Maybe Playing 'Freebird' Helped Huckabee

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Whispers' Bedard, left, with Mike Huckabee at the Monocle Restaurant.

The money and advice are rolling in to the Huckabee for president campaign now that the former Arkansas governor scored a surprise second place in Iowa's GOP straw poll last weekend. In an interview, Mike Huckabee said that he is being taken much more seriously and as a potential 2008 victor.

"We're in a different level," he told me in an interview at Capitol Hill's Monocle. "People who wouldn't return my calls are now calling me. We're scheduling fundraisers that were going to be meet-and-greets before. People now realize that I have a legitimate chance to actually win this thing.

"Up until Saturday the constant thing was, 'nice guy, really good message, great personal story, but can he win?' " said Huckabee. "Saturday people started saying, 'You know, he really can win. If he can get those kind of results [second place behind Mitt Romney] with the limited resources he had—fewer than anyone else who walked in that day— imagine what would happen if he had the resources."

Huckabee said that he spent less than $90,000 on the straw poll but did wow crowds with some Hope, Ark., watermelon and his band, Capitol Offense.

"It was the band, it was Capitol Offense, especially when we played 'Freebird,' " he joked.