OTTUMWA, IOWA –- Mike Huckabee went on a pre-scheduled conference call with reporters Friday afternoon, remarking it was cold outside, but that he hoped to warm up the state with a "red hot caucus night" next week.
The first question he fielded was a follow-up to a specific figure Huckabee used to talk about beefing up border security in light of Benazir Bhutto's assassination.
Regarding the 660 Pakistani illegals he numbered off his speech Friday morning in Pella, Huckabee said he was citing a March 2006 Denver Post article written by reporter Bruce Finley.
I looked up the article, which reports that based on an increasing number of apprehensions, there has been overall increase in the rate of illegal immigration. The article also quoted border officials who see this as a security threat.
Huckabee used the 660 figure to illustrate how there were "more Pakistani illegals coming across our border than all other nationalities, except those immediately South of the border." This is, at best, an overstatement; the AP reports there are more people in the U.S. illegally from the Caribbean, China, or Canada than from Pakistan, according to Department of Homeland Security officials.
The Denver Post article did show, however, that Pakistan leads in the category of illegals apprehended from "special-interest" nations, which the State Department lists as hotbeds for terrorism. Between 2002 and 2005, there were 660 Pakistanis caught entering the U.S. illegally through "all ports of entry."
Meantime, Huckabee released two new TV ads in Iowa Friday – one invoking patriotism and the other, positivism.
In "Founding Fathers," Huckabee says he does not think "your value as a human being is found in your checking account." When he brings up this subject in his speeches, he encourages Iowans to prove that a candidate cannot "buy" votes and win elections - a veiled reference to Mitt Romney.
He also likes to argue that a vote for him is an affirmation of the American Dream – that if he wins, it would prove anyone has a shot at being elected president. This explains the rest of the ad: "Our founding fathers believed that your worth is something unique that was given to you by God and they knew that these inalienable rights has that we have came from that creator. That if you worked real hard in this country you could get somewhere. And if that doesn't mean anything anymore than our founding fathers were wrong. I don't believe so, I think they were right."
"Start Now" is a counterattack to other candidates' criticisms against him. "My opponents and Washington special interest groups have spent millions in desperate and dishonest attacks to tell you why shouldn't vote for me. My message is clear: reject their negative campaign. Quit tearing each other down and start now building up our country for our kids."