Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told about 300 supporters in Madison, Wis., Thursday they could remind pundits and politicians to pay attention to "the values of the heartland of America" by giving him their votes in the Feb. 19 primary.
"Wouldn't it really mess them up if you went out and voted for me Tuesday and just ruined everything?" asked Huckabee, who trails significantly in the polls.
While he maintained he has a chance to win until one candidate has 1,191 delegates, he said his campaign goes beyond that count.
"This race is not only about the delegates, it is also about the message that we send to America," Huckabee said. "There are things we deeply believe in, and we want to make sure those issues are heard."
Huckabee began his speech to the only partly full ballroom, joking "we'd been wondering if anybody would bother showing up" and won some points with the crowd recounting an anecdote about his visit to Lambeau Field, a "national sports shrine."
Paul Carlson drove in more than an hour from Richland Center, Wis., to hear Huckabee speak because of some of those values.
"I've never been interested in politics, but Mike Huckabee is the one person I can really stand for," Carlson said. "He's very pro-life, but he's also pro-education and pro-health care -- more social issues you don't really see very often from the Republicans."
Carlson said he thinks "it could still happen," for Huckabee.
Huckabee affirmed his pro-life stance among the other "traditional conservative" positions he explained.
"I am the only candidate left running for president who supports a human life amendment," Huckabee said. "But folks, let me tell you something, I did not become pro-life because of politics. I got into politics because I've believed deep and long about our understanding of the intrinsic worth and value of every single human being."
Another issue Huckabee covered was his plan to change the tax code to a "Fair Tax" system, or a flat-rate tax regardless of income. "All those extra people that you're paying taxes for in addition to yourselves -- the drug dealers, the prostitutes, the pimps and the gamblers and the illegals -- they'll have to pay the same taxes you pay," Huckabee said. "Wouldn't that be a novel idea?"
Huckabee went on to rip up some tax forms and suggest the government "start killing the IRS instead of killing so many trees with paperwork."
The crowd's largest cheer came when Huckabee promised improved border security.
"We are the only country on earth" to have totally unsecured borders, Huckabee said.
Huckabee also said he was the only candidate left who doesn't work in Washington, D.C., and that his experience as a governor made him better qualified to govern the nation.
"There are people who are living in the bubble of Washington, D.C., who don't have a clue how you live every day," he said.
Although Huckabee spoke at the Concourse Hotel just blocks from the University of Wisconsin campus, few students joined the crowd.
"I'm really interested in what Huckabee has to say, especially because he is a Christian, and that's why I want to find out more about him," said UW sophomore Bethany Molzahn.
© 2008 Badger Herald via U-WIRE