Associated Press, 10/27/07 11:43 pm
Republicans Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson topped a field of six presidential candidates at an Iowa party fundraiser Saturday evening, with Huckabee saying other candidates criticism of him shows his bid for the nomination is gaining steam.
“I’m flattered to be attacked,” said Huckabee, meeting with reporters before his speech. “The fact that I am under relentless attack means somebody thinks I am alive and well.”
The rivals each received eight minutes to make their case before 650 activists who paid $100 each for a chicken dinner and a night of speeches. It was the seventh annual fundraising dinner the state party has held named after former President Ronald Reagan.
Huckabee’s standing has improved in some recent polling, and he said he moved this week to dispatch additional staff to Iowa.
“I’m confident that by caucus night we’ll be in great shape,” Huckabee said.
Huckabee and Thompson were joined by GOP rivals John Cox, Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul and Tom Tancredo at the annual fundraising dinner.
Better-known candidates Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and John McCain skipped the event. Support for the war in Iraq and tough talk on issues like abortion dominated the night.
“I wonder what kind of world they are going to grow up in,” he said, point to his two young children. “Our country is going to be faced with important decisions over the next few years.”
Thompson touted his record as a strong and consistent conservative.