With a team of reverse Arkansas Travelers -- Republican critics of Huckabee -- due to hit the ground in Iowa today, candidate Mike Huckabee is playing defense. He'll trot out some Arkies who like him at a news conference -- Republican National Committeeman and former National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Jim Burnett, former Arkansas Republican Party Chairman and Senate Minority Leader Gilbert Baker, State Rep. Doug Matayo, former State Sen. Doyle Webb, and National Rifle Association State Chair Anne Britton.
Huckabee will get plenty of national broadcast air time today, no doubt on account of his crack about Mitt Romney's Mormonism and his apology yesterday (cheekily headlined in today's NY Post). And, hey, take a look at the Democrat-Gazette's magnum opus today on Mormonism. Tell me if you think it's a touch weird that a front-page story spurred by Huckabee's remark to a NY Times reporter doesn't mention Huckabee before the jump but raises -- based on nothing but one man's supposition -- a current non-existent issue: that the Clinton campaign, should she be the nominee, will attack Mitt Romney, should he be the nominee, for racial prejudice in Mormonism. Bias showing, whether pro-Huck or anti-Clinton? UPDATE: And, hey, mr. huckabee apologist religion editor, before you buy The Huckster's disingenuous I-didn't-mean-nothing-don't-know-nothing-about-no-Mormons hucking and jiving, check out his appearance as keynote speaker at the Southern Baptist Convention when thousands of the faithful convened in Salt Lake City to convert the infidels. The D-G blocks hyperlinks from our site, but you can copy and paste to bypass their pay site for his remarkable piece.
Compare and contrust the DOG's Clinton-o-centric opener with the lead of a story on Mormonism from the (not LDS-owned) Salt Lake City Tribune:
Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee appears to be using Mitt Romney's Mormon faith as a wedge issue to attract evangelical voters in the early states, political scientists say, a move that in part seems to be helping Huckabee stay ahead in Iowa polls.
Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, aired a TV commercial in Iowa recently telling voters he is a "Christian leader," a move that could be seen as a veiled hit on Romney, whose faith is viewed as heretical by some Protestant evangelicals. And Huckabee has so far refused to say whether he believes the LDS Church is a cult, as his Southern Baptist religion labels the church.
In Sunday's New York Times Magazine, Huckabee goes even further when asked if he believes Mormons are cultists. While first saying he didn't know much about Mormonism, Huckabee then asks the reporter in an "innocent voice": "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"
Gail Collins, NY Times: Writes about "The man from Target," referencing the wedding registry and related about His Grabbiness.
Columnist Margaret Carlson: "Huckabee's boom may be about ready to bust"
Dan Payne in the Boston Globe: "Contrary to pundits, not everybody loves Huckabee."
But, boy, David Broder does. He's still pumping the McCain-Huckabee ticket.
And talk about weird. The Democrat-Gazette has yet to mention (unless they did today) the Newsweek bombshell that tobacco money funded Huckabee's secretive Action America money laundry and that the news came from disaffected former aides. Brummett goes over the ground today, plus the fact that Huckabee, after nursing on the tobacco teat, chose a bed tax over a tobacco tax to increase funding for nursing homes. What's weird about the D-G on this? 1) It's clearly news. 2) Action America was their story. Former reporter Jonathan Weil unearthed much of what could be unearthed. It was one of those financial reporting miscues that The Huckster somehow just forgot to do properly.