Friday, March 31, 2006

A Message From D.J. Bettencourt, New Hampshire House of Representatives

Governor Mike Huckabee spoke recently at the Annual Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner in Manchester, NH. Sitting in the audience was D.J. Bettencourt, a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. The following is the text of an email he sent to us, reprinted here with his permission.

Thank you, Representative Bettencourt!

BSR,

Huckabee did it again. I had the pleasure of seeing him speak again tonight at the Annual Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner in Manchester, NH, and again he hit a home run. The crowd, which included our State Senate President and the Republican candidate for Governor, was very impressed. People who were hearing him for the first time couldn’t believe how well he spoke.

Thus far I have heard Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. George Allen, Sen. John McCain, Sen. Bill Frist, and Gov. George Pataki speak in New Hampshire and without question the best speaker I have heard is Gov. Huckabee.

At this point the big thing Gov. Huckabee needs in New Hampshire is greater name recognition. Because he has a great message, a great agenda, and articulates his vision extremely well. He has impressed a lot of people here and it’s still early. Keep up the good work.

Best,
Rep. D.J. Bettencourt
R (Salem/Windham)New Hampshire House of Representatives

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Other Bloggers On Mike Huckabee

According to Krusty Konservative, who runs a very well-done conservative blog in Iowa, Mike Huckabee is a force to be rekoned with in his state.

Says Krusty: "I think most Christian Konservatives will go with Huckabee in Iowa because he says the right things, is very open about his faith (former pastor), and is a Baptist (a faith they can relate too)."

Check it out HERE.

BSR

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

C-SPAN Video: Huckabee In South Carolina

C-SPAN's "Road to the White House" features new video of Governor Mike Huckabee's recent trip to South Carolina (his 5th).

Check it out
HERE.

NOTE: If you do nothing else, be sure you fast forward to the 45:00 point and listen to his bobsled story. It is PRICELESS!

BSR

ABC News Video Features Huckabee

Governor Mike Huckabee gave a fantastic stump speech at the recent Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis, TN. ABC News has a video clip of it. You can check it out HERE.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Huckabee Featured On CNN.com

Here's a link to a CNN.com feature about Governor Mike Huckabee and his efforts to lead the effort to improve the health and wellness of Americans everywhere. Among the key points made in the article:

  • Is obesity a looming national threat? Many (experts) generally agree that obesity does pose a legitimate threat to American society.

  • "We're now seeing pre-teens, kids who are 8- or 9-years-old, who are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes," Huckabee said. "If we continue with this trend, within another generation you'll be seeing kids dropping dead at their desks at the high school."

  • Huckabee said "Some 700,000 people a year will die in America because of inactivity, overeating and smoking. Those three lifestyle choices are essentially driving the cost of health care."

  • Costs attributed to overweight and obesity accounted for 9.1 percent of total U.S. medical expenditures in 1998, according to a study cited by the CDC. The costs may have been as high as $78.5 billion -- $92.6 billion in 2002 dollars.

  • For the most part, researchers and experts in the public health sector believe obesity has negative consequences and raises the risk for certain diseases.

  • "It's not unrealistic to say that within a decade we could see a significant turning," Huckabee said. "Will all of America be healthy and thin? No. But will we have maybe reversed course? Yes, I think it's possible."

Sunday, March 26, 2006

ABC News Predicts Huckabee Will Win Iowa Caucus

ABC News is conducting an analysis it is calling the "invisible primary." There are a few really interesting things in it. First, they predict that Mike Huckabee will win the Iowa caucuses. Secondly, they rate Huckabee number 1 in their "hang test," which is what they call the candidates' ability to communicate and connect with voters on a personal level. Finally, they rate Huckabee #2 (behind Sen. Sam Brownback) in ability to gain support from party constituencies.

At the moment, ABC has John McCain winning the "invisible primary," which in our view shows how tragically flawed it is. Still, their observations about Huckabee indicate that the media continues to take his potential candidacy more seriously.

BSR

Political Scientist: 'Huckabee Falls Naturally Into The Dominant Cultural Mores Of The Party'

Here's more evidence that people in the know are beginning to recognize Governor Mike Huckabee's appeal to the critical base of the Republican party -- Christians and social conservatives.

