Huckabee's Past A Campaign Breaker?

Presidential hopeful and former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee, left, and his wife Janet Huckabee, address supporters during a campaign stop at the Spartanburg Gun Club in Pacolet, S.C., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2007. Huckabee is rising from a little-known Arkansas governor to a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination and so, too, are the number of inquiries he's facing over his ethical lapses, tax increases and unwavering support for a rapist, later convicted of killing a Missouri woman. (AP Photo/ Patrick Collard)
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Iowa. Less than a month from now the voters go to the polls to caucus. And the overnight sensation from Arkansas has a problem.

Mike Huckabee has shot to the top of the Republican polls. But, Huckabee -- good on the stump, glib in the debates -- was in favor of paroling a convicted sex offender when he was the governor of Arkansas.

Right-wingers in his state were screaming for the creep's release because they said the only reason he was in jail was because he raped a cousin of Bill Clinton. Can't make this up, folks.

Well, the criminal was released, killed one woman, and probably killed another. This kind of thing does not look good on a résumé. And while Huckabee is basking in the light of his front-runner status, only a detailed and honest explanation of his involvement in the parole will give him a chance to move on with his candidacy.

We in the news business love underdogs and the candidates who come from behind. Let's face it: it makes good copy. The more alluring storyline is the one about a fall from grace.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.