Friday, January 4, 2008

Evangelical vote buries Romney, buoys Huckabee

About 80 percent of those who helped Mike Huckabee trounce Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucuses last night described themselves as evangelicals. More from The New York Times.
Despite some major stumbles in the final stretch of his Iowa campaign as he endured a ferocious assault on his record from Mr. Romney, Mr. Huckabee struck a chord among Iowa Republicans with a distinctive mixture of humor, Christian conservatism and economic populism.

His stump speeches evoked comparisons to the prairie populism of William Jennings Bryan. And he charmed audiences with a witty and extemporaneous speaking style honed over 10 years in the pulpit as a preacher and local televangelist before he entered politics; he is a former governor of Arkansas. He told voters to pick a candidate who was “consistent” and “authentic,” an unstated contrast to Mr. Romney’s recent conversion to opposing abortion rights.

What most distinguished Mr. Huckabee from the rest of the Republican field, though, were his escalating appeals to the economic anxieties of lower-income voters. He emphasized his own roots as “the son of a fireman who worked a second job,” denounced stagnant wages and rising inequality, and portrayed his underfinanced fight with Mr. Romney as “the people” against “the Wall Street-to-Washington axis of power”

“People would rather elect a president who reminds them of the guy they work with, not that guy who laid them off,” Mr. Huckabee said at a campaign stop Thursday morning, invoking an implicit contrast with Mr. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts.

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