The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Huckabee's Campaign Keeps on Ticking

Mike Huckabee aims to keep John McCain on his toes. (AP.)

By Perry Bacon Jr.
VIRGINIA BEACH -- While Arizona Sen. John McCain keeps rolling out endorsements from GOP figures and is the party's presumptive nominee, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee says he has a simple rationale for staying in the race: He's winning states.

"By the way, since it's all over, it's an interesting thing someone didn't tell the people in Kansas and somebody forget to tell the folks in Louisiana," he told a crowd of several hundred in Virginia Beach, mocking what he calls the "national media" and "party bosses" for a "coronation" of McCain.

Wins in Kansas and Louisiana on Saturday emboldened Huckabee as he made stops in Richmond, Virginia Beach, Roanoke and Weyers Cave ahead of Tuesday's primaries in the Washington area. He touted an endorsement from Paul Weyrich, a conservative activist who had previously backed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, and dispatched his campaign's lawyer to contest the results in Washington state, where state party officials called a close race for McCain even though not all the votes had been counted.

Huckabee aides don't expect to carry any of the states in tomorrow's primaries, and those losses make it closer to mathematically impossible for Huckabee to win the GOP nomination.

"We are in this race for you and every other conservative American," he told audience members in Virginia Beach.

Huckabee's campaign says he is not hurting McCain by staying in, but instead keeping media attention focused on the GOP race instead of the Democratic contest.

"Because MH is who he is, he will continue to campaign as he always has, in an honorable and honest way. He will draw distinctions, he will debate and debate hard, but he will always be civil and decent,"wrote Huckabee chairman Ed Rollins and campaign manager Chip Saltsman in a memo to supporters. "Even many McCain supporters have told us that they appreciate the constructive role that Governor Huckabee can play in the months to come, because a vigorous discussion will keep all the media 'oxygen' from migrating over to the Democratic contest."

In fact, pressure may grow for Huckabee to drop out precisely because he is showing McCain's problems with the party's conservative base. A tiny number of people voted in Kansas, but Huckabee achieved a blowout win there, despite McCain's backing from all of the key political figures in the state. Huckabee aides believe he can take more than 40 percent of the vote in Virginia, despite his skeletal organization here.

"Candidates like Governor Huckabee have really committed activists supporting them," said Gary Bauer, a social conservative activist who announced yesterday he would back McCain. "Senator McCain is going to need those activists to win in November. Work needs to be done between the senator and the base of the party."

And Huckabee, while not directly attacking McCain by name, is increasingly focused on issues where they differ. His stump speech, once focused more on his biography and personal anecdotes, now has a heavy emphasis on his embrace of a fence between the borders of the U.S and Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants and constitutional bans on gay marriage and abortion, all positions where Huckabee differs from McCain.

"If somebody says, 'I want to be president, by the way I've been in the Senate,' what has the Senate done lately other than try to put before you an immigration bill you hated so much you burned and melted their phone lines until they finally got the message that they work for us, it's not the other way around," he said to loud applause in Virginia Beach.

And one of the Huckabee's backers, Michael Farris, a home-schooling advocate who is the founder of Patrick Henry College, an evangelical school in Purcellville, Loudoun County, blasted McCain's views on abortion, while not naming the senator.

"Babies should live in all of America," Farris said. "If a person can't get that right and thinks it should vary from state to state, by definition they are double-minded. By definition, we know if you can't get life right, you won't get national defense right."

Posted at 4:39 PM ET on Feb 11, 2008
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You may not want John Mccain, but do you want Hillary or Barack? We do NOT know what he is going to "change" and we may well be levied with healthcare premiums with Hillary plus more and more and more. I personally like you, am a christian, believe much as you do, admire what you've accomplished and the way you speak. However as Republicans we MUST come together in time to be together at comventin time. I urge you to suspend your canidacy.

Posted by: Betsydbarrett | February 16, 2008 2:42 PM

It is Pretty evident the Big heads in republican party are scared to see their Hollow candidate blown apart by HUCK.

Inspite of being the fornt runner, getting endorsements on an hourly basis, McCain has been soundly beaten in Kansas, LA. Had his Pal Lazy fred dropped before in SC also he would have been beaten by HUCK.

The only reason McCain has come so far is because of the split of conservatives among HUCK and ROMNEY. Once ROMNEY has droped, HUCK is exposing the Hollowness of McCain. Nearly 2/3 of the Republicans are not supporting McCain. It is evident from the results. Now McCain is scared and calling his longtime friends in Washington to stop the PEOPLE'S MAN HUCK.