South Carolina will host the first presidential primary in the critial Southern block of states. Candidates who perform well in this primary will get a major boost for their campaigns so journalists and political scientists are beginning to analyze which candidates have the potential to connect well with the the state's heavily religious population.

Here's an article from the Greenville News of Greenville, SC. The topic of the article is Mass. Governor Mitt Romney's (scant) chances in South Carolina due to his being a devout Mormon. But buried in the article is an important observation by James Guth, a Furman University professor who specializes in religion and politics.

Guth says: "All things being equal, if religion is a dividing line, one other potential candidate stands out. Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, as frequent a visitor to South Carolina as Romney, is a Southern Baptist preacher. Huckabee just falls naturally into the dominant cultural mores of the party."

The Huckabee train is picking up steam.

BSR

L.A. Times: Huckabee 'A Fierce Defender Of Traditional Family Values'

For months Governor Mike Huckabee has made headlines for his leadership in health and wellness related efforts in the battle against obesity. During this time, we have been perhaps the only resource on the web telling you that he has much more to offer than just healthcare.

We present for you today an article from the Los Angeles Times that does not even mention health and wellness. Instead, the Times has noticed that Huckabee also has the potential to appeal strongly to the religious right and social conservatives who elected George Bush twice.

Look for media attention about Huckabee to continue this shift as more and more of them begin to look beyond health and wellness and discover the other attributes that will make him a formidable candidate.

We reproduce portions of the article for you below. To read it in its entirety, click HERE.

Right Is Might for GOP's Aspirants

By Janet Hook, Times Staff Writer
March 25, 2006

WASHINGTON — Most Americans know one thing about Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, if they know anything at all: He lost more than 100 pounds in one year, a triumph touted in a weight-loss book that he has hawked around the country. But evangelical conservative activists know one or two other things that make the governor a standout among Republicans who may run for president in 2008: Huckabee is a Baptist minister and a fierce defender of traditional family values.

"Let's face it," he recently told a crowd of Christian conservatives in Iowa, the state that holds the nation's earliest presidential caucuses. "In our lifetimes, we've seen our country go from 'Leave It to Beaver' to 'Beavis and Butt-head,' from Barney Fife to Barney Frank, from 'Father Knows Best' to television shows where father knows nothing." Huckabee's early outreach to evangelicals — in Iowa and elsewhere — is a tribute to the clout of the GOP's Christian conservative wing. That faction was crucial to President Bush's reelection in 2004, and is maneuvering to have a big say in who wins the party's nomination in 2008.

...Huckabee is building on ties to religious leaders that he made as a Southern Baptist minister and former president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. He has endorsed South Dakota's new abortion ban, and last week spoke at a Florida gathering hosted by the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ.

Kudos to the Times for getting it.

BSR

Bloggers 4 Huckabee

Welcome Bloggers 4 Huckabee member number 10 Sean Hurley of The Missouri Conservative Times. Click on over and check out his blog!

BSR

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Politics Of Fat

America is getting on board with the fight against obesity and Mike Huckabee is the undisputed leader of the movement. Check out this Time Magazine article published last Sunday titled "The Politics of Fat."

The photo to the right was published in the article with the caption "MOVING IT: Gov. Huckabee, at a sports complex in Texarkana, Texas, shows one way to burn calories."

Because these articles sometimes disappear, we are providing it in its entirety below. For its original appearance, click the link provided above.

The Politics of Fat
Time Magazine
March 19, 2006

By Karen Tumulty

These are fat times in politics. Literally. Nearly 400 obesity-related bills were introduced in state legislatures across the country last year--more than double the number in 2003. A quarter of them were passed into law, up from only 12% two years before. In Washington the word obesity appears in 56 bills introduced during the current Congress; this, the Wall Street Journal points out, is fast catching up with the number containing the word gun.

Surgeon General Richard Carmona says obesity is a greater threat than terrorism. Some public-health advocates have begun urging the government to put a warning label on soft drinks; others are calling for a "fat tax" on fast food.

