Tuesday, January 01, 2008

More On The Huck Feign

(Updated: 01/01 pm)
Yesterday, AP writer Ron Fournier supplied additional details in an analysis piece, "Analysis: Huckabee May Have Gone Too Far." He described Huckabee's arrival at the presser and his sudden "change of heart" in the room filled still with anti-Romney signs and boards, and a large backdrop declaring "Enough is enough!"
When Huckabee arrived, he announced he had just changed his mind. The ad wouldn't run. It was too negative.

"I believe the people of Iowa deserve better, and we are going to try and give them better ...," he said.

But he didn't. Instead, Huckabee showed off the spot to the journalists, knowing full well his negative message would seep out of the room. He told the media to pay close attention.

"You're not going to get a copy of it," he warned, "so this is your chance to see it, then after that you'll never see it again."

The media laughed.
First Read, an MSNBC political blog had the story up as well, which they tagged as "Huck's Strange Day." They link to today's Des Moines Register piece by Lisa Rossi, which lead with:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Monday that he had pulled a television advertisement targeting competitor Mitt Romney that was scheduled to be
broadcast in Iowa before Thursday's Republican presidential caucuses.

He showed the ad instead in a room packed with reporters at the Marriott hotel in downtown Des Moines.

Further down in the article, Lisa noted:

Reporters asked whether it was hypocritical to pull the ad, then show it to journalists.

"People want to be cynical about it, they can be cynical about it," Huckabee said. "If I said we were not going to run an ad ... you'd say, 'Where's the ad?' "

First Read also linked to AP Ron Fournier's analysis piece, as had Powerline's John Hinderaker in his piece of late yesterday, borrowing from Founier's header -- "Did Huckabee Go Too Far?"

John certainly seems to think so, noting Fournier's point that some of the anti-Romney lines in the ad Huckabee now claims to eschew, are lines that he has regularly been using, and continues to use in his stump appearances.

Hinderaker thus concludes:

The media helped to build Huckabee up, but if Fournier's reaction is typical, the honeymoon may be over.
(Update) Here a link at YouTube to portions of the presser.

As you can see from the video, under questioning from Carl Cameron at Fox, the following exchange took place:
Cameron: "So, if you've got all these placards, an ad that your not going to run, and a week's worth of commentary calling him (Romney) dishonest, are you saying that as of now these staffers should take these placards down, and that you won't say it anymore?"

Huckabee: "That's correct."

Yet he somehow insisted it was all true.

Today, Bob Krumm tagged it all "The Baptist Preacher's Gamble." His theory is that Huckabee's internal polls were finally was catching up to what others' were showing, and
"that the Passive Aggressive Pastor pulled yesterday’s stunt because he has seen his poll numbers and knows that they are "end-of-campaign bad.'"

More at Bob's post yesterday with additional links to media reaction noting the bizarre nature of the incident.

Krumm make a good point. Huckabee is an a "must win" situation in Iowa, and without an organization or money if he loses. So if he is tubing, this may simply have been a "kinder and gentler" version of the Dean "Scream."

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