Huckabee thinking about, but not committing to 2016 campaign

Winner of 2008 Republican caucuses says if he runs he would start in ‘a very different place’

By James Q. Lynch, The Gazette

CEDAR RAPIDS — Mike Huckabee was “absolutely OK” with sitting out the 2012 presidential election, but the former Arkansas governor and radio and television talk show host is actively considering a 2016 campaign.

“I would certainly start in a very different place if I were to run than I did when I came here in 2007 and first launched the campaign and nobody knew who I was and even fewer people cared,” Huckabee said Friday morning.

The winner of Iowa’s 2008 first-in-the-nation precinct caucuses shied away from saying how certain he is that he’ll run. He’s maintaining a “delicate balance,” he told reporters at an early morning round-table, because his radio and TV contracts preclude him from being a candidate.

Those contracts, however, don’t prevent him from thinking about it.

“This is not some real remote likelihood. This is something I’m very seriously considering,” Huckabee said.

Polls show that he’s one of the top choices of Iowa Republicans for the 2016 campaign. With typical Huckabee wit, he attributed his front-runner status to Iowans’ “good taste in politics.”

“If the polls are showing that I’m leading in Iowa it’s a clear indication and an affirmation of just how intelligent and insightful the people of Iowa really are,” he said.

He’ll see more Iowans Saturday when he addresses the Family Leader Summit in Ames. However, Huckabee said that event and the “Pastors & Pews” program he was part of in Cedar Rapids are not part of a strategy to sew up support among the conservative Christian bloc of the Iowa GOP.

“I think there’s great value in mobilizing people of faith who often sit at home during the elections and don’t show up to vote,” he said. “I think that’s unfortunate.”

He called reporting on his comments about impeachment unfortunate, too. Although he believes President Barack Obama has committed impeachable offenses, Huckabee said he’s never called for impeachment. Impeachment “should be used in rare and most unusual circumstances,” he said, and talk about impeaching Obama is a distraction.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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