I have the opportunity to be on a conference call with Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. It’s been all Huck, all the time here at Mere-O, so I am excited about the possibility of asking him a question or two. This may be a rough post, as I won’t have time afterward to edit it. Consider yourself warned.
Gov. Huckabee starts with mad props to the blogging community for the truth squad, and for helping them get the message out.
He is highlighting the news of the week, starting with the results that he is in second place in Iowa, which surprised everyone except for him. Many of Brownback’s campaign in Iowa jumped on board his campaign.
Secondly, the straw poll at FRC–we won 5/1 over the next nearest opponent, and got more votes than any of the other candidates combined, which was similar to other straw polls.
Thirdly, the debate: even though I “didn’t get in the game until half-time,” Frank Luntz (who did the focus group polling) has been saying that he’s the only candidate whose approval ratings go up every time he talks, and has gotten the highest approval ratings of all the candidates.
$200,000 since Saturday morning on internet contributions alone. Getting more phone lines put in this morning and the website has been stopped by all the traffic.
Kevin Tracy: Chuck Norris has endorsed you. How did that happen? Huck’s answer: this is getting a huge reaction, as the press has been all over it. Huckabee has never met Chuck Norris, cracks a joke about appointing Norris head of FBI. Huckabee didn’t do anything in particular to get the endorsement.
David from A Buck for Huck: What’s the new strategy going forward? Answer: keep doing what we’re doing, one of which is managing resources wisely. He’s amazed at what they’ve gotten from their resources. He needs to add staff and has to do some advertising, starting in Iowa.
Skip from Granite Rock: Social security. How are you going to fix the demographic time bomb? Answer: we have to allow people to take more control over their money, but the President picked a word that made people think of Enron and WorldCom. Gives same answer as last night.
Ron Miller: Impressed by Values Voter meeting, but disappointed by the leadership to reach a consensus on a candidate. Answer: I hope they reach a consensus, unless they pick a different person. But the point is that their people seem to be reaching a consensus. Huckabee drives home the underdog line, using the revolutionary war and the rag-tag group of patriots who fought it. The Revolutionary War wasn’t won on the principles that undergird electability, namely, setting aside principles.
Brian Snow from Popular Huck: After the third quarter, they were hoping to see the bar raised, and it has been. How are those expectations going to be raised in the future (for blogs and people online)? Answer: every day, they are having a record level of traffic and a record level of contributions. There is a viral effect to his campaign that is starting to take hold, and the internet is a part of that. We’re starting to see the makings of a wildfire–it starts with a spark, the embers burn low for a while, and then the conditions are right and it burns like crazy.
Michelle Donaldson from Montana for Huckabee: What are the fundraising strategies are out there other than internet contributions? Answer: They’re close to talking to people to about filling the fundraising position on his campaign, but Huckabee wants someone who is not just a slick operator who loves politics, but someone who is working hard to elect him specifically. After the straw poll happened, they started booking fundraising events, but they weren’t able to announce them yet because people needed some lead time. Many of the events are now starting to happen. He’s got 100 people who are agreeing to work to raise $100,000 each by the end of November. That’s a big thing part of their effort.
Wrap-Up: It was a short call, and he didn’t get to my questions, which is unfortunate. That said, his last answer was the most interesting. The fact that he hasn’t filled a key position–namely, the fundraiser!–because he wants someone who is invested in the campaign itself, not just in making money, is a great sign that Huckabee is a bold and courageous leader. He is holding out to ensure that whoever gets in that seat on his bus is the right person–a principle that anyone who has read Good to Great will recognize as essential in great organizations and exemplary of great leadership.
As for the money criticism, it’s pouring in online, where he has raised at least $45,000 today. Got to run, but count on more later.