Yesterday, I had opportunity for a sit down interview with Governor Mike Huckabee during the bus tour for his book, A Simple Government. He also offered a press avail at book signings in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Iowa.  Governor Huckabee was his usual personable self, taking a moment to chat with each person passing through the line or have his picture taken with them.[1]

I asked the governor to address those who say the mortgage payment on a home he is building in Florida will make it impossible to run for president in 2012.  Governor Huckabee was transparent in his answer.   First, it is not really a mortgage, but rather a contract to build a home.  Privately built homes aren’t ready for a mortgage until they are appraised, which can’t happen until after they are a built.  Second, the land appraises higher than his purchase price, and the construction contract was also entered into at below current market rates, suggesting that if he decided to make a run for president this summer he could still sell off the property at a significant profit.  No, a mortgage payment won’t stop him from running for president.

Besides disclosing things that were really none of my business, he was also candid about his dream home.  Anybody would be foolish to give it up on a whim, he says.[2] His decision is a matter of prayer and determining by Providence what God would have him (and by extension, his family) do[3].  Will he have the support and backing needed to possibly win?

I also asked him about his Fox News contract.   Again, he was particularly honest.  First, he is free from his Fox contract, if and when he announces, even informally, that he is a candidate for any nation-wide office[4].  He must walk off the set of his Fox News show Huckabee an unemployed man and would have to immediately give up his 3-times-daily ABC News radio show.

Huckabee listed several practical reasons why waiting until summer is best.  Why would anyone who might want to run for president (or have an impact on the country) give up an opportunity to freely convey his views until the last possible moment?  Should he trade that platform for a few extra speaking engagements? Other than getting to share the spotlight in a debate with twelve other candidates (and get maybe five minutes to answer three questions of a moderator’s choosing[5]) what advantage is there in that?

He expanded on this idea both in private and in a public press conference.  Why would a boxer fight a 15-round fight when he could win as easily in a 10-round fight? The process in the Republican party is much different than the 2008 season.  Last time, because of winner-take-all rules in the GOP, the die was virtually cast after the first four or five primary and caucus nights.   This time proportional apportionment will likely mean a much longer campaign season. Remember the Clinton and Obama race?  Both the candidates and the people wear themselves out.  The masses of voters don’t really care when you get in, as long as you spend time with them[6] [7].  They only care that you show up and care about their questions and concerns.  Last time, pundits and political insiders underestimated his campaign, Huckabee says.  He will start off with name recognition this time.   No one appears too antsy to get in.  If he runs, it will be on his time schedule, not theirs.

Video from the book signings:

[1] Among those getting their pictures taken was a family competing with the Duggers for size, and another lady traveling with a cutout doll (see videos above)

[2] Let alone the silly notion that Huckabee would give it up for a grudge match against Mitt Romney.

[3] Without God’s blessing, any decision is a fool’s errand (ds).

[4] This would not apply to a Senate run, for example, but would apply if he accepted a request to be on the ticket as a Vice-Presidential candidate.

[5] This is coming from a politician most analysts think is an outstanding debater (ds).

[6] Especially in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina and Florida, if the current GOP calendar holds up.

[7] In the author’s opinion, Fred Thompson failed in proving he had “fire-in-the belly”, not that he started too late.  Also, his timing was bad in that he announced on the day of a debate that he refused to participate in. It made him look elitist.  Rudy Giuliani, on the other hand, didn’t announce late, but made the mistake of thinking he could pass up the first three states and wait until Florida to campaign, but he missed all the publicity procured by the other candidates by running in the early states: out of sight, out of mind.

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