Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: Talk shows help drive Palin’s popularity

If Sarah Palin were elected president of the United States, would conservative talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck wind up in her cabinet?

That’s a toughie. But Palin already tops the list of Republican Party favorites and that fact is due in part to her popularity with Limbaugh’s and Beck’s audiences, according to a Washington Post poll.
Seventeen percent of Republicans, including 23 percent of Republican women, say they would vote for Palin if their party’s 2012 state primary election or caucus were held today.

She out-guns Mike Huckabee who got 10 percent of the vote, Mitt Romney at 9 percent and John McCain with only 7.

There are plenty of reasons not to see the numbers as a sign of things to come. The primaries are more than two years off. The poll happens to coincide with a major Palin publicity tour to promote her new book, “Going Rogue: An American Life.” Oh, and 40 percent of the people surveyed are undecided about who they want as the next Republican nominee.

But the Post said Palin polls particularly well with talk show audiences that include some of the most loyal Republican voters.

Huckabee not going for VP job — or is he?

huckabee.jpgTOKYO – Mike Huckabee is not running — or maybe he is.

The marathon man, who lost 110 pounds (50 kg) by hitting the road and advocating healthy living after he was diagnosed with diabetes in 2003, has a painful inflammation of the heel known as plantar fasciitis, and he is walking around the Imperial Palace in the Japanese capital gingerly.
Whether he will take a walk with presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, as vice presidential nominee is another question requiring equally careful footwork.
Speaking with Reuters less than five months before the U.S. presidential election and three months ahead of the Republican convention, the former Arkansas governor was interested but self-deprecating when asked if he would be the party’s No. 2.
“I don’t truly believe that’s probably going to happen and I’ve moved on to doing other things.”
Those projects include the trip to Japan and lectures at Tohoku University in northern Miyagi Prefecture, as well as Fox News, which hired the former Republican presidential hopeful as a political commentator leading up to the national election.
But Huckabee quickly noted that did not preclude being on the other side of the camera in November.
“I’m very happy and proud to be able to do some commentary and develop a programme with the Fox News Channel,” he said.
“But that doesn’t mean if there was an opportunity to run somewhere out in the future, if not this year some other time — I’m not going to take myself completely off the stage.”

Huckabee has called the vice presidential spot an offer no one could refuse, but says he doesn’t expect to be running to the phone anytime soon.
“It would be a real surprise if I got that call.”

- Reporting by Dan Sloan    

- Photo credit: Reuters/John Gress (Huckabee pauses during a news conference in Appleton, Wisconsin in February, 2008)

McCain goes whole hog at Whole Hog Cafe

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Republican presidential candidate John McCain was not content to just eat the prized barbecue at Little Rock’s Whole Hog Cafe — he wanted to know how it is cooked.

The Arizona senator disappeared into the kitchen of the eatery soon after riding his “Straight Talk Express” bus to the restaurant on Friday with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and their wives, Cindy McCain and Janet Huckabee.

In the back of the place, the cooks were smoking half chickens and slabs of pork ribs in large barbecue smokers, as a succulent smoky smell wafted throughout.