Oklahoma City_Mike Huckabee established himself as a serious contender when he won Iowa's Republican Presidential Caucus. But, so far, that's the only state the former Arkansas Governer has won. He's hoping things change next week on Super Tuesday, and Friday Huckabee brought his campaign to the Sooner State to rally support from voters in south.
Polls show Huckabee is leading in Oklahoma, and he says his campaign is counting on a victory here on Tuesday. He believes his close ties to the region will give him an advantage over his opponents. His supporters, however, say it's more than regional ties that is getting Huckabee votes from Oklahomans.
If he hadn't told the audience, they probably wouldn't have known Governor Huckabee only got a couple of hours sleep after flying into Oklahoma from California overnight. He energized the crowd from beginning to end. "I'm convinced there's a new generation of Americans who want a different type of politic that's more about how we're growing vertically," he said. "Are we going up or are we going down? And, if we abandon those bedrock principles that made this nation a great one, the horizontal direction won't matter because our vertical direction will spiral us into oblivion."
At times he was very serious, especially when criticizing US defense spending. He says the government is spending less on defense now than when the US was not at war. "Think about what we are asking of the military, we need more, not less, invested in the security and safety of this nation," he said.
But, the former Governor also found ways to make the audience laugh, and hope. "What if the next president got to be the one who nailed a going out of business sign on the front door of the IRS?" It was an amusing and appealing idea to Oklahoma supporters as they listened to his idea of a "fair tax" tat Huckabee says would not tax productivity as the current system does.
"We would pay tax at the point of retail consumption," he said. "It would untax the poor, empower people at the bottom of the economic spectrum, but also gives power to people in the middle and the top."
The topics of taxes, elimination of big government, supporting pro-life views, and protecting the Second Amendment were all positions that struck a chord with onlookers as the Governor struck a chord of his own on the bass guitar.
Huckabee also emphasized his political stance in the event any crowd member doubted where he stood. "If people are saying we just want to make sure we get a conservative in there...well, if that's important to you...you've only got one choice and you're looking at him today," he said. "The record I have is that of a conservative."
The governor closed his rally by noting some media outlets are calling the Republican primary race a two person contest. Huckabee says if that's true, he's one of them. Following his stop in Oklahoma City, he was off to meet with supporters in Tulsa, Missouri, and Alabama.