WICHITA, KAN. -- Buyer's remorse. That's what sure-footed dreamers of a Mike Huckabee nomination are banking on. In his swing through Kansas the day before the primary, he's finding crowds that number over a thousand - people who are looking for a John McCain alternative.
McCain is a "Democrat running as a Republican," one Kansas voter told me today sarcastically pointing out people can vote in the Democrats' caucus if they want to vote for one.
"You may be aware some of the chattering class out there on the East Coast is not exactly thrilled about my being here," Huckabee said to the crowd here in Wichita.
"Many of them had just about all the heartburn they can handle about a guy who is not part of the Washington establishment having the audacity to run for president without their permission. Well, guess what. Last time I checked, this country still belonged to the people of America, not a handful of pundits in Washington!"
With Focus on the Family founder James Dobson's endorsement, Huckabee is emphasizing his status as the alternative for so-called "values voters."
"Ladies and gentleman, we don't simply need a president who says I will accept a pro-life plank or I will accept pro-life legislation," he said.
"I believe we need a president who says I will lead this country to recognize the value and worth of every single human life."
And in Olathe this morning, Huckabee sidetracked from his usual talking points to say, "the day we lose our moral center is the day we lose the capacity for freedom."
"Freedom does not live in a vacuum, it lives within the context that some things are right and some things are wrong," said Huckabee to an enthusiastic crowd.
"It's wrong to kill, its wrong to lie, its wrong to steal. And we shouldn't be ashamed that we say those things are wrong. And freedom can only operate in a context of a people who define some things as being right and wrong…I hear people say you can't legislate morality. Actually, every time you legislate something you have legislated morality because that's what you've done, you've set the standards you've said these things are right, it's wrong to drive 90 miles an hour on the freeway, though some of you did today. It's wrong to cheat on your taxes...though maybe, well hopefully not in this room, this is a Republican audience but...its wrong to cheat on your taxes. My point is when you've defined something as right or wrong you've legislated morality. You can't legislate behavior but you've legislated the rightness or wrongness, that's the point of law."