If HUCK takes VA or MD, McCain will never reach the required delegates needed for Nominaton. HUCK is going to sweep TX, OH, NC for sure.

Posted by: borntowin | February 12, 2008 2:23 PM

Huckabee is a self-proclaimed Christian leader...that sounds like a the White house.

Posted by: adamscar | February 12, 2008 12:53 PM

LOL! :-0

Yeah, I did curse McPain. Getting ready for Four Years of continuing to! ;~(

But, what choices are left? I was NOT Kidding about the FACT that I am furious at the whole collection of RepubliCANT misfits!

Cripes, even St. Mitt! Mitt Romney unfortunately was the only one to listen to my calls for Unity. But the Mittster was the one who should have been left standing! HE, was the one who was always a Contender, while al-Huckleberry and McPain were either in or very out! As fellow supporter JakeD pointed out, there was always the possibility McPain would suffer an un-expected demise. THAT would have left Mitt in the lead.

However, RATS are adaptable-Hee Heeeee! ;~)

Onward and Upward! My ENEMIES are NOW, the agents of Mitt's Demise. Where Ruthie Giuliani BAILED and let McPain win, al-Huckster venemously attacked Romney's Mormonism and played sectarian Politics in Attrition!
Dr. NO is simply being played by his misguided Nut-Job followers!

jcress1-LOL! Evolution has misconceptions? LOL! IF, the Earth was only 8,000 Years Old, the Handful of people in the beginning must have had their hands very full burying all those Fossils!

THEN, if you catch Strep, would you want the old cure, or the Newest one that still treats the ailment that has evolved to be able to resist the Old Treatment? :-)

McCain was tripped up on the Immigration Garbage. However, as a President he is no longer a Legislator. I do trust him not to place Libbie Judges, and I do think I can hit the old Dog enough times to teach him a New Trick!

BANG BANG BAM! McPain, Did THAT get your attention? BANG-BANG! That, was for making me hit you so hard!

It is an EMPLOYMENT issue! Bust and fine Construction and Auto Shop EMPLOYERS! ENFORCE the FEDERAL Labor Laws requiring PROPER ID Records on W-4's! The only Zero Tolerance Law I support, is the federal One requiring EMPLOYERS to verify a Worker's eligibility! If NOT, $1,000 Fine!

Got it? Good!

BANG-BANG-BANG! THAT, was to help you remember!

NOW, McPain Fetch MITT! Fetch Old Boy! Get Mitt for your VP!

Or, see this BIGGER Stick? ;~(

Posted by: rat-the | February 12, 2008 12:37 PM

The public complains that Washington is filled with insiders. Here we have a chance to vote for an Washington outsider who happens to have executive experience unlike the other 3 choices, yet we continue to ingnore & stick to status quo. Shame on us if we don't elect Governor Mike Huckabee as our 44th President.

Posted by: RegHA | February 12, 2008 11:10 AM

Why isn't the MSM reporting on the travesty currently taking place in Washington state, where the Republican party simply stopped counting the votes in Saturday's caucus and declared McCain the winner. It's looks like they were afraid that Huckabee would win and pulled the plug so McCain wouldn't be seen to lose three contests in a row. They know they have a weak candidate and they're willing the cheat to protect him.

Posted by: katman62 | February 11, 2008 10:55 PM

Huckabee voters will NOT support McCain without Huck, they believe in him too much. Frankly, who could support a man who makes such a critical mistake?

Posted by: FairMark | February 11, 2008 10:12 PM

We Love You Huckabee!!!!!! Don't let McCain win!!! He's a liberal in wolf's clothing.

Posted by: AlbyVA | February 11, 2008 10:10 PM

How dare he defy the will of the people ... and by people, I mean Dean Broder, Joe Lie-berman and the other village idiots, I mean, elders.

Posted by: havok26 | February 11, 2008 10:03 PM

As soon as a leader emerges from the Christian wing of the party, the Romnney money-men and the McCain militarists get together to smack him down. The evangelical voter has a duty to vote GOP, but the GOP has no duty to represent Christians.

Republicans like McCain and Romney would be horrified if Roe Vs Wade got overturned. If there were no abortions, where would they get their votes, their volunteers, their money?

If Christians dare to speak, they're called idiots or crazy. But John McCain with his hundred years' war is apparently a moderate.

Go Huck! You truly are kicking butt!

He's a great campaigner, he's warm and fuzzy like Ronnie, but with youth and energy. And good one-liners. He even has music. It's impossible to dislike Mike Huckabee. And he sure gets results, what a candidate.

PS 'rat-the', you sure came around to McCain quick. A week ago you were cursing him blind.
Very adaptable creature, the rat.