When voters and the possibility of big public spending are involved, you can be sure the politicians will discover a problem. The stats are depressingly familiar: more than 60% of us are overweight, and the percentage of us who are considered obese has nearly doubled since 1980. Health-care spending attributable to obesity reached $75 billion in 2003, by some estimates, with taxpayers shelling out more than half of that through Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Last month Medicare increased its financial obligation to the problem by announcing it would cover bariatric surgery, a procedure aimed at weight loss that generally costs $25,000 for a simple case. Government researchers estimate that obesity is associated with anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 deaths a year.

Most alarming of all, the rates of obesity among children and teens have tripled in the past 25 years. Health-care providers say they are seeing something of an epidemic of potentially lethal Type 2 diabetes, once known as the adult-onset version of the disease, among children as young as 10 and 11.

"Without some intervention, this is the first generation of young Americans, being born today, who are expected to have a shorter life span than their parents or grandparents," says Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a Republican, who wrote a book about his 110-lb. weight loss and made a healthy America his top priority as chairman of the National Governors Association.

That prediction of diminishing life expectancy was published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine by a group of university researchers; other experts have disputed it as overly dire.

Huckabee, who is a possible 2008 presidential contender, has given state employees in Arkansas exercise breaks instead of smoking breaks. The state's public school children are screened for their body mass index, an indirect measure of body fat, and confidential reports are mailed to their parents. Huckabee wants to experiment with a system in which food stamps would be worth more if they were spent on healthy purchases like fruits and vegetables.

Nearly every state has taken some steps on obesity, mostly centered on children. In the past year, Arizona set nutritional standards for all food and beverages sold on school grounds. California banned the sale of junk food as snacks in schools starting next year. Kentucky requires students to engage in vigorous physical activity for 30 minutes a day or 150 minutes a week and next year will prohibit its schools from serving that staple of Southern cuisine, deep-fried foods.

Maryland plans to put timing devices on school vending machines to limit access during school hours. Many states plan to make nutrition instruction part of their curriculums.

There are certain to be more new rules. For the Governors' winter meeting in Washington a few weeks ago, Huckabee, who opened the conference by leading some of his fellow Governors and their staffs on a 5K run, invited a former fat kid who is also a quadruple-bypass patient to speak. Bill Clinton related to the problem of weight in typical feel-your-pain fashion. The two Arkansas pols, longtime adversaries, have joined together to work toward halting the rise in childhood obesity by 2010 and reversing it by 2015.

"Look at Huckabee," Clinton told the Governors. "You've got to consume less and burn more. There is no other alternative. And to do that, you've got to change the culture."

But how? Embarrass Americans into saying no to that second helping of cheesecake? Taxing calories? Hauling the corporate chiefs of Frito-Lay and Coca-Cola before a congressional committee, as happened in 1994 with the heads of seven tobacco companies, and suing them?

There have been many instances in which government has either rallied a majority to rescue a group of suffering Americans, as in the War on Poverty, or tried to push Americans out of unhealthy and expensive bad habits, including smoking, littering, drunk driving and failing to wear seat belts. All involved some combination of education, cultural change, legal penalties and old-fashioned shame.

But obesity does not evoke deprivation, and it's more complicated than a bad habit: it involves food. The old messages won't work, says veteran Democratic operative Michael Berman, whose new memoir, Living Large, chronicles his struggles to come to terms with being fat. "This is different from second-hand smoke, where you can have a program of abstinence. You can give up smoking. You can't give up eating."

Berman warns that even the best anti-obesity programs won't produce the gratification that politicians like best: quick results. That's because our growing waistlines are a product of so much else that is happening in the U.S. Researchers say it's not a coincidence that the obesity epidemic has coincided with a growth in the number of working parents who have less time to prepare meals from fresh foods; technologies that make it possible to mass-produce packaged and fast foods in cheap, enormous portions; financially strapped schools getting rid of their physical-education programs and playgrounds even as they allow vending machines and food advertising in their buildings; and computer and television programs that ensnare kids who might otherwise be playing outside.

