DES MOINES, IOWA -- Mike Huckabee has won the photo op battle of the day, and it's only 8am. He went for a jog around Gray's Lake in Des Moines flanked by some local doctors, and because he invited the press, there were about 30 cameras capturing every sprightly step.
Huckabee hopped off his campaign bus here at dawn, wearing a bright orange parka, black running pants, and -- function before fashion -- a mask covering his ears and chin for warmth.
It is freezing out here. He invited members of the media to come along. There were no takers.
Just as he was about to embark on his run, a jogger came up to him and said he was leaning towards voting for him but wanted to know his views about rehabilitating prisoners (he runs a halfway house). Huckabee launched into a three minute explanation of his view that "people who are dangerous" should be locked up, but "people we're just mad at" should be rehabilitated if possible. The jogger liked his answer, said Huckabee had his vote, and headed off on his run. After asking about ice on the path, Huckabee set out too.
He went about 2 or 3 miles, keeping up his training for the Boston Marathon during the hectic campaign season. He said his training regimen has suffered a bit lately. I asked him what his goal time was for Boston. He replied, "before Tuesday."
Huckabee got a zinger in at the end of the run, as the press surrounded him the second he finished. One reporter asked who would win in a footrace -- him, or his rival Mitt Romney. "Get him out here!" Huckabee challenged, adding, "though he'd be running both ways the whole time."