Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Huckabee Veep chatter heats up

Robert Costa has the must-read of the day about growing buzz that Mitt Romney might seriously consider Mike Huckabee for vice-president.

Yes, according to several sources close to the Romney campaign, who insisted on anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the vice-presidential search, the 56-year-old Arkansan may be included in the veep mix.

.... The growing buzz about Huckabee within segments of Romney World delights social-conservative leaders and Huckabee allies, who have long hoped that Romney would reach out to the GOP’s evangelical voters with the veep selection. “If he’s not on the short list, somebody ought to put him there,” says Hogan Gidley, a former adviser to Huckabee. “He’d bring excitement to a ticket that’s lacking that, to some degree, right now. Beyond that, he’d bring a huge grassroots organization, and, to put it simply, the South.”

Also, lest you think he's too merry at his current gig(s), there definitely seems to be some openneness on the Huck side.

Frank Tsamoutales, a Huckabee adviser and current director of HuckPAC, Huckabee’s political-action committee, tells National Review Online that the former governor is open-minded about his political future.

“He would certainly listen and entertain the idea,” Tsamoutales says. “It’s a serious question and he’d take it seriously. Now, he is extraordinarily happy with the way things are going for him, but he also has the capacity and energy to transition into a presidential campaign as a running mate, should he be asked."

Last month, I wrote about how effective Huck could be as a running-mate, and I've included that below as a refresher.

Huck could possibly add 1-2% to Mitt Romney across the Midwest, cover Mitt’s flank in the south, drive vital turnout in the Florida panhandle, help draw a bridge to women, and max out evangelical support.

There’s not another Veep possibility who could do all that.

He’s already been vetted, has been on the national stage continuously since 2008, has charmed the media repeatedly without compromising his core beliefs (even Joy Behar says he’s her favorite Republican!), and has been digested deeply enough by voters to assure suburbanites that he won’t become the pastor-in-chief. In other words, it’d be hard to turn him into an extreme Bible-thumper. Instead, he’s more like Thumper.

The thing that would hurt him in a primary – his fiscal record – wouldn’t be a liability in the general election; in fact, his sense of compassion could overcome Romney’s cold persona and help assuage fears that Mitt would outsource apple pie and replace it with more profitable Entenmann’s donuts.

Huckabee ticks every box.