Even larger economic forces may play a role. "It seems to be inextricably bound up to ... stagnant wages in the global economy," Clinton told the Governors. "The price of everything has gone up except food. Food is still a good deal in America."

Rates of childhood obesity are worst among the poor and are a particular challenge in immigrant communities--in part because there's no cheaper dose of assimilation than a trip to Burger King.

The New York Times Magazine reported that a couple of years ago, after administrators trimmed fat and sugar from menus at schools in Rio Grande City, Texas, along the Mexican border, students staged lunchroom protests, hanging signs that read NO MORE DIET and WE WANT TO EAT COOL STUFF--PIZZA, NACHOS, BURRITOS.

Where government fits into finding a solution is a matter of no small dispute. After all, it's not like Americans don't have an inkling why they are getting fat. "People who are overweight know it," says Huckabee. "The denial is different from a lot of denials. We don't deny that it's there. We deny that it affects us."

That's why there are plenty who argue that the blame--and the answer--must lie squarely with fat people themselves. When Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, attacked junk food in schools two years ago, then Democratic Senator Zell Miller, whose home state of Georgia is the location of Coca-Cola headquarters, scoffed, "Our kids are not obese because of what they are eating in our lunchrooms at school. They are obese, frankly, because they sit around on their duffs watching MTV and playing video games, and to do something about that requires the role of the parents, not the role of the Federal Government."

His Georgia colleague, Republican Saxby Chambliss, was equally dismissive of Harkin's plan to set federal nutrition guidelines for schools: "We would be a lot better off to spend that $6 million to educate children about what they ought to eat, both in school and out of school, and if we think that by cutting them off at school they are not going to go to the 7-Eleven as soon as school is out and pick up these items, then we are kidding ourselves."

There was a none-too-subtle message in the title of Republican-sponsored legislation aimed at protecting the food industry from obesity-related lawsuits: the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act of 2005. Nicknamed the Cheeseburger Bill, it passed last October, with yeas outnumbering nays 2 to 1.

Mindful of anything that may look like the heavy hand of a nanny state at work, George W. Bush's Administration has focused its anti-obesity efforts primarily on public education. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson wore a pedometer to tout his department's Small Step initiative. But pressure for bigger strides is building.

Says Harkin: "This is not just a personal problem. It's a public-health problem." He wants the Agriculture Department to regulate all food--not just meals--being served in schools. The rules now are set at the state and local levels, with widely varying standards, although the torrent of state legislation suggests that everyone is looking to go healthier.

Harkin and others want to give the Federal Trade Commission more say over the $10 billion a year that the food industry spends advertising to children. Some in Congress are pushing to require nutritional labeling on restaurant menus, as was done for packaged foods. There are restaurants that print the information voluntarily, but the restaurant lobby opposes requiring it.

Meanwhile, food companies are trying to get out in front of the issue. McDonald's did away with supersizing. Coca-Cola no longer advertises on television programs aimed at viewers younger than age 12. In its ads on children's television, Kraft pitches white-meat chicken Lunchables rather than Oreos. Food packaging, from mac-and-cheese to soup and pancake mix, offers tips for more healthful preparation.

Big Food is eager not to repeat the mistakes of Big Tobacco, and it knows that self-regulation is one way to keep the government from stepping in. What worries the food industry most are the lawsuits that have begun to move through the courts, often going where politicians fear to tread. One key question is whether public-health advocates will succeed in sticking the food industry with one of the charges that damned the tobacco business: that its executives knowingly harmed the health of the public--especially children--with their marketing tactics. Of course, Big Tobacco had the additional problem that its products are clearly addictive.

Plaintiffs against food companies have had some initial setbacks--in courts of law and in the court of public opinion. People snickered when two New York teenagers--one whose regular diet consisted of two Big Mac or Chicken McNugget meals a day and another who usually ate a Happy Meal or a Big Mac three or four times a week--sued McDonald's, claiming it had made them morbidly fat.