Posted by: kenonwenu | February 11, 2008 10:00 PM

rat-the, face the facts. Romney threw good money after bad trying to pander his way into prominence. His stubborn refusal to read the tea leaves(lots of cash, limited results) is what split the conservative vote. You should be as upset as I am at Romney. However, I'm upset because Huckabee would be easier to defeat than McCain (and Romney doubly so). Romney is the reason Romney lost. As for your very good man comment, it is clear that you haven't followed Romney very closely. Good family man, I'll readily give him that. But a poor governor and a sorry Presidential candidate...

Posted by: Ford1998 | February 11, 2008 9:55 PM

I've enjoyed watching Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee stick it to the establishment this year. Although I don't agree with near anything he says, Huckabee is right to keep fighting for the nomination. Why should he drop out just because Republicans want to get it over with? I am so tired of the establishment running over the voters.

Revenge: Ron Paul beat Giuliani (before the tough guy dropped out) in IA, MI, SC and NV. Giuliani only barely beat Paul in nearby NH and retiree-rich FL

Posted by: morning135 | February 11, 2008 9:35 PM

I don't like Mike Huckabee, but he has a good point. Besides, Mike Gravel is still in the race and he has not won a single delegate.

Posted by: deaniac | February 11, 2008 9:28 PM

Stephen Colbert told him to be a "Huckabee," not a "Huckawas." I guess he is heeding that advice!

Posted by: AIPACiswar | February 11, 2008 9:12 PM

I understand completely why Mike Huckabee remains in the contest. McCain is not yet the nominee, and until he reaches 1191 delegates, this is still a race for the nomination. What I don't understand, although I do realize that it is supposed to happen, is.... Why do some of you HATE Mike Huckabee, simply because he is a Christian man? I don't HATE others who are agnostic, athiest, or of other religions, I just disagree with them. When has Mike Huckabee EVER said he is going to change the constitution to make Christianity and the belief system thereof, the standard of the United States? He is not able to, even if he wanted to. And about evolution. Please... The theory is extremely flawed, and carries very limited influence among most people. Even Darwin discounted his own theory before he died.
What Mike Huckabee has, is called Faith. The Bible says...Now faith is the SUBSTANCE of things HOPED for, and the EVIDENCE of things not SEEN. The scriptures also say that without Faith, it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God. For in order to come to God, one must first BELIEVE that GOD IS, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek HIM. Why hate a person because they have faith. I must say that it takes a lot more to believe in a theory of evolution, than to believe in the Almighty and benevolent God, who through His son, gives eternal life to all who believe in Him. Both are a matter of faith. If you believe in evolution, you have faith that mankind is evolving in every way toward a different future. If you have faith in Christ Jesus, you believe that He alone has paid for the sin of the world, and that at God's perfect timing, all those who love HIM and trust in Christ(faith), will go to be with Him forever. I fall into the latter category.
I really like Mike Huckabee, but I still have some questions about his economic plan. I am on SS Disability and a very small Pension, and so I have some concerns about how his policies would affest me. But friends, we don't get anywhere by HATING others who believe differently than we. And the amount of mis-information that is passed along on these BLOGS, is utterly rediculous.
I live in Arkansas, and have now for 10 years. I know Mike Huckabee as a leader and as a man and minister. He is excellent in all three capacities. Don't just read one or two blogs, or an article or two by someone who has a vestyed interest in the demise of the other person, check out as many sources as you can, and then try to make an informed decision based on what you can find out for yourself. As for evolution,....seems to me, that the world has pretty much remained the same, except for technological advances in all streams. But mankind?... we still seem to be the same way we have always been, as described by the book of Genesis, the Bible, the beginning,...God Created....
Don't worry about what divides us all, we don't have to work on being divided, that's easy. Let us work on common goals, for common good, and love each other DESPITE our unloveliness. NOW THAT would be REAL CHANGE,... wouldn't it.
Heres to a better tomorrow for all of us.

Posted by: jcress1 | February 11, 2008 9:10 PM

While I have admitted to having mixed feelings for John McCain, I suffer no such qualms about Huckleberry. Him and Dr.NO have earned my utmost scorn and dislike!
THEY, have already costed the Country a very good man, and are now continuing to divide the base.
What I would love to see is McCain enlist Mitt Romney as his VP, and put both Huckster and Dr. NO out of the picture. They are hurting the GOP way more than they are helping-At a time when the GOP needs help!
Huckleberry played the Religion Card. That was a No-No! Exit Politics Huckleberry. The Baptists do not get to pull a Sectarian Power Grab! The American version of Shia, FAILED(Miserably)!
Go play with your Bible someplace private. I hear Haggard will play with you! ;~)

