Memorandum to Huckabee Campaigners
From: Ed Rollins, Campaign Chairman; Cip Saltsman, Campaign Manager
Path to Victory at the Minneapolis-St. Paul convention
Too many Republicans have tried to turn this nomination battle into a coronation, not a series of further election contests. Big mistake on their part. They are wrong. We know that we are running an underdog campaign, but that's nothing new--we have always been the underdog. And yet a whole lot of onetime "overdogs" are now on the sidelines, licking their wounds. The Republican National Convention is seven long months away; a lot can happen in that much time. A lot will happen.
But in the meantime, as you all know, Governor Huckabee is not a quitter. He has never shirked from a challenge, and he never will. He has always told us--and personally reaffirmed to us just today--that he is in this race to win. That is, to win the Republican presidential nomination, and to win the White House. Why? Because he cares deeply about the issues that inspired him to get into politics in the first place--back in the 60s, when he started studying the works of the great conservative thinkers and writers, back in the 70s, when he was an ardent supporter of another underdog Republican. And what was that fellow's name? Oh yes--it was Ronald Reagan.
So don't let anyone tell you that it's over! In fact, as of today, no fewer than 27 states, districts, and territories have not yet had a chance to vote. That includes such big states as Texas (Chuck Norris' home state, 'nuff said), Ohio, and Pennsylvania. All the Republicans and Republican-minded independents in those states want to be part of the process, too, and they deserve to have a choice put before them. Folks don't want the Republican Establishment to pick the nominee for them, through a premature rush to judgment, and they sure as heck don't want the media to pick the nominee!
We note that in many of the hottest contests so far, the vote has been divided into thirds--typically, about one-third for Governor Huckabee, one third for Senator McCain, and one third for all the other candidates. And as you know, typically, Governor Huckabee has done best among hardcore Republicans--the activist base. That's one reason why we are looking forward to Governor Huckabee's speech to the legendary CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, in DC tomorrow morning. You'd better believe that the folks gathered at the Omni Shoreham hotel are the go-getters who make or break primary elections. Just wait till they get a load of Mike Huckabee!
We are confident that we will get most of the activists, the folks who work the hardest because they care the most about the issues. In addition, we note that many of the jurisdictions that have already voted have merely had the first round of their delegate-selection process. To be frank, there's still plenty of time for politicking, as Republicans really focus on the question of who should lead their party into the November election. Who's the most stalwart champion of Republican and conservative values? Who's the most articulate and effective campaigner? We know the answer to those questions--that's why we have been working our hearts out for Mike Huckabee. But soon, everyone paying attention will know that, too. As the campaign season grinds on--and let's again remember, this is just February!--there will be plenty of time for reflection and reconsideration, especially among those hundreds of delegates pledged to candidates who have now dropped out.
As we saw in West Virginia on Tuesday--where Governor Huckabee swooped in on the day of the state convention and won a decisive victory that changed the tone of the remainingSuper Tuesday coverage--a single good speech from our candidate is often worth more than all the tens of millions of dollars, and all the big-shot endorsements, that the other candidates have been able to drum up.
Indeed, it's interesting that Mike Huckabee has done so well in the states so critical to Republican prospects this November. That is, those "swing states" that are essential building blocks of a Republican victory coalition this year. Let's face it: This November, we're not likely to be looking forward to a GOP landslide! The last two presidential elections were close--the GOP won 271 electoral votes in '00, and 286 in '04--and we fully expect the '08 election to be hard-fought and close, too, as both parties wrestle to get the majority of those 538 electoral votes. What does all this mean to Republican activists? Well, it means that the next Republican nominee has to be able to nail down the electoral votes of such "must-win" states in the South and Border States--exactly the states where Mike Huckabee has done so well this year. Hard-nosed political activists know that it doesn't do much good, November-wise, to run well in the blue bicoastal states. Sure, it would be great to carry New York and Massachusetts and California, but those mostly liberal states aren't a part of any gut-it-out "270" strategy. (In fact, we think that Mike Huckabee would actually run stronger among traditional Independent and Democratic constituencies than any other Republican, but that'll be the subject of a future memo.)
And now, with the endorsement of Dr. James Dobson, who is the "gold standard" of social conservatism, we fully expect that Movement Conservatives--those who fight the good fight on Life, on Marriage, on the Second Amendment--will increasingly rally to our cause. In fact, come to think of it, any American who reveres the US Constitution has a stake in Mike Huckabee's success, because he has been an unstinting proponent of all our Constitutional freedoms, including the First Amendment, which he believes has been wrongly abridged by wrong-headed campaign finance "reform" legislation. Of course, there is one amendment that MH doesn't like: The 16th Amendment. That one was a mistake, which he will fix with the FairTax!
Mike Huckabee has great respect for John McCain. He has always defended the senior senator from Arizona against unfair and scurrilous attacks, and he always will. And because MH is who he is, he will continue to campaign as he always has--in an honorable and honest way. He will draw distinctions, he will debate and debate hard, but he will always be civil and decent. In fact, even many McCain supporters have told us that they appreciate the constructive role that Governor Huckabee can play in the months to come, because a vigorous discussion will keep all the media “oxygen” from migrating over to the heated Democratic contest.
Faith. Family. Freedom. Those are the words that have guided Mike Huckabee this far, and they will continue to guide him, and us, all the way to the White House next January. The 44th governor of Arkansas will be the 44th President of the United States.
See you at the Inauguration!