A spokeswoman for Mr. Huckabee declined to say how much he earned from these efforts. But she said he had broken off as a spokesman for the diabetes cure a couple of weeks ago, suggesting concerns that the unusual endorsements may appear un-presidential.
Indeed, Mr. Huckabee risks being viewed by voters less as someone who aspires to be seen as presidential timber, than among washed-out candidates of the past, like Bob Dole, who went on to make Viagra ads, and former Senator Fred D. Thompson, who pitches reverse mortgages.
One ad arriving in January in the inboxes of Huckabee supporters, who signed up for his political commentaries at MikeHuckabee.com, claims there is a miracle cure for cancer hidden in the Bible. The ad links to a lengthy Internet video, which offers a booklet about the so-called Matthew 4 Protocol. It is “free” with a $72 subscription to a health newsletter.
Another recent pitch sent out to Huckabee’s supporters carried the subject line “Food Shortage Could Devastate Country.” It promoted Food4Patriots survival food kits, described as the “No. 1 item you should be hoarding.”
Although a disclaimer on the emails says Mr. Huckabee does not endorse these products, that might not be enough to dissociate him, as a future presidential aspirant, from their claims, which are designed to pry open the wallets of small-donor conservatives, some of whom distrust mainstream sources of information.
“This is a plague on conservatives,” said Erick Erickson, the founder of the influential blog Red State, who has criticized ads for products and outside political groups that he calls “hucksters,” which prey on conservatives.
Huckabee is not the first former presidential candidate to shill for an iffy product; and neither is this the first iffy product for which Huckabee has shilled. (Earlier this year, his email list plugged a cure for cancer based on the Bible.) But it may be the worst combination of high-profile and low-quality that American politics has seen.