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RUSH: It wasn’t very long ago that I, from behind this very microphone, asked those of you in this audience to abandon the conventional wisdom in the Drive-By Media about the presidential primaries on both sides, and I said, ‘What happens to the Republican field if Huckabee wins Iowa? Not even a strong second. What happens if he wins it? What does that do to shake up the field?’ And then start thinking: ‘What happens if Hillary does not get the Democrat nomination?’ We are halfway… Well, we’re not yet. Nothing’s happened yet, in terms of votes. But the latest Rasmussen poll, just now breaking, has Mike Huckabee up over three points over Romney, 28-25; Rudy Giuliani at 12%, and Fred Thompson is at 11%. Scott Rasmussen says, ‘Compared to our prior survey, the trend is unmistakable — Huckabee has gone up and just about everybody else has gone down. Huckabee’s 28% support represents a twelve point increase from a Rasmussen Reports poll conducted earlier in the month. Romney is down four points while Giuliani and Thompson are each down three points from the previous survey. John McCain is down two points. and earns just 4% support.

‘Ron Paul picked up a point and is now at the 5% level.’ Ron Paul is ahead of McCain. ‘Forty-eight percent of Evangelical Christians support Hucakbee. That’s more than all the other candidates combined. Romney attracts 16% of the Evangelical vote,’ and that’s what was waiting to coalesce. Who are the evangelicals gonna coalesce behind? It appears at this stage, with the Hawkeye Cauci still a little over a month away, they have coalesced behind Huckabee. Interesting, too, AP has a huge hit piece on Huckabee today: ‘Mike Huckabee’s presidential rivals are pointing to chinks in his record…’ Can they say that? AP said this. I didn’t think you could use that word. ‘Mike Huckabee’s presidential rivals are pointing to chinks in his record as,’ ohhhh, oh, okay, never mind, ‘as Arkansas’ governor — from ethics complaints to tax increases to illegal immigration and his support for releasing a rapist who was later convicted of killing a Missouri woman.’ So it’s a huge hit piece. They’re talking about how he raised taxes (which he did), and he freed a Willie Horton. They have their own Willie Horton-type ad here. He freed a rapist who later killed a distant Clinton relative, as it turns out, and illegal immigration. ‘Huckabee has consistently understated his role in the parole of rapist Wayne DuMond, who had been convicted in the 1984 rape of a distant cousin of former President Clinton.

‘Two months after taking office, Huckabee stunned the state by saying he questioned DuMond’s guilt and that it was his intention to free the rapist, who had been castrated by masked men while awaiting trial. Huckabee said then he had ‘serious questions as to the legitimacy of his guilt’ and acknowledged later that he had met with DuMond’s wife about the case while he was lieutenant governor. Two months after ascending to the governor’s office, Huckabee met with the woman again. … Huckabee likes to say he was tough on taxes in Arkansas, noting a $100 million tax cut in 1997 that until this year was Arkansas’ largest. When asked about a fuel tax increase he backed in 1999, Huckabee says incorrectly that he joined 80 percent of Arkansas voters in approving it. … Huckabee opposed a Republican lawmaker’s efforts in 2005 to require proof of legal status when applying for state services that aren’t federally mandated and proof of citizenship when registering to vote.’ He opposed those efforts. ‘Huckabee derided the bill as un-American and un-Christian and said the bill’s sponsor drank a different ‘Jesus juice.’ That same year, Huckabee failed in his effort to make children of illegal immigrants eligible for state-funded scholarships and in-state tuition to Arkansas colleges. At the time, Huckabee said he didn’t understand the opposition to it.’ So this a full-throated, full-fledged hit piece today — written by Andrew DeMillo, the Associated Press writer — on Mike Huckabee, who now leads in Iowa in the Rasmussen poll 28 to 25.

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