A federal judge tossed out their case in 2003. But last year an appeals court revived it and allowed discovery, an unsettling development for food companies because it could open up their marketing strategies to public scrutiny. Around the country, state attorneys general, encouraged by their success in wringing billions from the tobacco companies, have the food industry in their sights, says Rogan Kersh, a Syracuse University political-science professor who argues that the political forces arrayed against the two industries show striking similarities.

The food fight seems certain to get bitter, whether it is ultimately fought in the courts or the legislatures or on the floors of Congress. But there is one thing on which all sides can agree: nothing will work until Americans are persuaded to change the choices they are making for themselves and their children.

While some will say the government shouldn't have to pick up the tab for what people are doing to themselves, Huckabee insists that everyone should recognize that it already is. "It's not just about coddling people," he says. "It's truly about making good business decisions. The return on investment is significant when you put the focus on health and wellness as opposed to putting the focus on treating disease."


BSR

Article credit Karen Tumulty, Time Magazine, Sunday, March 19, 2006. Photo credit Kirk Jordan.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Huckabee Speaks At Reclaiming America For Christ Conference

Governor Mike Huckabee, Chairman of the National Governor's Association and potential candidate for President of the United States, is speaking at the annual conference of The Center for Reclaiming America this weekend. The group was founded in 1996 by Dr. D. James Kennedy, as an outreach of Coral Ridge Ministries for the purpose of mobilizing America’s Christians at the grassroots level. As a means to accomplish this mission, "the Center focuses on five key fronts of the modern-day culture war: (1) Religious Liberties, (2) the Sanctity of Life, (3) the Homosexual Agenda, (4) Pornography, and (5) Promoting Creationism."

Huckabee is speaking today, the first day of the conference themed "Reclaiming America for Christ" in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

BSR

Clinton On Huckabee

Bill Clinton says if Mike Huckabee wants to run for President, he should.

BSR

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Other Bloggers On Mike Huckabee

Here's more blogger opinion about Governor Mike Huckabee's performance at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference last weekend:

Michael Meckler at RedState.com said: "...among conservatives, the most impressive candidate at the Memphis forum seemed to be Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee..."

Washington Times On Huckabee

Wesley Pruden, Editor in Chief of the Washington Times, attended Mike Huckabee's speech at the recent Southern Republican Leadership Conference. Here's what he had to say in his column afterwards:

"Mr. Huckabee gave the rousingest speech of the occasion, bringing the delegates to their feet with preacherly evocations of Stonewall Jackson's admonition to his troops to "never take counsel with your fears." Cried the governor: "Knock off the hand-wringing and cut out the talk of the ultimate and imminent decline of the Grand Old Party. If we think we are in trouble, then we are in trouble."

Mike Huckabee is the darkest of dark horses, but he, like Bill Clinton before him, can "still believe in a place called Hope," because their remarkable hometown in Hempstead County clearly has something in the water to make a politician think he can become president even if he hails from what was once the most obscure of all the states of the South. Mr. Huckabee's chief claim to fame is that he dropped 106 pounds on a diet prescribed for him by the state medical school, making him the only prospective candidate who can take being called "lightweight" as a compliment. But, as a Baptist pastor before he abandoned the ministry for politics, he can still preach."

We've told readers of this blog before that Mike Huckabee is a tremendously gifted communicator. Just wait until you see for yourselves. All we have to do is get Huckabee into the eventual presidential debates and he will mop the floor with his opponents.

You heard it here first.

BSR

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Reader Comment

We've promoted the following from comments emailed to us:

"I want to thank you for your blog. Being from Ohio I have not heard much about Mike but I have seen him several times on c-span and I liked how he talked. His losing 110 lb caught my wife's eye because she too was diagnosed with type II diabetes and lost 170 lb and have kept it off for 4 years by changing her eating habits. What I like best is that he seems to bring the hope, peace and joy of being a Christian."

God Bless You,
Jeff R, Ohio

You are quite welcome, Jeff. It is comments like yours that make this effort worthwhile!

BSR

Huckabee Back To New Hampshire

Governor Mike Huckabee will be back in New Hampshire on March 29 to be the keynote speaker at the Manchester Republican Committee Lincoln-Reagan Dinner.

