rolled into Little Rock today on the last leg of his tour of "America's forgotten places." (Or, considering the tone of the trip and his other destinations -- New Orleans, Selma, Baton Rouge -- "The South is Whack" tour.) He hobnobbed with donors, ate some BBQ at Whole Hog (why not Sims?), and, finally, stopped at Arkansas Baptist College to talk to students and hold a press conference.
Unfortunately, I was unable to see the talk with students. I'm told that McCain related his history to the group and then asked them to share their own tales. He also took questions, including one about his opposition in the 1980's to creating a federal Martin Luther King holiday. (McCain has since disavowed that position.)
At the press conference, McCain appeared with Mike Huckabee
, Asa Hutchinson
, and Arkansas Baptist President Fitz Hill
. In comments about the visit, McCain called Arkansas Baptist "a great American success story" for bouncing back after almost losing accreditation in 2006.
McCain also took questions about the state of the race; not surprisingly, several touched on Huckabee's role in the campaign. While McCain said he would be pleased to have Huckabee travel with him, he declined to discuss whether he might be vice-presidential material.
John Lyon of Stephens asked Huckabee and McCain to comment on reports that Huckabee recently met with supporters to explore a 2012 presidential run. Several meeting participants were said to have expressed belief that McCain will lose the general this year. "A lot of that is completely inaccurate," Huckabee responded. He said the meeting was to establish a PAC that will support McCain. He added that he was fully committed to a McCain victory this year.
McCain backed up Huckabee's account of the meeting. "In the past, I have done what Governor Huckabee is doing," McCain said, referring to the PAC.