Thursday, November 22, 2007

Five Things Mike Huckabee Doesn't Want You to Know About Him

The former Arkansas governor is surging in the Republican polls for the presidency, but with popularity comes greater scrutiny in his bizarre past.

Look who's the dark horse now: Not Fred Thompson, the Law & Order actor whose get-off-my-lawn glower was initially mistaken by the media for Reaganesque magic, but Mike Huckabee, the ex-Arkansas governor with the beady stare and steely proclamations about the Iraq war. You might remember him from the Fox News Channel debate in September, when he reproached Ron Paul by appealing to the "honor" of the Republicans as a reason to keep occupying Baghdad -- winning both applause and comparisons to Star Trek's Klingons.

Suddenly, heading into the primary season, it's Huckabee who is making moves, polling at 24 points in the crucial primary state of Iowa. (Thompson: three points.) His ratings, as his campaign is gloating, puts him within striking distance of Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachussetts

So who is he? His latest ad find him repeating Chuck Norris internet jokes, borrowing for his campaign a har-har style from Jesse "The Body" Ventura that would suit him well if it were 1999 and he were promising to give Minnesotans tax breaks instead of vowing (as he did the other day) to bomb Iran "in a heartbeat" without consulting Congress if President Huck deems it necessary. "Like our Founding Fathers," Norris wrote in a mass email to Huckabee supporters on Nov. 13, playing to conservative evangelicals frustrated by bad choices, "he's not afraid to stand up for a Creator against secularist beliefs."

A complex figure, Huckabee, an ex-Baptist minister, has been treated in the media as a simpleton, with more attention devoted to his folksiness than his foreign policy (raised in poverty, he comes by this duck-hunter schtick more honestly than did George W. Bush.) But that's chicken scratch next to the pile of controversies that have remained out of sight.

Here are five things you probably didn't know about him.

(More HERE)

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