BSR

SRLC Straw Vote Meaningless: Rigged By Frist

The Southern Republican Leadership Conference, taking place this weekend in Sen. Frist's home state of Tennessess (Memphis) held a straw poll today purportedly to help winnow the field of candidates for president in 2008. The fact that Frist, perhaps the weakest "leader" in American history, won the straw poll is clear evidence that the results were stacked in Frist's favor, rendering the poll meaningless.

BSR

Friday, March 10, 2006

Huckabee Named Top "Doer, Dreamer & Driver" By Government Technology Mag

Governor Mike Huckabee has named one of America's "Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers" in Government Technology's March issue. Since 2002 the magazine has honored individuals who are "redefining and advancing technology's role in government and society."

About Huckabee, the magazine says:

Mike Huckabee Governor, Arkansas
Defying Expectations

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is something of a conundrum. Outsiders tend to imagine Arkansas as primarily pastoral with an economy based largely on agriculture. Considering much of that description is true, many are surprised to discover that Huckabee is recognized across the country as a lead advocate of e-government services.

On the surface, a rustic lifestyle and high tech don't seem to mix well. Deeper analysis, however, suggests that the combination is symbiotic. Technology has advanced to the point where it binds people together instead of isolating the haves and have-nots. Huckabee has long been aware that technology can bring government closer to the people instead of acting as barricade.

"In a rural state like Arkansas, technology erases the distance and makes the disadvantages become advantages," he said. "People can live in the mountains or on a lake and have peace and fresh air, yet be connected to the world."

Huckabee's activism in e-government proliferation propelled Arkansas to new heights, including a top-10 finish in the 2004 Digital States Survey -- a study conducted by the Center for Digital Government. Arkansas excelled in the four areas covered by the study -- service delivery, architecture and infrastructure, collaboration, and leadership. Accolades and awards, however, are not worth the paper on which they're printed if the end product doesn't improve the lives of Arkansans -- which is why Huckabee never loses focus on his motivation for delivering e-government services.

"Our goal is to make every state service available online, from car tags to a hunting license to information and reservations in a state park," he said. "It saves time and money for our citizens, and keeps state government open 24/7."

As the first governor with a blog and online forum, Huckabee makes himself available to constituents in a way never before possible -- fostering relationships that traditional mediums don't allow. "I have always believed that getting my message to the people directly was superior to having it edited and interpreted by newspapers," Huckabee said. "Being online means the message is clear and pure."

NOTE: This blog (the one you are reading right now) is not an official blog. We are volunteers who are only trying to help keep the public informed about Mike Huckabee and his qualifications to be president.

An Important Weekend For Huckabee

Sorry for the lack of posts for the last couple of days. It seems blogger blacklisted us as a potential "spam blog" and we had to jump through some hoops to get things back live again. Our apologies.

And now, the news:

This weekend will be an important one for Governor Mike Huckabee. He will be attending and speaking at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis, TN where a straw poll conducted by none other than The Hotline could help him make his case that he has a viable candidacy for 2008.

According to CBS News, about 1,800 Republicans from 26 states, along with a couple of hundred members of the press, are descending on Memphis for the conference where six possible presidential wannabes will deliver 15-minute speeches and participate in a straw poll vote — giving political observers a early sense of the how 2008 Republican race will look.

The attendees, in addition to Huckabee, are: Sen. George Allen (VA), Sen. Sam Brownback (KS),
Sen. Bill Frist (TN), Sen. John McCain (AZ), and Gov. Mitt Romney (MA).

About Huckabee, CBS News says: "Huckabee has gone from the nationally unknown but popular Arkansas governor from a town called Hope (sound familiar?) to someone who has suddenly propelled himself onto the national stage. He's spending his final year in office also serving as the chairman of the National Governors Association, giving him a higher-profile political soapbox. It's his personal story of losing 110 pounds after being diagnosed with Type II diabetes that has really thrust him into the limelight. Any politician would be envious of the widespread national coverage he received last year when he ran the Little Rock Marathon."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Huckabee In Iowa: Courts Social Conservatives

Huckabee courts social conservatives

KEN FUSON
DES MOINES REGISTER STAFF WRITER
March 7, 2006

In the political equivalent of preaching to the choir, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee introduced himself Monday to many of the Iowa social conservatives whose support he will need should he run for president.

