GOP Growing Irritated With Huckabee

Republican officials and aides to John McCain are growing concerned that the longer presidential candidate Mike Huckabee stays in the race, the more it will suck money, attention, and support away from the likely eventual nominee.

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Republican officials and aides to John McCain are growing concerned that the longer presidential candidate Mike Huckabee stays in the race, the more it will suck money, attention, and support away from the likely eventual nominee.

"We're getting pretty frustrated with his campaign," says a top GOP official. "He can't win. Like [McCain campaign manager] Rick Davis said, he'd have to win 125 percent or more of the remaining delegates, and that's not good math for him." The McCain campaign has been careful not to publicly attack Huckabee, but the frustration has also become apparent.

Davis jokes that with Huckabee staying in, at least reporters are paying attention to McCain. But privately, campaign associates are concerned about having to continue spending money to fight Huckabee in upcoming primary states. Republican officials not associated with the campaign are growing louder in their calls for Huckabee to quit the race and back McCain, as Mitt Romney did this week.

At this week's Washington Press Club Foundation's congressional dinner, several grumbled about Huckabee continuing to campaign and suggested that any wishes he had to be McCain's vice president shrink with every day he stays in.

—Paul Bedard