except for coporate raider Richie Rich Romney who has deep personal pockets. He is polling high in the national polls and will go higher after the Leno appearance. He is a marathon runner and is in it for the long haul. He will handily win Iowa, but if he somehow did not due to Mitt's "paid" volunteers, well, Huck can continue on and compete in Michigan and he will easily win South Carolina and then Florida. Deep pockets Mitt can hang on as well and can even make co-payments for abortions, he's so rich.

Posted by: TrueHawk | January 3, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I am still amazed at the immature name-calling people can't seem to get away from. Anyway....I admit am automatically skeptical of any politician, and that included Huckabee. But as always, if you care about America in the least, you must examine their views on ALL the issues rather than the amount of mud they can sling when considering who to support. As I looked into the policies and beiefs of those running, and watched all the negative campaigns being run, the one person who stood out for his POLICIES and ability to react calmly when under attack, was Mike Huckabee.

Keep in mind that in America everyone is entitled to their opinion, and in mine, that is the kind of leadership we NEED....calm under pressure and a willingness to work until the job is done.

Posted by: mcshep777 | January 3, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Love the Head Line!

So an Un-Organized Broke guy wants to be the President of a broke and disfunctional Country?

Must admit, he would appear to have the right qualifications!

If, we are actually WANTING, a broke and disfunctional Country! :-(

Posted by: rat-the | January 3, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

WOW!! MIKE HUCKABEE HAS ONE IMPRESSIVE EGO!! In fact, his ego may be the most impressive thing about him. He was a governor of a small state that is ranked in the bottom third in every major category,from education to per capita income to infant mortality. And he doesn't even have the educational background to make up for it, refer to US NEWS college rankings.
I think that it can be fairly said that he lacks more experience than he actually has. He'll need geography lessons before he enters the Situation Room,a crash course in world finance before we give him the key to the till, and a short visit to West Point to get a clue about the military. He doesn't even have the connections to appoint people who can compensate for his ignorance.
YET MIKEY STILL THINKS HE SHOULD BE PRESIDENT!! WHY?? BECAUSE GOD WANTS IT. Let's hope he's got that one right. Bush sure didn't. If Mikey ever gets within a block of the White House, this nation is going to need divine intervention to survive.

Posted by: mhitchons | January 3, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee is not the one. Every step he takes he steps in something. Pakistani immigrants, say don't mormons believe, I am pulling this ad but let me show you first, what's the NIE, bush admins bunker mentality, conservatism>populism>socialism>communism that worries me too. There are far too many small mistakes for me to trust him to represent "stupid hick conservatives" I want the media to have to deal with Romney and his shifts than Huckabee and his intelligence. They have called Bush an idiot for the past eight years I know they would be risking their credibility if they tried that with Romney.

Posted by: camdryg | January 3, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee is a good, intelligent man of sound principles. I'm from Arkansas, have worked in the court system there, and can tell you that some juries impose fairly draconian criminal sentences. Most states don't even allow juries to sentence criminals. Huckabee only ever used his authority to correct break downs in the system. Personally, I want a leader who has the courage to stand up to injustice.

Posted by: WakeUpCall | January 3, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I thought Huckabee was a solid honest man, but everyday something suspicious comes up and Huckabee plays dumb. So either he is a liar or an idiot, I'm beginning to conclude he is both.

Posted by: PiousPolly | January 3, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

How exactly did JAY LENO and not taking questions because they are keeping appearance short = lack of strong organization and money? Clinton does Letterman and takes no questions too . . .

Posted by: JakeD | January 3, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

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