Posted by: rat-the | February 11, 2008 8:59 PM

Huckabee's supporters range far beyond the religious right and evangelical base he's credited with; we support him because he's the only candidate with a tough stand on illegal immigration (how has that issue been sidelined?!), because we support the FairTax (please visit, because he's a magnificent orator, with Reagan-like communications skills...for myriad reasons. We believe that a brokered convention is possible. We believe that the Republican Party needs a candidate who can inspire a renewed enthusiasm, with a constituency that will actively work to put our guy in the White House in the upcoming election. It's going to take that kind of dedication and drive to beat the Democratic ticket, and folks, that guy is not John McCain!

It is interesting to point out, as Governor Huckabee did on NPR today, that the states in which he's won are states that are going to be vital in the general election for the GOP. Many of McCain's delegates come from traditionally Democratic states, where we don't stand a chance in November.

I urge all Republican and Independent voters to take a good look at Governor Huckabee, rather than believe what is portrayed in the media. He is far better qualified through executive experience than any remaining candidate, bar none.

Posted by: bethidee | February 11, 2008 8:44 PM

Who split the conservative vote so that the more moderate candidate came out on top? ROMNEY. It's he we should thank or blame, depending on your perspective...

Posted by: Ford1998 | February 11, 2008 8:44 PM

Loogout, "Magoo!" The "Pope's" campaign is having posters printed with The White House in color in the background and the following phrase superimposed: "The Huck Stops Here!"

Posted by: filoporquequilo | February 11, 2008 8:35 PM

Posted by: marinepatriot

First off, marinepatriot: Congratulations on your honorable service to this nation. However, WHY MUST YOU SCREAM OUT YOUR THOUGHTS? YOU REALLY DON'T GET YOUR POINT ACROSS VERY WELL WHEN YOU DO THAT!
And while you are free to support whomever you choose, the rest of DON'T want Huckabee.

danram wrote:
"Heck, as much as I detest the Democrats..."
Excuse me, danram, but why waste your time detesting anyone whose views you don't share? I don't much care for what the GOP has devolved into, but I don't detest Republicans. Hatred by either side does this nation no good. If you really want positive change, then drop partisan B.S. like "detest," OK?

Posted by: vegasgirl1 | February 11, 2008 8:34 PM

Remember, Bob Dole and George H. Bush got hammered because young voters do not relate or associate with them and the same goes for McCain, not to mention the other bones in his closet. That means the democrats will win! A vote for McCain is a vote for more of the SAME old age politics! Go Huckabee!

Posted by: d_shoup | February 11, 2008 8:26 PM

Huckabee is a problem for Republicans. He simply won't get the delegates, so McCain will be the nominee. But the longer he stays in the race, the weaker he makes McCain look with true conservatives. If McCain can attract those conservatives, he will be President, no doubt about it. If Huckabee by some miracle wins the nomination, he will get completely towelled up by either Democrat. Look at the states he's taken so far. The Democratic candidate wouldn't win them anyway. It's pretty simple: Huckabee has NO chance of winning enough Electoral College votes. Huckabee is ruining the likelihood of a GOP President the longer he stays in the race.

Posted by: josh.jb | February 11, 2008 7:59 PM

MIKE HUCKABEE FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES! Don't say Mike can't beat Hillary Clinton, the foul mouthed first lady who now wants to be president. Huckabee has taken on the Clinton machine four times and beat them every time. I don't think the Huck is too worried about taking on Obama either. The talking heads, media and Republican establishment have done their dastardly work by down-playing the significance of a Huckabee presidency. The lies and half-truths have been all countered successfully, because Mike is truly the only conservative in this race.

Go Mike Huckabee and keep running so that all the folks who support your vision for America will have their voices heard and their vote counted. This is the American way. We the people decide, not the country club establishment, back room brokers, (Super-Delegates) who already have McCain in their back pockets. Shameful.
Oh, and by the way, remember "God is watching us"! If you don't believe in a God, than don't worry about whether or not He is watching you, because He doesn't know you exist.

Posted by: LarkinGMead | February 11, 2008 7:57 PM

People say Huckabee doesn't have foreign policy experience. Well it's true that he's never sat on a foreign relations committee or been an ambassador, but this man was governor of a state for 10 years (during which time he did travel to 40+ countries and met numerous political leaders and heads of state).

What's more important though, sitting on a foreign relations committee in Congress or running a government? None of the other candidates has ever governed. The largest staff they've ever had to deal with has been their campaign staff. They're senate staffs number no more than twenty people. The American people have never been comfortable with electing non-governors, and have not elected one for forty years.

