Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Actor and martial arts expert Chuck Norris has been canonized with Internet “facts,” such as, “They wanted to put Chuck Norris on Mount Rushmore, but the granite wasn’t tough enough for Chuck’s beard” – many of them available on The WND Forum called Chuck Norris Laughlines.
The difference is that this “fact” is grounded in reality.
When Chuck Norris wrote on Oct. 21 that he was choosing to support former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in the campaign for the 2008 presidential election, Huckabee had been holding support from about eight percent of voters, according to Rasmussen Reports, which is considered one of the most accurate tracking polls available.
Within a couple days, the time it took for the Chuck Norris column to make the rounds of the blogs and media sites, Huckabee’s support rose to 10 percent, his first time ever in double digits, and within another day it was at 12 percent.
Assuming the reasonable accuracy of the poll, and the estimated population of about 300 million in the Unites States, each percentage point would reflect the opinion of those representing about three million people, except that would be halved, roughly, because the poll divides Americans into Republican and Democrat camps. A two-point change, then, would reflect a change in those polled who are assumed to represent about three million people.
Alice Stewart, a spokeswoman for the Huckabee campaign, told WND that the Norris endorsement definitely produced results.
“He certainly had a surge with the endorsement from Chuck Norris,” she told WND this week, just after the same Rasmussen Reports confirmed Huckabee had moved into first among GOP candidates with 22 percent support. In second was Rudy Giuliani with 18 percent, and Mitt Romney, John McCain and Fred Thompson followed with 13, 12, and 9 percent.
“Obviously, we’re excited,” Stewart said. “It just goes to show that the message is connecting with the people.”
She said another surge came with the release of a Chuck Norris television ad with Huckabee. In it, Huckabee talks about his solution to enforcement of U.S. border laws.
“Two words,” he says. “Chuck Norris.”
“That hit the airwaves in Iowa, it was picked up nationally and the interest rose. That was a part of the surge,” Stewart said.
Stewart said the campaign also has been helped by Huckabee’s more intense travel schedule, appearance on several GOP debates and other opportunities to share his message.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee
“Though Giuliani might be savvy enough to lead people, Fred Thompson wise enough to wade through the tides of politics, McCain tough enough to fight terrorism, and Romney business-minded enough to grow our economy, I believe the only one who has all of the characteristics to lead America forward into the future is ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee,” Chuck Norris wrote.
Chuck Norris has been writing his weekly column exclusively for WND since Oct. 23, 2006. The star of “Walker: Texas Ranger” and some of the biggest action pictures ever, Chuck Norris is reaching a new generation these days as part of the Internet craze for one-liners usually labeled not as jokes but as “facts.”
Some other samples:
“Chuck Norris has already been to Mars; that’s why there are no signs of life there.”
“Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water AND make it drink.”
“Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming that ‘Law & Order’ are the names of his left and right legs.”
“Chuck Norris sleeps with a night-light because the dark is afraid of him.”
“Superman owns a pair of Chuck Norris pajamas.”
“There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.”
“When Chuck Norris does push-ups, he doesn’t push himself up. He pushes the Earth down.”
“When the boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.”
Just days after the Chuck Norris endorsement, WND reported, Huckabee experienced a surge in campaign cash.
Huckabee had been among the “second tier” of GOP candidates behind leaders Giuliani, Thompson, McCain and Romney at that point, but his campaign website reported a surge of $550,000 in donations in just a few days after the endorsement became public.
At that point, the Rasmussen Reports said, “This is the first time all year that Huckabee has surpassed Mitt Romney.” Stewart told WND that “fundraiser hits increased dramatically” following the endorsement.
Those are inquiries from individuals seeking to hold a fundraiser for the candidate, she said.
The newest Rasmussen Reports comments, “The Huckabee surge is bringing a lot of attention to the former Arkansas governor, not all of it positive. Over the coming weeks, it can be expected that rivals and interest groups will attempt to define the little known politician and put him on the defensive.
“Some believe that his numbers will then go down just as quickly as they went up. Others believe he will hold his own and remain a top-tier candidate for the nomination. Only time will tell,” the company said.
Reported at the same time was an AP-Ipsos poll which showed Huckabee in second place but “hot on the heels of front-runner Rudy Giuliani among Republicans.”
That poll had Giuliani at 26 percent, Huckabee at 18 percent, McCain at 13 percent, Romney at 12 and Thompson at 11.
Rasmussen said the difference can come from several factors, but the Rasmussen results are from likely primary voters while the other poll is defined as adults.
Chuck Norris’ career began, not in movies, television or in the world of Internet trivia. The man who has employed martial arts in so many of his pictures first came to the world’s attention as a real-life martial arts star. He was a six-time undefeated World Professional MiddleWeight Karate Champion. He was also a renowned teacher in the martial arts, with celebrity students including Steve McQueen, Bob Barker, Priscilla Presley and Donnie and Marie Osmond.
He has gone on to found the United Fighting Arts Federation with over 2,300 black belts all over the world. In 1997, Norris achieved another milestone in his life by being the first man ever in the Western Hemisphere to be awarded an eighth-degree Black Belt Grand Master recognition in the Tae Kwon Do system. This was a first in 4,500 years of tradition.
Norris is also a powerboat racer. In 1991, he and his team won the World Offshore Powerboat championship.
Then he went on to setting a new world record by racing a 38-foot Scarab boat 605 miles across the Great Lakes, from Chicago to Detroit, in 12 hours and 8 minutes.
In 1988, Norris wrote his autobiography, “The Secret of Inner Strength,” which became a New York Times best seller. He followed up a few years later with a second book, “The Secret Power Within: Zen Solutions to Real Problems.”
Asked how he would like to be remembered, Norris answered as a humanitarian. Here are some his efforts on that score:
As spokesman for United Way, his eight-minute commercial helped bring in over $2 billion.
Veterans Administration spokesman, visiting V.A. hospitals and speaking with World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veterans – including one from World War I.
Actively involved with the Make A Wish Foundation for 29 years.
He has won the Jewish Humanitarian Man of the Year Award.
For Norris, however, the most rewarding accomplishment was the creation of his Kick-Start Foundation. With the help of President Bush, he implemented a program teaching the martial arts to 150 high-risk children at M.C. Williams Middle School in Houston, Texas, as part of the school curriculum. The program was so successful in helping to instill discipline and respect in the kids, as well as getting them out of gangs, that the program is now in 30 schools with more than 4,200 young boys and girls actively participating.
Norris and his wife, Gena, last year joined the board of directors of the National Council on Bible Curriculum In Public Schools with the quest of helping students understand the Bible’s impact on history and literature. Both Norrises are featured in a popular television public service announcement that encourages citizens to bring the Bible back to America’s public schools as an available elective course of study. The announcements are aired on several national networks.
The Norris announcements inform viewers that they can call the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools to receive information on how any citizen can help their local school board implement the NCBCPS curriculum. Already this year a record 49 new school districts have decided to offer “The Bible in History and Literature” course. Nationwide, 370 school districts have approved the course for use in over 1,350 schools in 37 states. More than 93 percent of school boards approached with the curriculum have voted to implement it, and the NCBCPS materials have never been legally challenged.
WND was the commentary forum that first launched David Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and others, including Farah, into national syndication. It also recently launched weekly columns by “Ten Commandments” Judge Roy Moore, Home School Legal Defense Association founder Michael Farris and entertainer Pat Boone.