Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee went toe-to-toe with other GOP candidates in Wednesday night’s tough CNN-YouTube debate.
The Washington Post declared Huckabee one of the night’s stand-out winners, saying he “was firing on all cylinders.”
“A potentially damaging question about his support for the death penalty turned into Huckabee’s best moment of the night as he effectively conveyed the gravity of his decision while noting he was the only one on stage who had the experience of having to make it,” Chris Cilizza wrote.
Even opponents of Huckabee’s views acknowledged the former governor’s feat in presenting himself as the ideal candidate for Evangelical conservatives.
“I’m not a fiscal liberal, or a supporter of the death penalty, or someone who believes that a candidacy for the presidency of the United States should be based on someone’s religious faith. So Huckabee is not for me,” wrote the Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan. “But he is easily the most appealing candidate for the current big-spending, evangelical, Southern Republican party.”
Huckabee has been polling just behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the crucial state of Iowa, but some political analysts feel his rise indicates that the GOP nomination is still undecided.
“Mr. Huckabee probably got more airtime tonight than in any previous debate, reflecting his rise in the polls in Iowa,” the New York Times reported. “But the free-for-all suggested that no one really knows who the enemy is.”
One Huckabee fan who came to show his support was actor Chuck Norris.
“I’m just a citizen trying to get the best candidate elected, and that’s Mike Huckabee,” he told reporters.