Dallas Morning News: Huckabee good investment in GOP’s future

The Dallas Morning News published an editorial Sunday supporting former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, despite saying he has no chance of winning the Republican presidential nomination.

Though Sen. John McCain of Arizona is the presumptive nominee and “it is mathematically impossible” for Huckabee to pull ahead in delegates, Huckabee “remains our choice for the GOP nomination,” the newspaper’s editorial board wrote, just two days before the state’s primary.

This is not the first time the paper has endorsed Huckabee. Last month, it called him a “a progressive conservative with a pastor’s heart.”

And in December, it called him “decent, principled and empathetic to the views and concerns of others — an antidote to the power-mad partisanship that has led U.S. politics to a dispiriting standstill.”

The Dallas Morning News also endorsed Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In the piece published Sunday, the newspaper’s editorial board wrote, “True, a Huckabee vote today won’t do much to determine the 2008 GOP presidential candidate.”

It added, “But it’s a good investment in the Republican Party’s future.”

McCain has 1,033 delegates to Huckabee’s 247, according to CNN calculations. A candidate needs 1,191 to seal the Republican nomination.

McCain appears to hold a comfortable lead in Texas. Recent polls indicate he is the choice of 58 percent of the state’s likely Republican voters, while Huckabee trails with 30 percent.

The Republican Texas “poll of polls” consists of three surveys: American Research Group (February 29-March 1), Reuters/C-SPAN/Houston Chronicle/Zogby (February 28-March 1), and Belo/Public Strategies (February 26-28).

McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, has “long experience and personal courage” and “a solid record of fiscal responsibility,” the newspaper said.

It added that he “has been on the right side of campaign finance reform and environmental issues” and credited him as “correct and principled to lead the fight for comprehensive immigration reform last summer.”

But the board added that McCain’s age, 71, “and his choleric temperament gave us pause, particularly when contrasted to Mr. Huckabee’s sunny-side-up brand of conservatism.”

The paper lauded Huckabee’s views on the environment and described him as “a compassionate conservative” on economic matters.

“Though his social and religious conservatism puts him on the wrong side of abortion, gay rights and other key issues, that same deep-faith commitment inspires his dedication to helping the poor and to racial healing,” the board said.

Huckabee’s youth, pragmatism and “good-natured approach to politics” mean he could play a role in GOP politics for many years, the paper said.

“That’s why we encourage Texas Republicans to mark their ballots for Mr. Huckabee in the GOP primary: to demonstrate to the party’s elite that Mr. Huckabee and his vision have a solid constituency.”

Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont all hold contests March 4.

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Huckabee to Get Evangelical Leader’s Nod

Well – as my readers read here,

This should come as no surprise…  read on:

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James Dobson, one of the nation’s most prominent evangelical Christian leaders, is about to endorse former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, The Associated Press has learned.

Dobson, founder of Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Focus on the Family, talked to the GOP presidential hopeful Thursday and later was to release a statement explaining his choice, said Gary Schneeberger, a spokesman for Dobson.

Huckabee had long sought Dobson’s endorsement, believing he is the best fit to advance Dobson’s conservative, moral worldview.

Until now, Dobson had never endorsed a GOP presidential hopeful during the primary campaign. But he ruled out front-runner John McCain in a blistering commentary on Super Tuesday, and on Thursday the fight for the GOP nomination narrowed to a two-man race between McCain and Huckabee, who is far behind in the delegate count but pledged to fight on. Mitt Romney, a third hopeful trying to claim the conservative label, dropped out of the race Thursday.

Dobson released a statement Tuesday that criticized McCain for his support of embryonic stem cell research, his opposition to a federal anti-gay marriage amendment and for his temper and use of foul language.

He said if McCain were the nominee, he would not cast a ballot for president for the first time in his life.

Dobson had left open the possibility that he would vote for either Romney or Huckabee, but endorsed neither.

Throughout the unsettled GOP race, Dobson picked his spots to signal that some candidates simply didn’t meet his standards. Dobson wrote on a conservative news Web site that he wouldn’t support former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani should he win the Republican nomination. Dobson called Giuliani an “unapologetic supporter of abortion on demand” and criticized him for signing a bill in 1997 creating domestic-partnership benefits in New York City.

At one point, Dobson said he’d consider voting for a minor-party candidate if faced with Giuliani as the nominee.

Later, Dobson ruled out former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson for his stands on issues. Dobson also said Thompson “has no passion, no zeal, and no apparent ‘want to.'”

Dobson emphasizes that when he endorses candidates, he is doing so as a private citizen and not as a representative of Focus on the Family, a tax-exempt organization.

Black Religious Leaders Endorse Huckabee

(AP) Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee paid tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. at a lengthy memorial service Monday at King’s old church and was endorsed by several black religious leaders.

While his main GOP rivals campaigned in Florida, Huckabee sat quietly through a nearly four-hour King ceremony at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. He was overshadowed by fellow Arkansan Bill Clinton, who received a long ovation for his 18-minute address.

The former president acknowledged Huckabee, who did not speak. “We don’t agree on much, but he is a very good man,” Clinton told the audience of several hundred.

Huckabee said he was willing to put aside campaigning for a half day to attend the King event, which he called inspiring.

The former Arkansas governor finished second in the South Carolina Republican primary over the weekend after campaigning in which he said the federal government should stay out of disputes over display of the Confederate battle flag in the state. He said last week, “If somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we’d tell ’em what to do with the pole, that’s what we’d do.”

The flag is a symbol of racism to some, of Southern pride to others.

After his South Carolina loss, Huckabee needs strong showings in states such as Florida, Georgia and Alabama to keep his campaign alive. He went to Orlando for a late-afternoon rally and fundraiser Monday and planned to return to Atlanta Tuesday for an anti-abortion event.

“Winning Florida would be great,” Huckabee told an Orlando airport crowd of about 100, speaking of the state’s Jan. 29 GOP primary. But winning the nomination is the bigger goal, he said. “Nobody is going to have this wrapped up by Florida,” he said.

“We plan on carrying Georgia,” Huckabee told reporters.

After leaving the King ceremony, Huckabee was endorsed by three dozen African-Americans, most of them connected to conservative religious organizations.

Huckabee’s strong opposition to abortion and gay marriage matches the “high moral values” of many black Americans, said William Owens, founder of a group called the Coalition of African American Pastors.