Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speaks to the Globe editorial board.
(Mark Wilson/Globe Staff)
Mike Huckabee says a marathoner's approach will make lightning strike a third time -- an unknown governor from a small Southern state breaking out of the pack all the way to the White House.
And the former Arkansas governor told the Globe's editorial board this afternoon that he took a first big step by finishing second in the Iowa straw poll last weekend. His challenge now, he said, is to make a good first impression on voters.
"Not many people know me," he said. "I'm the cereal in the plain white box."
Huckabee, a marathon runner, said he will pace himself and try to follow Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter's path to the presidency. He said he will pick up support as voters realize that he's the true conservative with the personal history that can bring Republicans victory in 2008. He said the GOP will not win as the party of Wall Street and privilege, which he -- growing up in a small town, the first man in his family to graduate from high school -- decidedly is not.
"I'm a different kind of Republican than people are used to," he said.
In the backyard of GOP rival Mitt Romney, Huckabee couldn't resist a couple of veiled -- or not-so-veiled references -- to the former Massachusetts governor. He said he didn't grow up where "summer" is a verb, he said he didn't spend tens of thousands to get his votes in the straw poll, and he said he hasn't changed his policy positions. Or as he put it, in his folksy way, he has "not fished my way through the waters to figure out what would bite."
Huckabee also discussed his championing of a version of a flat consumption tax to replace income taxes and of music and arts education.
He also addressed a subject that has been rebounding around the blogosphere in recent days: The Rev. Wiley S. Drake of the First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, Calif., who used his church stationery and an Internet radio program to endorse Huckabee, asked his followers to pray for the "serious punishment" of leaders of Americans United for Separation of Church and State who filed a complaint against him with the IRS.
Huckabee said while he's "not in a position to disavow anyone's support," he does disavow Drake's approach. Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister, said he's far more interested in "the saving of souls, rather than the damning of souls."