Huckabee upstages Trump at Values Voter Summit
© Greg Nash

Donald Trump may be leading the polls, but on Friday the Republican presidential front-runner was upstaged by a man scarcely mentioned in the primary race: Mike Huckabee.

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Huckabee, who is eighth in national polls and low on cash, received louder and more sustained cheers than Trump did from an audience of more than 1,000 evangelical Christians at the Values Voter Summit in Washington.

While Trump rambled in his speech, was booed for attacking rival candidate Marco Rubio and caused audience members to cross their arms and shake their heads when he waved around his Bible, Huckabee had the crowd standing and cheering throughout.

Some of Huckabee’s best-received lines came when he spun his time as Arkansas governor as a unique qualification for defeating Hillary Clinton.

“I know something about the Clintons because I’ve been fighting them all of my political life for the past 25 years,” Huckabee said.

“Every election I’ve ever been involved in, they’ve been involved in.”

“I’m telling you, you’re going to hear a lot of people telling you they’re ready to take on this election,"  he added. “But there’s only one person that’s going to be on that debate stage for the Republicans who has consistently challenged the Clintons, defeated the Clinton machine and lived to tell about it.”

Huckabee accused Clinton of using the media focus on the pope’s visit to Washington to sneak out her announcement that she opposes the Keystone pipeline, a stance he said would deal a terrible blow to American workers.

Using skills honed as a Fox News host, Huckabee won the audience early with a topical joke.

Huckabee said he’d heard that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) planned to resign after having a private conversation with Pope Francis. He wondered whether it would be possible to schedule a private meeting between the pope and President Obama.