Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is traveling to Israel this week for a two-day trip to the Middle Eastern U.S. ally, all while he’s rolling out an impressive campaign infrastructure in early presidential primary states.
“I don’t think so,” Huckabee said on CNN’s State of the Union when asked by guest host Dana Bash if Donald Trump has changed the game of politics since Huckabee won Iowa in 2008. “I mean, look, Donald Trump is a phenomena, and he’s doing very well. I don’t have a helicopter. I don’t know that any other candidates will. But let me tell you what we’re doing. We’re organizing the old-fashioned way. There are 99 counties in Iowa. We have organized 71 of them.”
Huckabee laid out how, in South Carolina, he’s also organized nearly statewide.
“In South Carolina, there are 46 counties. We have organized already in 32 of them,” Huckabee said. “We visited over half of the counties in each of those early primary states. And we understand that this is like a NASCAR race that’s 200 laps. We’re maybe in lap number 10. We have got a long way to go before anybody’s going to see a checkered flag. And you win by organizing and building structure in those counties, because it’s not how many headlines you get. It’s how many voters show up at the caucuses and the primaries.”
After Bash followed up by alleging that Trump is “kind of the Kardashianization of the caucuses,” Huckabee wouldn’t play that game.
“I want to salute Donald Trump,” Huckabee said:
He’s a master at branding. There’s no one like him. He’s alone in his class at being able to get attention. Latest survey showed, Dana, that he’s getting 10 times the press coverage than any other candidate. Well, I’m just going to be real clear with you. You give me 10 times the coverage that any other candidate gets, I will be leading in the polls. But the point is, at this stage of the game, the polls don’t necessarily reflect where things end up. Otherwise, we would have had a nominee named Rudy Giuliani eight years ago and one named Michele Bachmann four years ago. That’s why we’re not in a panic. We’re doing what we know we have to do. And it’s been helpful to have done this before. We’re organizing, structuring, building this thing one block at a time. It’s like a LEGO set, and you have to put the pieces together one at a time.
After a little back-and-forth with Bash about how—because he’s from Arkansas and has already defeated the Hillary-Bill-Clinton machine there—he’s best suited from the GOP side to go up against Hillary Clinton, Huckabee unveiled that he’ll be traveling to Israel this week to meet with leaders about how President Obama’s deal with the Iranian Ayatollah on nuclear arms is so bad.
“You are planing to leave the campaign trail and make a trip to Israel this coming Tuesday. We talked about Iowa and organizing.” Bash asked, “Why is it more important to be in Israel than in Iowa right now?”
“Well, there’s several activities. So, I will only be there a couple of days,” Huckabee replied:
But, as you know, I have been going to Israel for 42 years. My first trip was in 1973. I have been dozens and dozens of times. I have got a lot of friends there. And a lot of Americans live there. We’re doing some fundraising, but, more importantly, I will also be visiting with a number of officials and discussing the Iranian deal, because I think it’s the most dangerous situation that we face, not just for the Middle East, but for the rest of the world, in a long time. This is essentially arming and equipping a terrorist state. The Iranian government is not to be trusted. And for 36 years, they kidnapped Americans. They have killed Americans. They hold Americans hostage right now. And we’re being pushed to get into a deal that gives us nothing, but gives the Iranians the capacity to ultimately end up with a nuclear weapon, and that’s just insane.