"The challenge is not just to elect people to office," Huckabee told about 300 members of the Iowa Christian Alliance, formerly known as the Iowa Christian Coalition. "That's too low a goal. The challenge is to change the world."

Huckabee, 50, expects to decide in January whether to seek the 2008 Republican nomination for president. The talk Monday marked his seventh visit to Iowa since the last election, and potentially was one of the most important. Among the most-discussed GOP candidates, Huckabee is expected to compete with U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas for the affections of Iowa's social conservatives, a group that has proven to be a potent political force in the state party's first-in-the-nation caucuses.

A former Baptist minister, Huckabee courted alliance members with a combination of folksy humor and strong opposition to abortion rights, same-sex marriage and what he described as "a culture of violence and death."

"Let's face it," he said. "In our lifetimes, we've seen our country go from
'Leave it to Beaver' to 'Beavis and Butt-head,' from Barney Fife to Barney Frank, from 'Father Knows Best' to television shows where father knows nothing."

Before his talk, held at the Des Moines Christian School in Urbandale, Huckabee applauded South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds' signing of legislation earlier Monday to ban nearly all abortions in that state.

"I'm unabashedly pro-life, so any time we move the ball in the direction of protecting innocent and unborn human life, I figure it's a good thing."

For the most part, Huckabee used the visit to urge the Iowans to become active in politics. He said they should look for candidates "that share your heart, your convictions, your values, and with whom you can agree most of the time, and believe that they can move down the field and help you eventually to score." The event Monday, billed as the Christian group's spring kick-off, attracted a host of politicians and candidates, including GOP gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle and his running mate, Bob Vander Plaats.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Huckabee Completes Third Marathon

Governor Mike Huckabee, who just over two years ago weighed 110 pounds more than he does now, completed his third marathon today in Little Rock. Huckabee ran the race wearing the number 2008 and, after finishing the 26.2 mile course in a personal best time of 4 hours, 25 minutes, was asked by reporters if he planned to run for president. He answered the question by saying:

"You know I'm kicking the tires to see what happens, but no decisions till a year from now. One thing you feel when you can do a marathon is you really gain a confidence that if there is anything you really want to do, if you really are willing to do the work you can get there."

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Huckabee In New Hampshire

Governor Mike Huckabee is putting in the miles and shoe-leather necessary to help the Republican party in 2006, and building relationships and support along the way.

Here, in a photo from the home page of the New Hampshire Republican Committee on March 4:
Gov. Mike Huckabee greets the candidates for State Committee Chairman at the recent Grafton County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner (From left: Fran Wendelboe, Gov. Huckabee, Wayne Semprini, and Wayne MacDonald).

Friday, March 03, 2006

Huckabee Vaults To "Top Tier"

Chuck Todd, editor in chief of National Journal's Hotline, has published a new ranking of the top Democratic and Republican potential candidates for president in 2008. Huckabee, who has not previously appeared in the top tier of most folks' rankings, has (as we have been predicting for months) begun to make waves.

Todd ranks Huckabee #4 on the list of Republicans behind John McCain (1), George Allen (2) , and Mitt Romney (3). Of Huckabee, Todd says:

"Short of McCain and Warner, no presidential candidate seems to be getting better press right now than Huckabee. He's come a long way from the guy who was on the brink of political death in 2002. If there is a "social" or "movement" conservative that has a legitimate shot at doing well in Iowa, it’s Huckabee — even more so than Sam Brownback. Huckabee’s got a smoothness to him that Brownback doesn’t have. In fact, Huckabee could be a lethal insurgent candidate in Iowa. He has to answer the money question, but if he can get into the $25-30 million range in 2007, he’ll be a force to deal with."

Kudos to you, Mr. Todd, for doing your homework!

