Is Huckabee Ready for Primetime?
Only a week has passed since the combination of another strong debate performance and a new Des Moines Register poll officially elevated former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee to frontrunner status in Iowa, and into the first tier of candidates nationally. So, I thought I would take a look at how he is adapting to his newfound status.
As I am sure the Huckabee campaign knows, a higher profile candidate naturally invites greater media scrutiny, and well, let’s just say that the press has been keeping Governor Huckabee busy over the past seven days. No fewer than four separate story lines have developed to trap Huckabee in the classic frontrunner media crossfire, and detracted from his ability to capitalize on his campaign’s momentum.  Allegations over the early release of a rapist, his lack of awareness of the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, hometown reporters dishing on his governing style, and his suggestion that God is playing favorites in the Republican contest, have kept Huckabee busy providing a variety of explanations, and raised questions about whether he is ready for the political spotlight.
While Huckabee’s apparent success in coalescing much of the fragmented Evangelical vote behind his candidacy is no small feat, his ability (or lack thereof) to handle the intense demands placed on leading candidates will send an important signal to a broad range of voters about whether he is up to the task. In New Hampshire, where religious conservatives comprise a relatively small portion of the voting public, and where Huckabee is currently running in fourth place in most polls, we are all watching with interest.

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