November 25, 2007

November 25: Huckabee News Roundup

Roger Simon has a good article about Huckabee at Politico:

It is not easy to say just who the Republican front-runner is right now.

The candidate leading in the early states, Mitt Romney, is not doing well in national polls.

And the candidate doing well in national polls, Rudy Giuliani, is not doing well in the early states.

One candidate is surging, however, both in the national polls and in Iowa, where the first votes in the nation will be cast on Jan. 3.

That candidate is Mike Huckabee, and because he is doing so well he has left that pleasant zone called “attention” and has entered that less pleasant one called “scrutiny.”

“The surge for Huckabee is remarkable in size and intensity alike,” said Gary Langer, director of polling for ABC. “He’s attracted not just support, but enthusiastic support from core Republican groups including conservatives, evangelicals and strong abortion opponents.”

Whoever the front-runner is right now, it is not Mike Huckabee, but he says not being ahead of the pack is a good place to be. He knows all about timing.

A marathon runner, he once told me about those who break from the pack too early and hit the wall before reaching the finish line.

“You can go out too quick, too early,” he said. “Those are the ones I pass.”
The Concord Monitor has an interesting piece about Huckabee's early days:
"He was very serious about his faith, but he was also a fun guy to be around," said Rick Caldwell, who shared a room with Huckabee freshman year. "He was never a religious stick in the mud."

In college, Huckabee was organized and driven, finishing in just over two years. He worked afternoons at a local radio station, something he'd done since he was 14, and pastored a tiny Baptist church to help pay his tuition. That spring, he married his high school sweetheart, 18-year-old Janet McCain.

Caldwell recalled Huckabee's early political ambitions.

"We used to sit in the dorm room and talk about what we wanted to do, around our popcorn popper," he said. "He said, 'What I'd like to do is help Christian people get involved in making our nation better.' "

But Huckabee's first stump speech would have to wait. After working in Christian communications for a few years after college, Huckabee was asked to head Immanuel Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, Ark.

Soon after arriving in 1980, Huckabee dove into the community.

"Everybody knew Mike Huckabee," said Dewayne Tanton, director of the Harmony Baptist Association, an organization of area churches. "He meant a whole lot to Pine Bluff while he was here."

Television was a big reason why. In both Pine Bluff and Texarkana, where Huckabee went to preach in 1986, he hosted a show called Positive Alternatives. In Pine Bluff, it was a 30-minute weekly spot that focused on community events. It aired on the church's station, Channel 65, "The Channel with a Heart."

Huckabee was comfortable on camera and made others feel the same.

"He made you feel better about yourself," Tanton said. "On the show, he interviewed different churches. Any pastor could come on . . . and talk about upcoming programs. If it was the Christmas musical, he'd ask what musical you were doing, who wrote it, how many are in the choir."

But the show wasn't all religious. It also covered the local Little League, and it featured cancer telethons and events at the mayor's office. Huckabee believed that being a good Christian meant more than just going to Bible study, congregants said. It meant taking your kids to ball games and the county fair.
And Tech President says Huckabee is running the best web campaign, making mention of Huck's Army among other things:
Mike Huckabee's campaign has the most effective online operation of any of the candidates.

He has the best use of video in the year that YouTube matters the most. He is the only candidate consistently--every day--sharing user-created videos on his blog, the videos that many predicted would dominate this election. The user-created videos are far more irreverent (even tweaking Huckabee himself) than videos other campaigns will share, and they are far more interesting. They compare Huckabee to other candidates directly, mashup images and music. And the videos are popular enough to make people return--and then create their own.

He encourages independent action. He encourages people to go to Meetup. He encourages the growth of Huck's Army (a very active independent Huckabee forum).

All of this has led to massive rise in traffic (now well above Clinton's and Obama's, only lower than Ron Paul's). And like Ron Paul's supporters' use of the internet, it is helping him in the polls and in support around the country. Unlike Ron Paul, the "help" may lead to winning key states and the primary.

He has shown a sustained effort at using the web as a tool for empowering people, and it shows. So has Ron Paul, but Huckabee is a more important example for many, because it is Huckabee's team--not the supporters--who have led the charge on this.
Read the whole article...

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