Mike Huckabee, Evangelical Insurgent

Is he the GOP's best answer to Obama—and Palin?
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2010 9:22 AM CDT
FILE - In this file photo taken Feb. 19, 2008, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks at a news conference in Little Rock, Ark.   (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

(Newser) – Mike Huckabee is putting on weight, literally as well as politically, and the former Arkansas governor is now registered to vote in Florida, which offers some advantages to the man who may be the GOP's best shot at grabbing the White House in 2010. In a New Yorker profile, Ariel Levy catches up with Huckabee in Israel, where the former preacher and '50s crooner Pat Boone were leading a group of evangelicals on a tour of Christian holy sites. Some highlights:

  • Huckabee on his enthusiasm for Israel: “I worship a Jew! I have a lot of Jewish friends, and they’re kind of, like, ‘You evangelicals love Israel more than we do.’ I’m, like, ‘Do you not get it? If there weren’t a Jewish faith, there wouldn’t be a Christian faith!’”
  • On libertarians: “If there are a certain number of kids from single-parent homes who aren’t going to school and don’t have health care, you can say that’s not government’s job... But you know what? If the kid’s sitting outside the door of the hospital choking with asthma, do I sit there and say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t think, philosophically, government should get involved’? I’d much rather the kid get help than I sit around and say I’m so pure in my ideology.”
  • Steve Schmidt on Huckabee vs Obama in 2012: ‘If we’re running a race against their most articulate guy, we should put our most articulate guy. Huckabee’s that guy." He adds, "There’s no one who really provides a better contrast to Sarah Palin, showing her as an entertainer instead of a serious thinker—and there’s not enough oxygen for both of them."

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