Posted: January 8, 2008 11:13 AM
Huckabee Tries Campaign Strategy Shift for N.H. Contest
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won last week’s GOP caucus by a large margin, but he has shifted his focus since landing in New Hampshire.
Huckabee can’t plan on the same level of support in the more secular Granite State when voters hit polling booths Tuesday. The former Baptist minister is relying less on religious jargon and more on messages from America’s founding fathers.
“If he sounds like anyone these days, it’s libertarian candidate Ron Paul, R-Texas, with a little bit of (former North Carolina Sen.) John Edwards thrown in,” CBS News reported.
Huckabee played to New Hampshire’s feisty history of independence before one crowd.
“New Hampshire declared its independence six months before the rest of the country finally came around with you guys and figured it out,” he said.
Still, Huckabee is polling behind GOP rivals Mitt Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, and Arizona Sen. John McCain in New Hampshire, according to the latest Gallup poll, but he says his campaign will not be daunted by a third- or fourth-place finish.
“Right now, the polls show us going into third. I don’t know where it’s going to end up,” Huckabee told reporters on his campaign bus, according to CBS News. “I think if we’re third or fourth, we’re still in the game. Even if we don’t end up third or fourth, we’re still in the game ‘cause we got a great situation going on in South Carolina. That’s a big state for us … We’re going to a place where we’ve got strong organization, good staffing, huge support and Florida: the same thing.”
Victories in states like Florida and South Carolina could help Huckabee with his national appeal. A recent Gallup poll of likely national support shows Huckabee in the lead with 25 percent, above second-place Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York,” McCain and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson. The poll shows Romney in fifth place with 9 percent support. A previous vote had Huckabee at only 16 percent, so his Iowa victory has given him a sizeable boost.
Still, Huckabee is fighting hard in the Granite State and has been getting attention with the help of campaign buddy and action star Chuck Norris.
“The two, along with free pancakes, drew a crowd of more than 400 people Monday morning,” the Associated Press reported.