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Money matters

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Dick Morris, a political consultant who’s worked for former Gov. Mike Huckabee, wrote recently in a syndicated column that, while Huckabee had many pluses as a presidential candidate, “he’s the world’s worst fundraiser.” Some evidence:

Though Huckabee pronounced himself pleased with a recent fund-raiser for his presidential exploratory work that raised a reported $500,000, former Masschusetts Gov. Mitt Romney raised $6.5 million at his presidential coming out in Boston this week.

Then there’s this: Huckabee had tentatively scheduled a fund-raiser December 28 at the Governor’s Mansion to raise money for his new part-time job at Ouachita Baptist University. It was scrapped because of lack of sufficient interest, a source told us. Dr. Rex Horne, OBU president, confirmed a planned Mansion fund-raiser wasn’t held, but added that the timing, between Christmas and New Year, wasn’t good for a fund-raiser and he noted that the governor was busy exiting the governor’s office, planning a national book tour and also planning a potential presidential race.

Changes at OBU

Dr. Horne tells us there have been changes in plans at OBU related to Huckabee since 2005, when then-OBU President Andrew Westmoreland announced Huckabee would be the director of a new Center for Education and Public Policy when he left office. Westmoreland also said $25 million would be raised for the newly named Michael D. Huckabee School of Education.

Moreland has moved on to Samford University in Alabama. Horne told us this week that the school now has a much smaller, unspecified fund-raising target for the project. He also said a full-time director would be hired for the center to develop a “substantive program” with meaningful public policy and research opportunities for students. Huckabee will contribute as a part-time presence and speaker, Horne said, and he’ll be added to the OBU staff in that role immediately. But Horne said he didn’t want to formally start the policy center “until it’s ready to start.” Future fund-raising efforts are planned. He noted that OBU faces the same issue all private colleges face – competing with lower-cost public universities for students increasingly lured by merit-based public scholarship programs.

Huckabee time

We’ve often written about Mike Huckabee’s knack for attracting gifts. He gives them, too. We learned belatedly that Huckabee had made the same gift to all his department heads this year – a pocket watch engraved with the images of Huckabee and his dog.

Sign language

A 9-by-18 foot electronic sign has just been mounted (but has not been turned on) on the north side of the 300 Third condo tower. 300 Third realtor Rett Tucker said the “message board” will advertise the commercial enterprises that will occupy the ground floor of 300 Third as well as available condo space. Tucker said the sign will not detract aesthetically from the building because it’s on the side opposite the entrance and level with the three-story parking deck.

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