Huckabee Concedes Texas May Be Must Win


From CBS News' Joy Lin

HOUSTON -– Mike Huckabee conceded today that Texas is a must win if "losing Texas means John McCain gets 1,191 delegates."

Reminding the crowd that he had outlasted Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson, he was not ready to give up the fight. "Texas is in so many ways the pivotal state for us," he said. "There are several reasons why – it's not just the size of Texas, that's certainly important. But Texas is a conservative state and I think if Texans say, 'Do I vote for someone who shares my views and values?' they're going to vote for me."

Huckabee appeared before a crowd of about 150 this morning, which later grew to the size of 250 by the speech's end. Asked afterwards how the candidate expected to win the state with such a small crowd, Huckabee blamed rush hour.

"At 8 o'clock in the morning for traffic, I wasn't that disappointed and we were pretty fired up," Huckabee said. "Last night we had some estimates of 2,500 people, we had to open two different wings. If this were held in the evening when people could have gotten here more easily, I think we would have seen a much larger crowd."

Even if the crowd was small by Texas standards, Huckabee was feisty on the stage. When he recalled for the crowd a statement he heard from a TV pundit, speculation he was staying in the race for the airplane rides, Huckabee exclaimed, "What an idiot!" The audience laughed. "I've been flying around on airplanes enough to tell you – it ain't all it's cracked up to be."

He continued, "For the past fourteen months, my family and I and my staff has been operating on three or four hours of sleep a night. Between Christmas Day and the middle of February, I spent half a day at home. I average maybe spending one night a month at my house. I don't know why in the world I have to make house payments, I'm never there."

"Honestly, I tell people I am living the life of Yasser Arafat. I sleep in a different place very night." The audience laughed again.

"Of course, he's sleeping in the same place every night now. And it ain't good." There was scattered laughter. He paused. "My reason for spending the night in different places is a little different than his was when he was around."

"But the point is," Huckabee said, getting back on track. "Folks, this is not something one does for ego or for some false sense of glamour or glory cause there isn't any. And if there is, it's gone in about fifteen minutes. So I want to be straight with you. I'm doing this because I really love this country and I'm worried about its future."