Onward and upward,

BSR

Thursday, March 02, 2006

On The Road With Mike Huckabee

From the Des Moines Register, March 2, 2006:

"Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee Monday plans to make his seventh visit to Iowa since the last election. He's the most frequent visitor of the Republicans mentioned as potential White House candidates. Huckabee is scheduled to headline the Iowa Christian Coalition's Spring Kick-off at Des Moines Christian School in Urbandale."

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Other Bloggers On Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee's fan base continues to grow. Blogger Utah Conservative says this of Mike Huckabee:

"This is the guy that on substance is most qualified to be President out of all the Republican Governors in the country."

Read more HERE.

Thanks, Utah Conservative!

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UPI: U.S. Failing In Fight Against Obesity

U.S. failing in fight against obesity

By CHRISTINE DELL'AMORE
UPI Consumer Health Reporter

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The United States government has been gripped by policy paralysis in dealing with the obesity epidemic, which costs the country more than $117 billion a year in medical costs and lost productivity.

"The bottom line is we're killing our future generations if we don't systemically address the obesity epidemic," Shelley Hearne, executive director of the nonprofit Trust for America's Health (TFAH), told UPI. "There's a paralysis in the government and in the public."

Hearne spoke before a U.S. House panel discussing the fight against obesity Tuesday.
TFAH released a report in 2005, "F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America," which concluded both national and state policies lack an aggressive, coordinated approach to obesity, particularly when it comes to children and the potential for schools to combat the problem.

Hearne's recommendations to turn the tide:

--Add programs that bolster preventive care, such as routine obesity screening and obesity-related disease management.

--Place a higher emphasis on nutritional value in public assistance programs. Higher rates of obesity are correlated with subsidy programs.

--Design smarter communities with sidewalks and parks that promote physical activity.

--Improve school nutrition and exercise. Schools should be the "epicenter" of a healthy lifestyle, Hearne said.

In the United States, 119 million people, or 64.5 percent, are overweight or obese -- making Americans heavier than they ever have been before, Hearne said. Since 1980, the rates of obesity have skyrocketed, and by 2008 experts believe 73 percent of adults will have packed on extra pounds. Obesity is linked to 35 chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

A laundry list of lifestyle choices that bring on obesity, from huge portion sizes to vanishing recesses at schools, makes the situation worse. Minorities are at an even higher risk of obesity, often because of a paucity of supermarkets in inner city neighborhoods, meaning that kids don't get the fruits and vegetables they need in their diet. And even if they are available, fruits and vegetables are also more expensive than processed foods.

In addition, Hearne acknowledged, a lack of sufficient research on obesity to date hasn't helped inform useful policies.

But some states are launching innovative programs to fight obesity, said Raymond Scheppach, executive director of the National Governors Association (NGA). Obesity was a focal point of the NGA's Winter Meeting in Washington, which was chaired by Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who lost 110 pounds when given a ultimatum by his doctor two years ago.

Huckabee spearheaded the Healthy America initative, a call to action for governors to improve citizens' overall health. He supports modernizing state programs, such as Medicaid and Food Stamps, to promote and reward healthy choices. Huckabee has used his personal story to motivate people to lose weight in Arkansas, the fourth-highest state for obesity.

In addition, 42 states are pursuing legislation to create nutritional guidelines stricter than that of the Food and Drug Administration, and 44 are working to set enforceable guidelines for physical education in schools.

"We're trying to create a national movement. We need a small group of states to lead, and we know from experience that the other states will follow," Scheppach said.

But Heale warned that these programs are emerging at the same time the government is cutting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grants to states. James Marks, senior vice president at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a group targeting childhood obesity, said the U.S. only appears to be taking action. He compares the U.S. approach to obesity to the average American's workout: not long, hard or intense enough.

"We don't need a tipping point," Marks said, adding that Americans are already flooded with information on what they need to do. "We need a pivot point, where we can turn around the damage we've been doing."

Heale told UPI that people are still somewhat resistant to the idea of the government combating obesity, which is partly to blame for their slow response.

"People think there is nothing that they can do, that obesity is inevitable," Hearne said. "This is not rocket science: It's all about how many calories you're putting in yourself, and how many are getting out. We need to go back to the basics."
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E-mail: consumerhealth@upi.com

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