The reason is simple, only governors have the requisite experience of running a government. And Huckabee did it so well he was re-elected twice, took nearly 50% of the black vote--a unique achievement among any living Republican, and won the primary in his home state by a vast margin that made McCain's and Romney's narrow victories in their own home states look pathetic.

Huckabee is the only true heir to Reagan, the only one who can broaden the base of the party, and inspire us all.

Posted by: hello5 | February 11, 2008 7:55 PM

Kudos for the Huckster!!.I'm no religous nut but anything is better than McCain or Clinton,even no President at all.

Posted by: Ricardo1 | February 11, 2008 7:53 PM

The only reason the polls of Obama/Clinton vs. Huckabee matchups show Huckabee losing is for the simple fact that Huckabee has hitherto had very little exposure. Many democrats have not even heard of him. Once he wins the nomination, he will get the exposure, the debates and his numbers will easily eclipse Obama or Clinton. THe man is simply more experienced, more eloquent than any other candidate (Obama is eloquent only when he's reading from a teleprompter), and has more in common with the average American.

Huckabee is destined to be our president, and we can be grateful for that.

Posted by: hello5 | February 11, 2008 7:42 PM

By emphasizing conservatives' current dissaffection with McCain, Huckabee only serves to generate stories about how fractured the Republican party is. If this is the type of story he and Ed Rollins want the media "oxygen" to focus on, then by all means, he should stay in the race until the convention. Otherwise, I don't see the point of continuing, since it is mathematically impossible for him to win the nomination.

What benefit does he get simply from being a spoiler if McCain will become the nominee anyway?

Posted by: smc91 | February 11, 2008 7:41 PM

Mike Huckabee is the best political candidate in a GENERATION! I hope to be hearing about him every day for the next EIGHT YEARS as he faithfully carries out his duties as President! Don't let this opportunity slip away to put a truly great man in White House!

Posted by: michaelLitz | February 11, 2008 7:39 PM

This guy is never going to be elected dog catcher. Hopefully America is a smarter nation than to elect a guy who wants to turn our democracy into a theocracy. If by some strange twist of fate he did get the GOP nomination. Obama or Clinton would beat him in the general election. He needs to go back to preaching and stay out of politics.

Posted by: fchjr64 | February 11, 2008 7:32 PM

I'm tempted to register Republican just to vote for Huckabee. I'm not a big fan of his, but I'm growing awfully tired of Romney and McCain whining that Huckabee is still in the race. Voting for Huckabee is worth it just to embarrass the GOP brass some more.

Posted by: Tirade1 | February 11, 2008 7:23 PM

Sorry all you far right wingnuts, but the clock is about to strike midnight and the beautiful coach is about to turn into a pumpkin. John McCain will sweep Virginia, DC and Maryland tomorrow and will move even closer to his inevitable coronation as the nominee. And that's a damn good thing because John McCain is the only Republican that has a prayer of winning in the Fall. The great majority of Republicans realize that.

The idea of ammending the constitution to emcompass things like abortion and gay marriage is sheer idiocy. What's next? Parking tickets? The overwhelming majority of Americans would never support such an idea, which is one of the many reasons why, even though I like Mike Huckabee personally, he would be absolutely clobbered in the general election. Heck, as much as I detest the Democrats,even I would have trouble pulling the lever for anyone who's obtuse enough to say with a straight face that they don't believe in evolution.

Posted by: danram | February 11, 2008 7:21 PM

I just wonder how many of the Pro-Huckabee comments on here are actually from Democrats who would like to see nothing more than Mike Huckabee get the nomination. Especially since, according to recent polls, Obama would crush Huckabee in a general election by over 22 points. Huckabee doesn't do much better against Hillary either.

Let's get this straight...Huckabee doesn't believe in evolution, as governor he supported letting children of illegal immigrants stay in the US to go to school but now has changed that position by 180 degrees. Oh and he has zero foreign policy experience.

I think he is a nice guy but don't trust him to get the big decisions national security.

Posted by: csheish | February 11, 2008 7:20 PM








Posted by: marinepatriot | February 11, 2008 7:09 PM


Posted by: lindalovejones | February 11, 2008 7:01 PM

maybe the issue is the "conservatives" feel let down by all of these so called conservative views. Did bush balance he budget keep government small or do any of the things he said he would do?

No he did not

Posted by: heardcom2002 | February 11, 2008 6:53 PM

Let's send this to a brokered convention so that we can get a conservative candidate. The only way to do that is to vote for Governor Huckabee.

Posted by: thomas.e.eudy | February 11, 2008 6:02 PM

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