Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said during a campaign stop in Keokuk Monday morning that he plans to "work his butt off' over the next three weeks to win the Iowa Caucus. He said winning in the Hawkeye State is not about spending dollars on advertising and holding occasional big rallies, it's about meeting face-to-face with real people and talking to them about the challenges they face everyday.
"Iowa voters have a great history of taking this process very seriously," said Huckabee. "I think they focus increasingly as the date of the Caucus gets near, but they don't make their minds up early. They make their minds up late, they wait, not so much because of the radio/television ads. They want to know which candidate has come here, looked them in the eye, answered their questions and talked to them."
Huckabee said that's why he believes he is still in the mix to "shock the pundits" on Mon., Feb. 1.
It would be a shock to many, given where Huckabee is polling in Iowa among GOP Presidential candidates. According to the website, Real Clear Politics, Huckabee is sitting 8th in Iowa at about 2.3%. But he does have something almost all of his opponents do not have: experience winning in Iowa.
Huckabee won the GOP Caucus in 2008 with more than 1/3 of the votes cast. He said a key to that effort was that people believed he was ready to lead from Day 1, given his executive experience in Arkansas. Fast forward eight years and he said that's still the case.
"Somebody has got to be in the cockpit who has flown the plane, who knows how to fly through the turbulence, against the head-winds, and land safely," said Huckabee. "That means someone who has sat at the chief executive seat, who has actually done a job like this, who has fought the Clinton political machine. I really believe as people are starting to think through that, it's not about the money, the glamour, the glitz and all of the trappings that sometimes come with an election. It's about who has the competence to sit at that desk from day 1 and get the job done."
His campaign stop in Keokuk had him speaking to a couple dozen people for about an hour. He said afterwards that one way to improve the national economy is to eliminate the IRS and implement the so-called "Fair Tax."
"[The Fair Tax] brings manufacturing jobs back to the United States. I means we are competitive again because under the fair tax, we quit taxing capital and labor, which is the reason we keep losing these jobs to China and Mexico, that do not tax capital and labor. So everything we make in America is more expensive because of the tax that is embedded into the product. It not only promises to get rid of the IRS, it really does."
Huckabee believes his values and beliefs line up with Iowans as he...
- Supports a united Jerusalem
- Backs an energy policy that includes wind, solar, oil, natural gas, nuclear and coal, among others
- Plans to repeal/replace Obamacare
- Believes life begins at conception
- Believes marriage is only between a man and a woman
Huckabee said he has 150 events planned in Iowa this month, continuing his theme of a grassroots campaign that he said is not controlled by the pundits or pollsters.
"I hope [Iowans] will take their votes away from pollsters, pundits and people who have never been to the state, or parachute in from time to time and think they understand what America needs," said Huckabee.