Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who rallied Iowa’s conservative base for a surprise win in Iowa in the 2008 election, said that Ron Paul might win the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3, but that he has no chance of being the Republican nominee.
“Iowa is not so much a place that picks presidents, but it does pick people who are thrust into the upper tier,” Huckabee said on "Fox News Sunday." “That’s the history and it gives people credibility. In the case that it’s Ron Paul — and I know I’m going to get a lot of nasty letters and emails too — Ron Paul is not going to be elected president. He’s not.”
“There’s no way [a Paul win in Iowa] is going to do anything other than confuse the race,” he continued. “But he’s not going to get the nomination, that’s for sure.”
“Paul has a very strong core of fanatical believers,” Huckabee said. “But they do not represent the mainstream of America.”
The former Arkansas governor cited Paul’s views on foreign policy as evidence that he sits outside the mainstream, calling them “anathema” to the Republican party and saying that the Texas congressman just “doesn’t get it.”
“You can’t go around saying, ‘yeah, it’s OK with me for Iran to have a nuclear weapon,’ ” Huckabee said. “That’s beyond off the edge to think that it’s OK for this government of Iran to have nuclear devices, and he says well, Pakistan has them and Israel has them and the U.S. and Russia have them. The difference is they have them so they won’t use them, Iran wants to get one because they want to use it. There’s a big difference and it’s just like, he doesn’t get it.”
Still, Huckabee said Paul could very well win the Iowa caucuses — especially if the weather keeps Romney’s supporters indoors.
Traditional wisdom says that a candidate needs a strong ground game and committed supporters to turn out votes for the caucus-style elections. Huckabee said Paul has the edge if Jan. 3 turns out to be a cold and snowy day, because Romney supporters lack the “devotion” of Paul supporters.
“I would probably say that Mitt Romney will end up winning it — today,” Huckabee said. “Now I think again ... Ron Paul, because of his organization, could [win], and that’s where Mitt Romney is really at a disadvantage — he doesn’t have the devotion. If the weather is good, Mitt Romney is in better shape. If the weather is bad and it’s real tough to get out, Ron Paul will win.”
With only nine days before the Iowa caucuses, Paul leads in the Hawkeye State at 23.8 percent, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls. Romney comes in second at 20.3 percent, followed by Gingrich at 17.3 percent.
Gingrich, who failed to qualify for the Virginia GOP primary because he lacked the signatures required to get on the ballot, is widely seen as having the softest support among candidates in Iowa, something Paul doesn’t have to worry about.
“Ron Paul has an exceptional organization [in Iowa] and it very well could be that he could end up winning because of the extraordinary devotion of his followers,” Huckabee continued. “I’ve often said he’s got people that would walk over broken glass for him, and they’d break the glass just to be able to say that they did it. But Mitt Romney could win the Iowa caucuses if the vote splinters among a lot of the conservatives who haven’t yet made up their mind.”