Monday, January 28, 2008

Huckabee in Florida

On January 26th several Christian leaders including myself met with Governor Mike Huckabee in Orlando, Florida prior to a news conference. The private meeting in a small suite in a hotel was very casual in nature. Our group was praying together when Governor Huckabee arrived at the small meeting room. Although many politicians may have thought it unusual to find a group he was to meet with praying, he did not. He waited until our prayer ended and then greeted several of us, including me, by first name.

I don’t think anyone can meet with Mike Huckabee and walk away unchanged, even if they have met him before. He has an understanding of people that transcends that of Yale educated professional politicians such as Bill Clinton and George Bush. He talks with people, not at them, which is unusual for politicians in America today. There is a comfort level when meeting with this man that cannot be described; it must be experienced.

After the private meeting all of us, including Mike Huckabee, walked through the Rosen Plaza hotel to the conference room reserved for the noon press conference. The press was in place and set up with several video cameras pointed at the podium. I and three other national leaders stopped directly behind the podium and Mike Huckabee stepped to the back. When he was asked to stand next to the podium as we spoke he said, “I don’t want to stand in front of anyone.” He was, at the time standing in front of me and I said, “I’d rather have you stand in front of me than any man I know,” which got a good laugh from the rest of the group.

Each of the four of us, including Rick Scarborough of Vision America and Tom Glessner of National Institute of Family and Life Advocates gave our endorsements of Gov. Huckabee followed by John Stemberger, a leader of the pro-life movement in Florida. About twenty-five local Christian leaders stood behind us. The press conference was meant to display our support of Mike Huckabee in the heavily evangelical, conservative area along the Interstate 4 corridor. All of our endorsements including mine were about Mike Huckabee’s commitment to life and family. I also pointed up his commitment to Israel and the strong position he has taken against Islamic fascism.

Governor Huckabee was then awarded a “Champion of Life” award by one of Florida’s pro-life groups. After accepting that award the governor spoke for about 5 minutes and opened the session to questions from the press. The first question was about Mike’s health and had nothing to do with the content of the press conference.

Mike Huckabee is a marathon runner who is in better physical condition than 95% of all men his age in America. The first question from the press was, “How will your diabetes affect your presidency?” The governor never had diabetes, but back before he began running, back when he was very overweight, he was diagnosed as “pre-diabetic.” He explained, patiently, to the reported that he was not a diabetic.

Three of the original field of Republican contenders for the GOP presidential nomination, including John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, have battled cancer. Not a single member of the press to my knowledge has asked any of the three about their current situations with their cancer. This is an indication of the hostility of the press toward Mike Huckabee. While there I picked up a newspaper that referred to him only as a “former Baptist minister.” The fact that Governor Huckabee has more experience in the administrative branch of government that any candidate, either Democrat or Republican, is never mentioned.

The establishment, regardless of whether it is the media or the political sphere, is constantly on the attack against Mike Huckabee because they fear him. He represents what all establishments fear the most, and that is real change.

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