Huckabee Considering A Run For The Presidency
Weeks after the Republicans took back the majority of the House in the November elections, there is an elephant in the room among the more popular GOP political personalities. Who will run? And who will announce it first?
The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that a poll showed that Huckabee along with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had a clear early edge among Republican voters .
No, Huckabee's son confirmed, he hasn't decided to run for president.
But he's thinking about it. And he's thinking about it while he's on the road meeting other Republicans who adore him.
Late Sunday evening, Mike Huckabee powered through signing another stack of his Christmas books. A stream of several hundred people plodded in line at the Richard M. Nixon Library to snag their copy and pose for a quick snapshot with the former GOP presidential candidate before ushers quickly moved them along.
The political celebrity and talk show host has been touring California for several days to promote two of his Christmas books.
Huckabee offered an autographed first edition of his children's book to an estimated 600-650 attendees who bought a ticket to hear him speak at the historical library in the city of Yorba Linda Sunday night.
The book tour also offered the former presidential hopeful an opportunity to connect with a generally sympathetic audience in the heart of Orange County. The area is known to be a friendly town for the GOP. It's the birthplace of Richard Nixon. The New York Times last August noted that 43% of the county's voters registered as Republicans.
That evening, Huckabee didn't entertain the hundreds of supporters by reading passages from sentimental holiday books. He was ready to talk politics.
The backdrop of the library's White House East Room (a replica of the actual White House room) lent a stately look to the atmosphere. Ornate chandeliers hung high on the ceiling. Tall flags stood closely together as they towered behind the former GOP candidate. Huckabee took his place at a podium affixed at the front with what looks like the official presidential seal. There couldn't be a better place to role play the part of the commander-in-chief.
Before his audience, Huckabee offered his own conclusions about the Republican successes, the direction of the nation and hopes for the new term. He repeated an urgency to reduce the size of government involvement.
"He was just very down-to-earth," said Jonell Schlund, a registered independent voter from Orange. "He related very well with the audience. He's honest and transparent. He's very enthusiastic," she said.
Taking aim at the former health care reform bill and the decisions to support TARP and the bank bailouts, Huckabee criticized the Democrat party.
"Are things getting better or are they getting worse?" he asked, explaining that "people will forgive you for being more conservative than they are. They will not forgive you for being incompetent."
At the conclusion of his speech, Huckabee won a standing ovation.
"Obviously we are probably biased in our opinion in thinking he'd be not only making a great president but also the best president. But at the same time that's a huge decision not just for him but for the family," his son said Sunday night.
David Huckabee said he and the rest of the family took an active role in the campaign the last time his father ran in 2008.
"It's a big decision that I don't think is coming in the next couple of months," he said, noting that the Huckabee family will probably play a big part in that decision process.
At least David Huckabee knows a little more about what to expect this time. He and the rest of the family joined his dad on the presidential campaign trail in 2008.
"I think anybody that's run for any level of politics can tell you it's a lot easier from the sidelines than it is on the field," David Huckabee said.
Between autographs, Mike Huckabee recalled the last time he ran for the GOP presidential nomination.
"One thing I learned was that you need more money than you think you do." He later reflected a little more about his former campaign. He had experience as a governor, but that experience wasn't enough to beat his former opponent, Sen. John McCain in the primaries.
"I governed more than anyone else on this stage, Democrat or Republican. I actually managed a government," he said. "But unfortunately that didn't matter as much as it did how much money have you raised, how many field staff do you have in Iowa. And it's unfortunate that the quest for the presidency has become more process-focused than policy-focused."
But Huckabee recognized that the Republicans campaigned differently last November when they wanted to capture the House.
"I think the main thing they did was to demonstrate that they believe that deficits and debts are not our friend. And that you also can't pass legislation without having thoroughly understood it yourself and explained it to the American people and sold it," he said.
He specifically blasted the Democratic Party's leadership.
"They tried to push things like the health care bill and the
Linda MacDonald, a resident of Long Beach liked Huckabee's message of fiscal responsibility and accountability.
His message struck home with Brea resident, Jan Hodgson who sported her autographed copy of his book. She voted for him the last time.
"I just think he's a good honorable guy who's not like a sleazy politician," Hodgson said.
Huckabee continues his tour throughout California this week. According to his books' web page, his final scheduled California stop will take place in Sacramento this Thursday.
His collection of short stories from his life, A Simple Christmas: Twelve Stories That Celebrate the True Holiday Spirit made the New York Times Best Seller List in 2009 and was updated for 2010. His children's book, Can't Wait Till Christmas was published in October.