Former Gov. Mike Huckabee
An Irish newspaper credits an “Internet phenomenon” for helping former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee win the GOP’s caucuses in Iowa yesterday, and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson called it a resurgence of conservatism. But whatever factors are behind Huckabee’s victory, his campaign is keeping “Walker, Texas Ranger” star and WND columnist Chuck Norris close to their candidate.
In fact, they don’t call Norris’ support of Huckabee an endorsement: A television ad that has been going viral on YouTube has Huckabee explaining to viewers, “Chuck Norris doesn’t endorse, he tells America how it’s gonna be.”
It started when Norris used his WND column to offer support for Huckabee. At the time, Huckabee was holding support from about 8 percent of voters, according to Rasmussen Reports. Within days, he rocketed to 12 percent. Zeta Interactive said the announcement sparked a 66 percent increase in posts about Huckabee on the Internet.
Now Huckabee, whose campaign started as a long-shot, is moving his efforts into New Hampshire and South Carolina after capturing 34 percent of the Iowa GOP vote, leaving previous front-runner former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in second at 25 percent.
They’re taking no chances by changing the formula they’ve used during the surge. The first Huckabee appearance in New Hampshire features “special guest Chuck Norris.”
Saturday, “Gov. Huckabee and Chuck Norris” speak at a Londonderry middle school. Sunday it’s “Gov. Huckabee and Chuck Norris” in Windham, Monday it’s “Gov. Huckabee and Chuck Norris” in Mason and Concord, and so on, according to a schedule released by the campaign.
“This seems to be a smart marketing move by Huckabee,” wrote David Brody, CBN News senior national correspondent. “Follow me here on this. … Huckabee wins Iowa. The media goes ga-ga, and Huckabee becomes the feel-good story, the miracle worker right? Then here he comes to New Hampshire with tough as nails Chuck Norris. Huckabee claims the underdog won in Iowa and he’s ready for a fight. Enter Chuck Norris who knows a thing or two about a good fight. They go on the trail together as ‘Huck and Chuck’ and give Huckabee the ‘cool factor.’ It makes sense.”
Dobson, who didn’t mention Norris in his comments on the Iowa results, attributed the Huckabee results to the work of conservative Christians, whose perspective is regularly supported in Norris’ weekly WND column.
“The results of the Iowa caucuses reveal that conservative Christians remain a powerful force in American politics,” Dobson said. “That had to be a great shock to those on the far Left! The New York Times wrote a demeaning obituary of Values Voters in an article called ‘The Evangelical Crackup.’ CNN piled on, proclaiming the demise of the ‘old values,’ referring the traditional marriage and the sanctity of human life. They and other media elites turned out to be dead wrong.”
Dobson noted 60 percent of the Iowa GOP caucus participants were self-identified evangelicals, and 45 percent of them backed Huckabee.
“The former governor may not become the Republican nominee, and I have not endorsed him, but what happened there last night was evidence of an energized and highly motivated conservative community,” he said. “Not bad for a supposed bunch of demoralized, depressed, disillusioned and disengaged Reaganites.”
The Dubuque Times Herald opined that Obama has Oprah, Hillary’s got Barbra, but at the coffeehouse where its reporter watched a caucus, “Chuck was more than enough.”
Norris said Huckabee “sees what we need to do to make our country grow prosperously and peacefully,” but he rejected suggestions he run for president himself.
“I couldn’t. I would have my opponents choked unconscious,” he quipped to the newspaper.
“So will it be Vice President Norris?” asked Jamie Coomarasamy of BBC Radio.
“No, I’m not tough enough for politics,” Norris responded.
It was the ElectronicNews.net of Ireland that credited the Internet-facilitated influence of Norris for Huckabee’s results.
“The former Arkansas governor was a relative unknown in the contest before launching an ad which featured him speaking alongside Chuck Norris, where Huckabee listed off Norris facts while Norris listed off Huckabee facts,” the report said. “The ad has been viewed around three million times. …’
Ed Rollins, the campaign chair for Huckabee, provided a more mainline response to questions about the reasons for the results.
“People in this part of the country want change,” he said.
But campaign spokesman Chip Saltsman said, “You can’t even estimate the Chuck Norris factor.”
Sticking with the tried and true, another YouTube video has been posted.
This one features former South Carolina Gov. David Beasley and Norris, talking at Huckabee’s campaign headquarters after the Iowa win.
Beasley credits Norris for his foresight in believing in a Huckabee victory.
“I made that prediction, didn’t I,” Norris says.
“You were the only one. … We knew we were going to have a victory, we were really working hard but Chuck Norris is the only one who said it was going to be a blowaway,” says Beasley.
“I said it would be a landslide,” Norris continues.
Beasley then asks, “What are we going to do in South Carolina?”
They both answer “Huckaboom,” extending clenched fists to the camera.