Huckabee plans to roll out melons from his hometown of Hope, Ark. to attract voters, he told MSNBC Tuesday. The town is famous for its watermelons and its annual Hope Watermelon Festival, which also takes place this weekend.
“If nothing else gets them, watermelons from my home town, including a 150-pounder, ought to bring them to our tent and pull them our way,” Huckabee said.
The former governor said he is optimistic about his chances in the straw poll, though he would not speculate on his potential ranking. “We’re going to surprise people with a great showing Saturday,” he said. Former Massachusetts Gov. “Mitt Romney has already spiked the ball in the end zone and declared victory. I’m not going to announce that I’m going to land it up there in the left field deck just yet.”
Helping his effort is a week of generally positive press.
And Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that former house speaker and possible presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Republican primary voters will likely warm to Huckabee. Gingrich said Huckabee may surface as “the most intriguing dark horse” in the coming weeks.
In the MSNBC interview, Huckabee was asked if the reason he has taken few shots against top Republican candidates, except entering a feud of sorts with Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. was to position himself for a vice presidential nomination.
While Huckabee avoided mentioning any such positioning, he defended his stance in the Brownback exchange. “I’ve not taken on Sam Brownback, he’s taken me on,” Huckabee said. “I’ve said look, let’s not fight each other. We’re both Christian gentlemen, and let’s act like it. I’ve focused on why I should be president, not on why somebody else shouldn’t be president.
“I’d like to believe that I can hit the shot from three point range and that I don’t have to go and disable the other players in order to win the game.”