Huckabee: I Can Take On Hillary's Machine

Surging Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee today said that his success in Democratic Arkansas proves that he has the background and training to take on the Clinton political machine on the national stage.

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Surging Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee today said that his success in Democratic Arkansas proves that he has the background and training to take on the Clinton political machine on the national stage.

"None of them have ever run against the Clinton political machine," he told reporters in a conference call today, referring to other GOP candidates. "That means something."

Huckabee's history as governor of Arkansas is an unusual one; he became a rare statewide-elected Republican in a state where the old Clinton political machine is still in operation. In answering questions from U.S. News, he said that Sen. Hillary Clinton's operation is very similar to the old Bill Clinton campaign, mostly because both share the same operatives and tactics.

He credited the senator with being mature and "ruthless." On other issues, Huckabee said that he has started to branch out in New Hampshire and South Carolina in case he wins or scores a second in Iowa. He plans to spend all of December in Iowa, where he is in a statistical dead heat with Mitt Romney. His recent surge in Iowa and New Hampshire polls has translated into more donations.

"The message is getting through. It is translating into more money." He also shrugged off today's Robert Novak column that repeats the Club for Growth's claim that the former Arkansas governor raised taxes and boosted the tax burden 47 percent. Huckabee cited other figures that put that added burden at just over 1 percent.

—Paul Bedard